The Supreme Court has directed the government not to collect taxes during the lockdown. A division bench of justices Anil Kumar Sinha and Manoj Kumar Sharma issued an interim order yesterday directing the authorities to make necessary arrangements for taxpayers so that they can pay taxes and submit details within a month from the date of full lifting of the lockdown. Last week, the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) published a notice asking taxpayers to clear their tax dues and file tax details by June 21 and 29 respectively. Supreme Court’s order came as a response to two separate writ petitions file by advocates Thaneshwar Kaphle and Srijana Adhikari against the Ministry of Finance and IRD.
The court has directed the government to simplify tax payment procedures keeping in mind that social distancing and other health safety measures are to be maintained for some time after the restrictions are lifted. Similarly, the court has also ordered to make reviews and arrangements in justifiable ways to set new tax paying deadlines should difficulties arise in particular areas or across the country for taxpayers to operate their businesses and continue jobs.
The private sector has welcomed the Supreme Court’s order. Shekhar Golchha, senior vice president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said that easing of the lockdown by the government and the ruling of the Supreme Court have been encouraging for the private sector. “We hope that the situation will return to normalcy and business community members will again reach to a position to contribute to the government’s revenue,” he expressed. Rajesh Kaji Shrestha, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) also said that the court’s order has provided relief to the crisis mired private sector.