A fake message disseminated through Whatsapp about the extension of the last date for companies to file their audit reports and income tax returns for the assessment year 2015-16 has disturbed the schedule of chartered accountants who have been working with the month end as the D-Day.
The message has made the Ministry of Finance sit up and issue a statement, stating that the last date for filing of income tax returns has not been extended and that all companies should file their audit reports and tax returns as per schedule on September 30.
Andhra Pradesh is being seen as the origin of this fake message. It was signed by someone named Upamanyu Reddy, an ‘Under Secretary to the Government of India’. Chartered accountant B.V. Srinivas said the Whatsapp message had everyone confused, but then the Institute of Chartered Accountants sent out mobile phone messages saying that the date has not in fact been extended.
The Ministry of Finance in a press release sent through the Press Information Bureau on Monday said that there was no extension of the last date for filing and that there was no Under Secretary by the name Upamanyu Reddy. The Income Tax Department’s AP region public relations officer K. Raghuram confirmed to The Hindu that the Whatsapp message was fake.
Visakhapatnam chartered accountant B.V.V.S.R.K. Prasad said the Whatsapp message gained credence in the light of another message saying that the Gujarat Chartered Accountants Association had asked for an extension of the last day for filing of income-tax returns.
Mr Prasad said such fake messages and mails were confusing CAs and tax assessees. In a related case, one doctor in Visakhapatnam received a mail saying that Rs 99,000 had been “deducted” towards “income tax arrears”. The mail on investigation proved to be fake.