Is it real that 23rd June 2018 last date to become Income Tax filer? That’s Incorrect Read ME

Have you just received a whatsapp message saying June 23, 2018 is the last date to become filer else your name will be updated in Active Taxpayers’ List (ATL) on 1st March 2019 ?  if your answer is in affirmative then this article is for you.

Coming directly to the point and start of all this confusion, Finance Act, 2018 inserted a new section 182 A to the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 which reads as follows

182A. Return not filed within due date.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Ordinance, where a person fails to file a return of income under section 114 by the due date as specified in section 118 or by the date as extended by the Board under section 214A or extended by the Commissioner under section 119, as the case may be, such person shall—

( a) not be included in the active taxpayers’ list for the year for which return was not filed within the due date; and

“ Explanation.— For the removal of doubt it is clarified that the provisions of this section shall apply from tax year 2018 and onwards for which the first Active Taxpayers List is to be issued on first day of March, 2019 under Income Tax Rules, 2002.; and

( b) not be allowed, for that tax year, to carry forward any loss under Part VIII of Chapter IV.”;

So after the insertion of the above section in the law, there are following two opinions formed by tax experts

  1. Active Taxpayers’ List (ATL) will not be updated from 1 July 2018 therefore 23rd June 2018 will be the last to be updated on Monday 25th June 2018 as next Monday shall fall in July 2018 hence new tax year or Finance Act, 2018 will be applied. [For readers who don’t get the philosophy of Monday please read our blog to learn about this fact
  2. Active Taxpayers’ List (ATL) shall continue to operate till March 01, 2019 i.e. Returns filed after June 23, 2018 shall be considered for filer purpose.

We believe that experts’ opinion as mentioned on point # 2 above is correct and shows true position of law due to following reasons,

  1. Clause (a) of the section (as quoted above) clearly states ACTIVE TAXPAYERS LIST FOR THE YEAR; and
  2. It is clearly mentioned in the explanation to the section that it shall apply from tax year 2018 for which first Active Taxpayers List is to be issued on March 01, 2019.
  3. There is plethora of case laws containing judgments of Superior Courts of law that any amendment to the law which is not corrective or remedial in nature shall be applied ‘prospectively’ not ‘retrospectively’ unless specifically mentioned under the amendment which is not the case here.

Currently Active Taxpayers’ List (ATL) is issued for Tax year 2017 which shall continue till last day of February 2019.

Active Taxpayers’ List (ATL) for tax year 2018 would be published on March 01, 2019 which shall only consider the returns that were filed within due dates. [According to this section].

We agree that returns are now required to be filed within due dates and late filing would not get you on Active Taxpayers’ List. Having said that we believe that this condition/ restriction is applicable for Income Tax Returns 2018.

Let us know your feedback in the comments section below.

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