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The Rule 5 of the Payment of Bonus Rules, 1972 was amended in 2014 to introduce a new Form D and the option to file the return online. This amendment vide notification No. G.S.R 784 (E) released on 10th November 2014 introduced a new sub-rule 5 (1) introducing the new Form D and also a new time line of 1st February for filing of the return. The amendment also inserted a Proviso which stated that the timelines as required under Section 19 of the act should be adhered as well. However the proviso lead to uncertainty on the return filing date as the Section essentially dealt with the payment of bonus timeline, and had a requirement that the Annual Return be filed within one month from the final date of payment of bonus for a financial year. With the financial year varying for different employers, this proviso caused a confusion vis a vis the new time line of 1st Feb introduced vide the amendment. Therefore the new amendment in 2016 published vide notification no G.S.R 1115 (E) released on 6th December 2016 has omitted the proviso to Rule 5 (1) introduced in 2014. Hence the Annual Return now needs to be filed for every calendar year before 1st Feb of the following year irrespective of the financial year that an employer follows.

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