If you have missed the due date to file your return, you can still file it before 31 Dec 2019 by paying a fee of Rs 5,000. However, filing after 31 December 2019 will attract a fee of Rs 10,000.
1. Filing ITR for Previous Years
According to the Finance Act 2016 amendment, you can file your belated IT Returns anytime on or before 1 year from the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY). Example, for the AY 2016-17, the timeline to file a belated return was on or before 31 March 2018. However, with the amendment vide Finance Act 2016, from AY 2017-18 belated IT belated returns should be filed before the end of the relevant AY. For instance, for the AY 2018-19, the last day to file a belated return was 31 March 2019.
2. What to do if you receive a late payment notice
If you have received a notice from the Income Tax Department asking you to file your returns that go beyond 2 financial years, you can log on to www.cleartax.in to prepare your returns. You can then print this return and submit it to the Income Tax Office in your ward.
Usually, a taxpayer file old returns as a response to an income tax notice. It is interesting to note that from the AY 2018-19, the time limit for filing a revised return (rectifying any omission, error etc.) made in the original return has been reduced. Currently, such a revision has to be done on or before the end of the relevant AY. Until AY 2017-18, there was a time limit of 1 year for filing a revised return from the end of the relevant AY.
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3. Drawbacks of Filing Belated Returns
a. Interest may be applicable under section 234A, 234B and 234C.
b.A fee under Section 234F would be levied upto Rs 5000, if the return is filed on or before 31 March of the relevant AY. After that, the fine can go upto Rs 10,000.
For the FY 2018-19 (AY 2019-20), if the return is filed after 31 August 2019 but before 31 December 2019, a fee of Rs 5000 applies. Post 31 December 2019, the late fee would be Rs 10,000.
c.Delayed returns cannot be revised. However, from FY 2016-17, a belated return can also be revised.
d.You cannot carry forward some losses that belong to the years for which you did not file returns. However, an exception is available for losses from house property that can be carried forward even if you file your returns late.
4. How to file the missed returns for FY 2017-18
The amendment made in the Finance Act 2016 stated that income tax returns must be filed within the end of the relevant assessment year, effective from the assessment year 2017-18. There is no provision for you to file the returns once you have missed the due date.
The income tax department allows taxpayers to file returns post deadline in some specific cases. The following ways helps you file a condonation of delay request:
a. Request the Income Tax Commissioner or the prescribed authority to permit you file income tax returns and state the reason for missing the deadline. The officer can accept your request based on the following criteria:
The claim is correct and genuine.
The case is based on genuine hardship of merits.
A refund has resulted due to excess tax deduction, TDS, advance tax, or self-assessment tax.
Any other person cannot assess the tax under the Income Tax Act.
b. For such applications, the returns must be filed within a period of six years from the end of the assessment year for filing the return. For example, if you have missed filing returns on the due date of 31 March 2019, you can file such an application until 31 March 2024.
c. If you have not paid the tax for FY 2017-18, you must pay the tax along with applicable interest under Section 234A, 234B, or 234C. You must pay the tax even if you are unable to file your income tax returns.
d. It may so happen that you have paid your taxes on time but missed to file returns. In this case, you cannot file returns or apply for condonation of delay. The income tax department may issue a notice under Section 271F for not filing ITR. You may have to pay a penalty of up to Rs.5,000 for missing the deadline. If you have a genuine explanation for not filing and if the officer is satisfied with the reason, you may not have to pay the penalty.
e. The income tax department can take legal action against you for not filing returns such as issuing a notice and penalising. In the worst-case scenario, you may be prosecuted and a sentence of imprisonment for up to seven years.
f. If you receive a notice from the income tax department, you must respond to it on the income tax e-filing portal. You can, then, file the ITR to comply with the notice.
g. If you have under-reported the income, a penalty of up to 200% of the tax payable will be levied. In case if the taxpayer has paid taxes with interest after the deadline but has under-reported the income, the assessing officer may excuse his penalty and no penalty will be levied on him.
Though there is an alternative in case you miss ITR filing by the due date, it is recommended to file returns by 31 July of the corresponding assessment year. For eg, you should file your ITR by 31 August 2019 (extended from 31 July) for the FY 2018-19.
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