If you have missed the extended income tax return (ITR) filing deadline as well, there's still a chance for you to file your return. However, there are certain points you need to understand before you avail of this last chance. An ITR filed after the due date is referred to as 'Belated Return'. Following the amendments in Finance Act, 2017, filing a belated return can cost you, i.e., you will have to pay a penalty from this year. Below is your primer on filing belated tax returns:
The major class of assesses comply with 31st July (Income Tax Return Due Date extended to 31/08/2018 for A.y 2018-19) deadline for filing Income tax returns. However, many assessees miss out due to other commitment in professional and personal life. Missing the deadline does not mean you cannot file your return. In fact, if you have missed filing your return for last year ended March 2018, you can still file the return, however, there is some catch. Go through this write up to know in detail the consequences of filing of return by 31 August and methods to file the return after the due date.
Finance Act, 2016, has stipulated that belated returns can be filed within one year from the end of relevant assessment year (AY) or the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. So, for the Financial Year (FY) 2016-17 (Assessment Year 2017-18), the due date for a belated return is March 31, 2018, which is just gone by now.
Now, What Section 139(1) Says?
being a company or a firm; or
being a person other than a company or a firm, if his total income or the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year exceeded the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax ,shall, on or before the due date, furnish a return of his income or the income of such other person during the previous year, in the prescribed form and verified in the prescribed manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed.
What is a belated income tax return?
If an individual fails to file their ITR by the due date, then as per section 139(4) of the income tax Act, he can file a belated return.
What Section 139(4) says?
Any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under sub-section (1), may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier #31st August (as extended from 31st July) is the last date to file tax returns for individuals and those whose accounts are not subject to any audit. The assessee can do himself or call on his/her professional advisor who can file the tax returns.
Individuals/Body of Individuals (BOI)/Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) /Association of Persons (AOP)
Due date of filing the Income Tax Return by businesses whose Books of Account are not required to be audited
31 August 2018
Don’t feel scared! If you have not filed your return by the due date?
You can still file the returns until March 31, 2019, but you will have to pay late filing fees u/s 234F. The structure of late filing fees have been explained below:
Date of Filing Return
Amount of late filing fees u/s 234F (Rs)
If the return is filed after the due date but on or before 31st December of the assessment year
If the return is filed after 31st December of the assessment year
However, if the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakhs the amount of late filing fees shall not exceed Rs 1,000.
Apart from late filing fees, there are few other consequences as mentioned below:
You are not allowed to file a revised return if you complete the filing after August 31. However, w.e.f. A.y 207-18 Belated Return u/s 139(4) can also be revised u/s 139(5).
Failure to file Returns within the due date attracts interest @ 1% p.m. on the balance tax payable from the due date to the actual date of filing;
Many a time, tax-payers make mistakes while filing returns and notice the errors much later. In such cases, the option to file revised returns helps. However, this won’t be the case if you miss the deadline;
If you fail to file returns before the due date, you will have to forgo the benefit of carrying forward losses incurred under the head `Capital Gains’ and `Business Losses;
Delay in filing could mean having to let go of interest due on tax refund if any.
Importance of filing Income Tax return for various reasons:
While processing for VISA, the embassy of the respective country insists the Income Tax returns for the last 3 years as one of the documents for eligibility.
Applying for a bank loan (be it a personal loan, housing loan or car loan), Income Tax papers are one of the necessary requirements for eligibility.
For individuals who are currently employed and would like to become an entrepreneur in the future must file their IT returns regularly. This is because when a company / Partner applies for a bank loan, the IT papers of its directors / Partners are also required.
Not filing of Income tax returns on time can land you in jail. This can happen if the I-T authorities feel the assessee willfully failed to furnish returns on time and the tax due is more than Rs 3,000. Under section 276CC of the I-T Act:
If the amount of tax exceeds Rs 25 lakh, the assessee can be sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for anywhere between six months to seven years and fined.
In other cases, imprisonment can be between three months and two years, with a fine. However, these penalties are levied in a very rare case.
In most of the cases, the taxpayer is only required to pay interest @ 1% for late deposit of income tax.
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