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Timelines for the filing of returns have been prescribed under the income tax laws in India. Taxpayers do make various claims in their returns of income like a refund, carryforward of losses etc, which, if returns are not filed, cannot be claimed at all by taxpayers by any other mode. So does this mean if one fails to file his return within the due date for certain unavoidable reasons, he loses his otherwise rightful claim to a refund or a carryforward of loss?

No. Not completely. The income tax laws empower to Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to authorize Income tax officers to accept such returns claiming an exemption, deduction, refund, carryforward of losses as the case may be, even after the expiry of the due dates prescribed. Section 119 of the Income-tax act deals with this. Let’s understand this section a little more in detail.to income tax authorities to accept the return for a particular financial year even after the expiry of the due date of the same.

  1. Section 119 – In brief
  2. Who can accept and reject applications?
  3. What is the Time Limit for accepting claims?
  4. How to file Return under section 119(2)(b)
  5. Other Important points under Sec 119(2)(b)

1. Section 119 – In brief

Section 119 empowers the Central Board of Taxes (CBDT) to issue instructions to lower level of authorities. In addition, section 119(2)(b) empowers CBDT to direct  income tax authorities to allow any claim for exemption, deduction, refund and any other relief under the income tax act even after the expiry of the time limit to make such claim. However, such claims will only be allowed by the income tax authority provided, making such a claim within the prescribed due date was genuinely out of the control of the taxpayer.

2. Who can accept and reject applications?

Applications for claim of refund or carry forward of losses can be accepted beyond the due date according to Section 119. However, certain guidelines for accepting or rejecting these applications have been set out by the CBDT vide its Circular dated 9.5.2015.

In fact, this circular specifies the monetary limits based on which different levels of income tax authorities have been authorized to deal with these applications. The table below prescribes the monetary limit of the claim made and the income tax authority empowered to deal with it.

Monetary LimitAuthority
Where the amount of claim is not more than Rs. 10 lacsThe Principal Commissioners of Income Tax/ Commissioners of Income Tax (Pr.CITs/CITs)
Where the amount of claim is more than Rs. 10 lacs but less than Rs. 50 lacsThe Principal Chief Commissioners of Income Tax/ Chief Commissioners of Income Tax (Pr.CCITs/CCITs)
Where the amount of claim is more than Rs. 50 lacsCentral Board of Taxes

3. What is the Time Limit for accepting claims?

a. The taxpayers have to file an application for making a claim of refund or carry forward of loss within next 6 years from the end of the assessment year. This time limit is applicable to all the authorities mentioned above.

For eg : Mr. Ram wants to claim a refund which he failed to claim by not filing his return due to his health conditions in FY 2017-18 (AY 2018-19) for Rs. 2 lakh and decided to files an application to Principal Commissioner of Income Tax for allowing him to file his income tax return for the relevant assessment year. He will be able to file this application anytime on or before 31 March 2025.

b. The authorities should accept and close or reject such cases within 6 months from the end of the month in which they received the application.

For eg: Mr. Ram files the application for relief on 21st June 2019 the concerned authority shall accept and close or reject the application by 31st Dec 2019.

Note: If any refund is given to any person on the basis of any such relief by the court, then the period for which court case was pending will not be considered for calculating 6 years of time. This period is ignored only where an application has been filed within 6 months from the end of the month of the court’s order or end of the relevant financial year – whichever is later.

4. How to file Return under section 119(2)(b)

Once you receive an order of acceptance of your claim, you can file return u/s 119(2)(b) from income tax e-filing website by the following steps :

a. Login to your income tax e-filing portal.

b. Go to the “e-file” tab and select “Income tax returns” from the drop-down menu.

c. Select the assessment year and the for which you have to file the return under this section.

d. Then, choose the filing type as “Filing against notice/order”.

e. Select the filing section as “139 read with section 119(2)(b)”

f. Then, upload an XML and file your return by verifying it.

Note: You will have to select section 139(4) i.e belated return while filling up the income tax form.

5. Other Important points under Sec 119(2)(b)

Any relief or claim will be allowed only when these conditions will also be fulfilled along with those mentioned above :

a. The income of one person is not taxable in the hands of any other person under income tax act.

b. You will not be paid any interest on refund claims.

c. The refund claim must be due to excess of TDS or self-assessment tax or advance tax and no other reason.

The authorities after receiving the application, satisfy themselves with a proper investigation that the claim is genuine and reasonable or not. Only pursuant to this they decide to go ahead and allow your claim.

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