Income Tax Returns for a financial year must be filed by the 5th of August of the next financial year. For example, Income Tax Returns of FY 2016-17 that end on 31st March 2017 will be due on 5th August 2017.
In one financial year you can file your IT Returns for previous 2 financial years. For example – in the FY 2016-17, up till 31st March 2017, you can file return for the previous 2 financial years 2015-16 and 2014-15. From FY 2018-19, IT Returns for previous financial year can only be filed because the time period to file belated return or revised return has been reduced to one year from the end of the relevant assessment year to one year from the end of the relevant financial year. For example, return for FY 2016-17 can be filed or revised till 31.03.2018 only.
But delayed filing has its own drawbacks:
- Penal interest may be applicable under section 234A, 234B and 234C.
- Delayed returns cannot be revised. (From FY 2016-17, belated return can also be revised)
- You will not be allowed to carry forward some losses that belong to the years for which returns were not filed.
In case you have received a notice from I-T Department asking you to file your returns which go beyond 2 financial years, you can prepare www.cleartax.in to prepare your return. You can then print this return and submit it to the Income Tax Office in your ward. Usually old returns are filed as a response to an income tax notice.