Parliament passes bill providing relief to taxpayers on compliance front amid Covid

News Today : Parliament on Tuesday gave its approval to a taxation bill that seeks to provide various reliefs in terms of compliance requirements for taxpayers amid the corona virus pandemic.

The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, which seeks to replace an ordinance and make few other changes in direct and indirect tax laws, was returned by a voice vote in Rajya Sabha. The bill was returned amid several opposition parties boycotted the House proceedings protesting suspension of eight members.

The Lok Sabha had cleared the bill on September 19. The reliefs in the bill include extending deadlines for filing returns and for linking PAN and Aadhaar. It also provides tax benefits on donation made to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES FUND) set up in March in the wake of the pandemic.

The Bill amends the provisions of the Income Tax Act to provide the same tax treatment to PM-CARES Fund as available to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.
The Taxation and other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Ordinance, 2020, was promulgated in March. Replying to a short debate on the bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the ordinance was necessary to defer various compliance deadlines under GST and Income Tax (I-T) Act during the COVID-19 times.

She said as a bill was being brought to replace the ordinance, the government incorporated other matters like facilitating investment in IFSC Gift City. The bill seeks to make faceless assessment applicable to at least eight processes under the I-T Act, including for collection and recovery of tax and gathering of information.

Also, the bill amends the Finance Act, 2020 to clarify with regard to capping of surcharge at 15 per cent on dividend income of the Foreign Portfolio Investor.

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