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FM Sitharaman announces economic measures; Cash withdrawal fee for ATMs suspended, no minimum balance requirement

FM Nirmala Sitharaman's conference: Debit card holders will now be able to withdraw cash from any bank ATM for free for the next three months.

Mar 24, 2020 15:26 IST
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FM Nirmala Sitharaman's conference: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a press conference on March 24, in which she announced the extension of various deadlines including for income tax filing, aadhaar-pan linking and GST filing. The deadline for schemes such as Vivaad se Vishwas and Sabka Vishwas have also been extended.

The Finance Minister revealed that the government is currently working on an economic package, which will be announced soon. The economic package is aimed to deal with COVID-19 crisis and keep the economy afloat, amidst complete lockdown announced by 32 states and union territories to combat coronavirus outbreak. 

The Minister majorly spoke on statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to income tax, GST, insolvency and bankruptcy code, fisheries, bank related compliances and commerce related announcements. 

FM press conference: Key Highlights

Income tax related matters

For fiscal year 18-19,

  1. The last date for filing income tax has been extended from March 31 to June 30, 2020.
  2. The interest rate for delayed income tax payments has been reduced from 12 to 9 percent.
  3. No extension but on delayed deposit of TDS, only reduced interest of 9 percent will be charged on the delayed deposit till June 30, 2020. The current rate of interest is 18 percent.

Various other due dates and notice filing have all been extended to June 30.

The Aadhaar and pan linking deadline has also been extended to June 30 from March 31.

Vivaad se Vishwas scheme has also been extended to June 30 and from now there is no additional charge till June 30. Earlier there was no additional charge till March 31.

The due dates for issue of notice, intimation, filing of appeal, submission of income tax return and any other document or compliance matter by the tax payer including saving instruments or capital gains under income tax act, wealth tax act, benami property act, STT law, CTT law, Vivaad se Vishwas law, where the time limit was expiring in March shall all be extended to June 30, 2020.  

GST

The last date for filing of March, April and May GST returns has been extended to June 30.

For companies that have less than 5 crore turnover, no interest, late fee or penalty will be charged.

For bigger companies, no late fee or penalty for first 15 days but interest will be charged at reduced rate of 9 percent.

The last date for filing return under the composition scheme has also been extended to June 30.

Central customs and central excise

The last date of Sabka Vishwas scheme (for settling disputes in indirect tax regime) has also been extended from March 30 to June 30, 2020. No interest to be levied if people pay up to June 30, 2020.

During this period, although there is lockdown, customs clearance will operate 27x7 till June 30.

Company related matters under Ministry of corporate affairs

In respect of MCA 21 registry, there is a moratorium issued from April 1 till September 30. There shall not be additional fees for late filing.

In case of holding of the mandatory board meetings, the finance ministry is relaxing it by a period of 60 days till the next two quarters.

The applicability of the companies auditors report order 2020, which was supposed to have been brought into force in 2019-20, shall now be made applicable from fiscal year 2020-21.

For 2019-20, if the independent directors of the company have not been able to hold even one meeting, the same shall not be seen as a violation.

Company’s provisions

For newly incorporated companies, there is a requirement to file declaration for commencement of business within six months of incorporation. The time has been extended by 6 more months.

If there is a company director who does not comply with the minimum residency requirement, which currently is 180 days or more, under section 149 of the companies act it was treated as a violation. It will not be treated as a violation now.

There is a requirement to invest 15 percent of debentures maturing during a particular year in specified instruments before April 30. Now it can be done by June 30.

Insolvency Bankruptcy Code

The thresh-hold for default, is currently Rs 1 lakh, we are raising the threshhold of default to Rs 1 crore so that we can prevent triggering insolvency Bankruptcy proceedings against MSMEs.

However, we will watch the situation situation, if it gets better then we will continue like this. However, if the situation continues to be like this even after April 30 then we will consider suspending section 7,9 and 10 of the IBC for six months so that companies can be stopped from being forced into insolvency proceedings.

Fisheries- compliance related to import permits

All sanitary import permits (SIPs) for import of shrimp groot stocks, which were to expire between March 1- April 15, 2020, are now being extended by another 3 months.

Further, the delay up to one month in the arrival of consignments will be overlooked.

There will be no additional charge for rebooking of quarantine cubicles for canceled consignments in aquatic quarantine facilities in Chennai.

The verification of documents and grant of NOC for quarantine will be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days.

Department of Financial Services

Debit card holders will now be able to withdraw cash from any bank ATM for free for the next three months.

There shall not be any minimum balance requirement fee.

The bank charges to be reduced for digital trade transactions for all trade, finance consumers.

Department of Commerce

The following principal shall be followed in all commerce-related departments:

For procedural and eligibility point of view the extension of timeline will be given, but there will be no extension or modification of scheme guidelines.

Stay tune for updates of the press conference.

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