For the last couple of days, the only thing trending on social media, especially Twitter, is "extend income tax return deadline".
July 31, 2023, is the last date to file the income tax return for the financial year (FY)2022-23 or assessment year (AY) 2023-24 for those whose accounts do not require an audit. Most salaried people fall under this category. The income tax department has said they will continue providing support until July 31, 2023, to facilitate the tax filing process.
This year, in view of the massive floods that devastated parts of North India and elsewhere, social media went abuzz with speculation that the income tax department might extend the last date for filing returns.
However, with the income tax department not issuing any official statement in this regard, another set of rumours began doing the round that the income tax department might only extend the deadline for those states affected by the heavy rainfall and flood.
The income tax department has, however, issued no clarification on whether it would extend the date.
The income tax department said in a Tweet: "Avoid last day rush. 3 days left to file your #ITR. The due date to file your ITR for AY 2023-24 is 31st July, 2023. Remember to e-verify after filing. Pl visit http://incometax.gov.in."
Incidentally, Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj also reiterated a few days back that the government was not considering extending the last date for filing returns as it expects most returns to come in by July 31, 2023.
The income tax department added in another Tweet: "We express our gratitude to the taxpayers & tax professionals for helping us reach the milestone of 5 crore (50 million) Income Tax Returns (ITRs), 3 days early this year, compared to the preceding year! Over 5 crore ITRs for AY 2023-24 have already been filed till 27th of July this year as compared to 30th of July last year. Out of the 5.03 crore ITRs filed till 27th July, 2023, about 4.46 crore ITRs have been e-verified i.e. more than 88% ITRs filed have been e-verified! Out of the e-verified ITRs, more than 2.69 crore ITRs have already been processed!"
It further said: "To assist taxpayers for ITR filing, tax payment and other related services, our helpdesk is functioning on 24x7 basis and we are providing support through calls, live chats, Webex sessions & social media. We will continue to provide support till 31.07.2023, including on Saturday and Sunday. We urge all those who haven't filed ITR for AY 2023-24, to file their ITR at the earliest to avoid last minute rush."
Why Extend Due Date Is Trending On Social Media
Many taxpayers took to Twitter to express their difficulties in filing their returns. The most obvious and frequent ones relate to server issues or the page on the income tax website crashing down while downloading form 26AS or uploading the filed return.
Said Neelesh Kushwaha, an advocate, in a Twitter post: "Honourable FM @nsitharaman ji Income tax portal not working properly. Please extend due date." He also submitted a screenshot of the income tax website with an error captioned 'service unavailable'.
Another user who goes by the username @jith:-)) @aajith_ak wrote: "13h. After filling all the data, income tax site is giving up errors....3 times filled all the Data and this happens .... Still AIS and TIS is still updating before 3days also. When we ask for the mismatch, then client started giving other data 🙃 #ITRFiling #EXTEND #ITR #duedate." @jith:-))
The most common hashtags trending on Twitter are #extend_incometax_returns_duedate, #extend_due_dates, #extend_ITR_duedates, #extend_due_date_immediately.
Many have said that until July 28, 2023, only about 40 per cent of people have been able to file their income tax returns. The total number of income tax returns filed till July 28, 2023, was around 37.3 million, about 10 million less than the corresponding figure of 46.7 million around the same time last year. This proves that taxpayers have difficulty filing their income tax returns on time.
What Should You Do?
With the government not confirming whether it would extend the last date for filing returns, your best option should be to file your return on time. Today is July 29, 2023, and there are still two days left to file your return.
In case you do not file your return by July 31, 2023, you might have to pay a late fee along with penal interest. If you are entitled to a refund, you will likely miss the interest on your refund.