You would be hearing of several taxpayers receiving notice from the Income Tax Department to file returns before March 31, 2016. If you haven’t filed your returns and are heaving a sigh of relief for not receiving the notice, it is time to get up and file your tax returns as non-filers are rigorously being looked for by the Income Tax Department.
But how would the department know that you need to file returns. Information such as high-value transactions reported by various entities such as Mutual funds, banks, card issuers, registrars and transfer agents are traced. So, if you haven’t filed your return, but your bank has deducted a high amount of TDS or reported that you made transactions beyond AIR limit then the same mandatorily needs to be reported to the Income Tax Department.
The Income Tax Department is said to have identified 58 lakh non-filers under its Non-Filers Management System, out of which 11.17 lakh taxpayers filed their returns after they received notice. Though notices were sent earlier too, but few were received and reciprocated as the email address mentioned in PAN database no longer existed. Technological innovations were used to trace email address mentioned in the last filed tax returns and non-filing notices were sent to these address.
In the first round of data, matching, 12.19 lakh non-filers were identified. Letters have been sent. More than 5,36,220 returns have been received, apart from the collection of a self-assessment tax of Rs 1017.87 crore, as per the Central Board of Direct Taxes, which added, “We would continue to pursue the non-filers vigorously.”
Do not ignore these notices. Not responding to notices could have serious implications.
Non-filing of income tax returns when annual income is above the threshold or Rs 2.5 lakh presently, could lead to interest and penalty of up to 300% of the outstanding tax due. Those earning above Rs 5 lakh need to compulsorily file their return online.
Instead of receiving a notice and then filing the returns, take proactive steps and file before March 31, 2016. Though a deadline of July 31, 2014 and September 7, 2015 were set to file the returns of the past two assessment years, there is a grace period of upto two financial years offered to file delayed returns.
Tax returns for the income earned in the financial year 2013-14 (with penalty) and 2014-15 (without penalty), can be filed by March 31, 2016. In fact, it is your last chance to file returns for income earned in 2013-14.
After the due date of filing return, interest on outstanding tax due is charged at 1% per month till the tax payment is made and return is filed. The earlier the return is filed, the lesser the interest on tax due is required to be paid.
However, keep the following in mind while filing late returns.
In spite of the availability of an extended tax-filing deadline, it is essential to file your returns by the deadline, especially because your refunds would be delayed. You could even lose out on the interest payable on delay in refunds by the tax department, where the clock starts ticking once you have filed your returns.
If the taxpayer is claiming a refund and is also entitled to receive interest on the refund, then the delayed filing would mean that he would not receive interest for the period of delay under section 234A.
Some of the rules for filing delayed returns have been proposed to be revised under Union Budget 2016-17. If approved, then returns filed before the end of the assessment year may be revised before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.
So, if you forgot to file the return in July 2016 and later file the return before March 31, 2017, then you can revise your return before March 2018 or the completion of your return assessment. But the catch here is that if you have filed a return because you received a notice under section 142 (1) then such a revision wouldn’t be permitted.
You still have a reason to file timely returns, starting the financial year 2016-17, even though revisions have been permitted. So, get hold of your Form 16, bank and Demat account statement, loan payment documents and file your returns before March 31, 2016. With H&R Block, tax-filing is always hassle-free.
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