1. The due date for filing ITR for Assessment Year 2018-19
For the Assessment Year 2018-19, the due date for return filing was 31 August 2018 (extended due date). Many taxpayers believe that if they have paid their taxes, they have no further obligation. However, missing the ITR filing deadline has legal consequences. Effective from the financial year 2017-18, a late filing fee will be applicable for filing returns after the due date.
2. Late Filing Fees u/s 234F
Effective from the financial year 2017-18, a late filing fee will be applicable for filing your returns after the due date i.e. 31 August 2018 under section 234F. The maximum penalty is Rs. 10,000. If you file your ITR after the due date (31 August) but before 31 December, a penalty of Rs 5000 will be levied. For returns filed later than 31 December 2018, the penalty levied will be increased to Rs. 10,000. There is a relief given to small taxpayers – the IT department has stated that if the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the maximum penalty levied for delay will be Rs 1000.
To summarise the section 234F:
|Late Filing Fee Details as per section 234F
|E- Filing Date
||Total income Below Rs 5,00,000
||Total income Above Rs 5,00,000
|Up to 31st August 2018
|Between 1st September 2018 to 31st December 18
|Between 1st January 19 to 31st March 19
3. Benefits of filing ITR on time
Filing your ITR on time does make you feel responsible and good about yourself, but the benefits don’t end there. Filing your ITR on time can benefit you in more ways:
1. Easy Loan Approval
Filing the ITR will help individuals when they have to apply for a vehicle loan (2-wheeler or 4-wheeler), House Loan etc.
2. Claim Tax Refund
If you have a refund due from the Income Tax Department, you should file your Income Tax Return on time to receive the refund as early as possible.
3. Income & Address Proof
Income Tax Return can be used as a proof of your Income and Address – mandatory when you apply for a loan or visa.
4. Quick Visa Processing
Most embassies & consulates require you to furnish copies of your tax returns for the past couple of years at the time of the visa application.
5. Carry Forward Your Losses
If you file the income tax return within the due date, you will be able to carry forward losses to subsequent years. This can be used to set off against income in the coming years.
6. Avoid Penalty and prosecution
The income tax officer can initiate proceedings for prosecution for a term of starting from 3 months to 2 years and with fine, if you don’t file your ITR. If the tax you owe exceeds Rs. 25 lakh, the period may extend to 7 years.
The above proceedings shall not be initiated where the net tax payable does not exceed Rs. 3000. Further, the income tax officer may impose a penalty upto 50% of the tax due in case of under-reporting of income.
4. Consequences of not Filing by the Due Date
Apart from the penalty levied by the IT Department, there are other consequences that a taxpayer may face for late filing of returns:
a. Unable to set off losses
Losses incurred (other than house property loss) are not allowed to be carried forward to subsequent years. You cannot set off these losses against future gains, if the return has not been filed within the due date. However, if there are losses under house property, carry forward of losses is permitted.
b. Interest on the delay of filing return
Apart from the penalty for late filing, an interest under section 234A at 1% per month or part thereof will be charged till the date of payment of taxes. It is important to note that ITR cannot be filed unless taxes are paid. The calculation of the interest will start from the date falling immediately after the due date i.e. 31 August 2018 for AY 2018-19. So, the longer you wait the more you pay.
c. Delayed Refunds
In case you’re entitled to receiving a refund from the government for excess taxes paid, you must file the returns before due date to receive your refund at the earliest.
5. How to File your Return
Filing your income tax returns has never been easier. All you need is your Form 16. Login to Cleartax to file your return – it takes just seven minutes!
6. What if I miss the Due Date?
In case the taxpayer misses the due date to file his return, he can file a belated return.
A belated return can be filed either by the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.
For the current assessment year, a belated return can be filed any time before 31st March 2019 if the assessee fails to file his return on or before 31st August 2018.
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– If you have missed the due date to file your return, you can still file it before 31 Dec 2018 by paying a fee of Rs 5,000. If you are filing after 31 December 2018, you will have to pay a fee of Rs 10,000. Also to note that the time limit for filing a return late for FY 2017-18 expires on 31 March 2019.