The last date to file Income Tax Returns for the Assessment Year 2018-19 is July 31. But those who miss this deadline can also file returns by paying a penalty. Before the amendment in the Finance Act 2016, a tax-payer had two financial years to file the belated returns. So for filing belated I-T returns of financial year 2015-2016 or assessment year 2016-2017, you would have got time till March 31, 2018 before the amendment.
But the amendment in the Finance Act 2016 has changed the rules to file belated returns on or before the end of relevant assessment year. This means now a tax-payer has just one financial year to file the belated returns. So if you have to file belated I-T returns for Assessment Year 2018-2019, you have time just till March 31, 2019 now.
How Can You File Belated Returns?
The procedure to file belated returns is similar to how you would file your returns on or before the due date. You need to choose the appropriate form, select the financial year and assessment year, but need to file it under section 139(4) instead of section 139(1).
But from this year, you may have to shell out a penalty of Rs. 5,000 if you are filing it before December 31, 2018 or Rs. 10,000 after December 31, 2018. If your taxable income is up to Rs. 5 lakh, you will have to pay a penalty of Rs. 1000 only.
Demerits Of Belated Returns
Besides penalty, you will be charged interest if any tax is due and cannot carry forward certain losses arising from business or profession in the next financial year. Hence, you must avoid belated returns as much as possible.
What If You Need To File Returns Which Go Beyond Two Financial Years
As per the new rules, you cannot file belated returns for Assessment year 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 now as the deadline of March 31, 2018 has passed. Hence, filing the income tax returns beyond two financial years or more is out of the question.
However, the Income Tax Department can grant permission to file ITRs post the deadline of March 31, 2018, but in specific cases only. If the taxpayer has a refund pending or wishes to carry forward losses, but has missed the deadline, an application can be submitted to the I-T commissioner who reserves the right to accept or reject it. There are various parameters on which the I-T department can accept or reject an application.
But there is a time limit for such application as well. You can file such application six years from the end of assessment year for filing the return. For example, if you had missed the deadline of March 31, 2018, you have time till March 31 2023 for assessment year 2016-2017 and March 31, 2024 for assessment year 2017-2018.
However, it is always wise to file returns before the deadline to avoid unnecessary stress.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com.