Deadline relief: Bank KYC to GST returns – Times of India


MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Authorities have extended a raft of deadlines, citing the uncertainty triggered by the new variant of Covid. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended by three months until March 2022 its restriction on banks and finance companies freezing accounts of customers for want of KYC (know your customer) -compliant norms. The RBI said it was extending this relaxation due to the prevalent uncertainty on account of the Omicron variant.
In May 2021, the RBI had informed banks and other regulated entities that, in respect of the customer accounts where periodic updation of KYC is due and pending as on date, no restrictions on operations of such account shall be imposed till December 31, 2021 for this reason alone. The exception was for an action warranted under instructions of any regulator/enforcement agency/court of law.

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The relaxation was granted after several customers complained that they were being forced to visit the branch amid the second wave under threat of their accounts being frozen. Banks had said that they had no choice as the law required them to periodically update records with fresh identity and address proof.
The relaxation is timely as industry officials said that there was a likelihood of bunching up of action as, at any given point, there are hundreds of customers whose KYC validity expires. The requirement of updating KYC norms is applied by regulators globally and is part of anti-money laundering initiatives. Entities that have to follow KYC norms include finance companies, mutual funds, broking houses and depositories.
The regularity with which customers have to update their records depends on how their accounts are classified by their banks. For customers in low-risk accounts, KYC needs to be updated once every 10 years. However, those classified as high-risk will need to update their account once every two years. Besides this, dormant and inactive accounts also require fresh KYC updates to unfreeze or reactivate them. While there are several options now for regulated entities to comply with KYC norms (video KYC, sharing of documents via DigiLocker), many have still not complied.
The Centre has also extended the date for filing the annual GST returns by business for 2020-21 by two months till February 28. “The due date for furnishing annual return in form GSTR-9 & self-certified reconciliation statement in form GSTR-9C for the financial year 2020-21 has been extended from December 31, 2021 to February 28, 2022,” the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs said on micro blogging site Twitter.
In another relief for subscribers, retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has said that members can now fill their nominations beyond the deadline of December 31. EPFO has not announced a new deadline but has urged members to file their nominations.
There have been demands to extend the deadline for filing income tax returns beyond December 31, but the tax department has so far not relented and has been urging taxpayers to urgently file their returns.


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