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The due date for filing your income tax return was 31st August 2018. Unlike before, if you delay or miss the filing there are some legal repercussions. Not complying with Income Tax regulations often comes with strict consequences like having to pay interest based on Section 234 of the Income Tax Act

  • 1. Types of Interest
  • 2. Introduction to Section 234A – Interest for Default in Filing Tax Return
  • 3. Illustration
  • 1. Types of Interest

    There are 3 different interest under section 234 :

    ClearTax will walk you through the interest and the calculations in a  3-part series.

    section 234a

    2. Introduction to Section 234A – Interest for Default in Filing Tax Return

    Income Tax Returns for a financial year need to be filed within the time limit prescribed for each year for you. Your failure to file a return within this prescribed time or not file at all will attract this Interest.

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    Now, when you do not file your returns or miss the due date, you could be in one of these 3 distinct positions:

    1. You have taxes outstanding to be paid to the IT department
    2. You are eligible for a tax refund from the IT department
    3. Your taxes have been paid on time with no refund expected or taxes payable.

    If you fall into buckets “2” or “3”, you do not have to worry too much about late filing of your tax returns as interest may not be applicable in these two scenarios. However, your Assessing Officer may still choose to charge some interest as this has been left to his discretion.

    If you have unpaid taxes that are outstanding and you have not filed your returns by the due date, you are in for trouble.

    You will be charged an interest amount of 1% per month or part of the month (simple interest) on the tax amount outstanding. This interest will be calculated from the due date applicable to you for filing of return of the relevant financial year till the date that you actually file your return.

    3. Illustration

    Say, your total tax outstanding is Rs 1 lakh (net of advance tax paid & TDS if any) and you file your return on the 15th December instead of 31st July of the assessment year, the due date to file income tax return. You are now 5 months late in your tax payments. (The 15 day period in December is treated as a month).

    Interest = 100,000 x 1% x 5 = Rs. 5,000

    This Rs. 5,000 is over and above the tax amount that you will be paying in any case.

    If you do not file your return at all, you will have to pay 1% interest till the end of the assessment year i.e. 31st March. In the example above, your liability would be 8% of Rs. 1 lakh, which is Rs 8,000.

    Click here to go to Part II


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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.

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