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Received an SMS  from the Income Tax Department saying

“You have not filed the ITR for AY 2017-18. The law has changed and ITR for AY 2017-18 cannot be filed after 31-03-2018. Please ignore if already filed” ?

The below table shows the significance of the date of 31 March 2018:

Sl No Financial Year Assessment Year Belated return due date
1 2014-15 2015-16 31 March 2017
2 2015-16 2016-17 31 March 2018
3 2016-17 2017-18 31 March 2018

Read on to know more..

Many people fail to file their income tax return within the due date as prescribed by the income tax department. But even if you have missed the deadline of filing return, you can still file your income tax return. There is a provision in income tax for late filing of income tax return which is called belated return.

What is a belated return?

Filing Income tax return after the due date is called filing a belated return. According to the provisions of law as it stands today, a belated return can be filed anytime before the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY).

Here is a simple example to understand this better.

A salaried individual has to ideally filed his return of income for the AY 2017-18 i.e. Financial Year (FY) 2016-17 on or before 31 July 2017. If he fails to do so, he can file a belated return on or before 31 March 2018.

However, this rule applies only from the AY 2017-18 (introduced in Budget 2016). In respect of returns pertaining to AYs prior to AY 2017-18 i.e. AYs 2016-17 and earlier years, a taxpayer could file a belated return anytime before completion of 1 year from the end of the relevant AY. Therefore, the amendment has effectively reduced the time period by 1 year

FY – Is the year in which the income is received

AY – Is the year in which the income is assessable to income tax i.e. the year immediately following the FY.

In short, 31 March 2018 is the deadline for filing of belated returns for both AY 2016-17 and AY 2017-18.

Deposited Cash but not Filed Tax returns

If you have deposited cash during the demonetisation period – but have never filed return. You must prepare to file income tax return for FY 2016-17. Finance Minister has assured a simple one age form will be released for those with income under Rs 5 lakhs. Also he confirmed that there will be no scrutiny for those filing for the first time with income under Rs 5 Lakhs. Banks have to report the detail of high value cash transactions to the income tax department along with the PAN no. In case you have made high value  cash deposit  in bank   and you have never  filed tax returns , then it’s the time that you should file your return otherwise you may receive a notice of  inquiry  from income tax department.The income tax department has launched ‘operation clean money’ and taxpayers are being asked to explain the details of cash deposits made by them.The income tax department can also send a notice, asking a person to file returns or to produce relevant information/documents/accounts as may be demanded by income tax department. On failure to do so, the person may be required to pay the penalty of Rs 10,000 for each failure or he may have to face the assessment i.e. the evaluation of his income by the income tax department.The best way is to file the belated return and pay the taxes due if any before the notice is received from the income tax department.

 How to File Belated Return?

When you are filing the belated return, the procedure is same as if you file the return on or before the due date. You need to select ITR form applicable to you and fill the form in the same manner as if you are filing the return on time and Choose the assessment year for which you are filing the belated return for eg if you are filing the return for F.Y 2015-16 select 2016-17 as assessment year.

Consequences of Late filing of Return

It is always advisable that return should be filed on or before the due date and taxes due should be paid on time otherwise it will have the following consequences:

  • Penalty and Interest

If there are any taxes which are unpaid, penal interest @ 1% per month or part thereof will be charged till the date of payment of taxes .Also Penalty of Rs 5,000 may be charged. The penalty is not levied in all cases and depends upon the circumstances of the case.
For returns of FY 2017-18 and onwards, penalty of Rs 5,000 will be charged for returns filed after due date but before 31st December. If returns are filed after 31st December, a penalty of Rs 10,000 shall apply. However, penalty will be Rs 1,000 for those with income upto Rs 5Lakhs. 

  • Unable to set off Losses

  Losses incurred (other than house property loss) are not allowed to be carried forward to subsequent years to be set off against the future gains in case where return has not been filed within the due date.


One must pay taxes and file the return on or before the due date. And in case one is unable to file the return, at least taxes if any should be paid within due date. If all taxes are paid, penal interest will not be levied. However other drawbacks such as non carry forward of losses  will be applicable.