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Union finance ministry also says people can file ITR without linking of PAN and Aadhaar but quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID is mandatory, deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar will now end on August 31, 2017

If you failed to get your documents in order for filing your income tax return for the last fiscal, don’t fret. In a move that comes as a huge, albeit severely time-bound, relief for lakhs of citizens across the country, the Union finance ministry, on Monday, relaxed its deadline of July 31 and said that people could now file their ITR by August 5 instead.

The Union finance ministry’s decision comes after the government spent crores of rupees on awareness campaigns – through hoardings and advertisements in the media – aimed to inform the citizens that they must file their ITR for the financial year 2016-2017 on or before July 31, 2017. On Sunday too, news agency PTI had quoted a finance ministry official as saying that “The last date for filing of ITRs remains July 31. 

There are no plans to extend this deadline. The department has already received over ₹2 crore in returns filed electronically. The department requests taxpayers to file their return in time”.

There was another reason for harried tax payers to breathe easy as the government has also allowed people to file their returns without linking of PAN and Aadhaar, another change in tax-filing rules that the Union government had cleared last year despite contradictory orders by the Supreme Court.

However, the relief on linking of PAN and Aadhaar, like the deadline for filing ITR, also comes with two key riders. First, for tax payers who haven’t linked the two identity cards as yet, quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID in the return is mandatory as before. Second, those filing the return without linking PAN-Aadhaar must link the two by August 31, 2017. The returns will be processed by the department only after the two ID proofs are linked

This year there have been multiple changes which impact income tax return filing. These include: Requirement of linking PAN with Aadhaar, compulsory quoting of Aadhaar in tax returns, receiving TDS certificates late (as compared to earlier years) from employers and other deductors and chartered accountants being busy with GST. Further, the income tax department’s e-filing website has been running erratic and also seen shut downs (for several hours) for maintenance over the last fortnight.

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