It is mandatory for every taxpayer to communicate the details of his income to the Income-tax Department. These details are to be furnished in the prescribed form known as return of income. But if the person fails to file the return of income within the time-limit prescribed, then as per section 139(1) he can still file a belated return u/s 139(4).
As per section 139(1), it is compulsory for every assessee to file a return of income or loss for every previous year on or before the due date in the prescribed form in the following situations:
If an individual fails to file the income tax return by the due date, then as per section 139(4) of the income tax he can file a Belated Return. Returns filed after the due date are referred to as ‘Belated Returns’.
According to the provisions of law, as it stands today, a belated return can be filed any time before the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY).
Let’s better understand this with an example:
A salaried individual should ideally have filed his return of income for the AY 2017-18 i.e. Financial Year (FY) 2016-17 on or before 31 July 2017. If he fails to do so, he can file a belated return on or before 31 March 2018.
However, this rule applies only from the AY 2017-18 (introduced in Budget 2016) onwards. In respect of returns pertaining to AYs 2016-17 and earlier years, a taxpayer could have filed a belated return any time before completion of 1 year from the end of the relevant AY. Therefore, the amendment has effectively reduced the time period by 1 year.
Yes, I-T return for the FY 2016-17 (AY 2017-18) and onwards filed under section 139(4), which is belated tax return can be revised. However, belated returns filed for previous financial years cannot be revised because the income tax law for this was changed from FY 2016-17 onwards.
Though you are allowed to file a belated return starting FY 2017-18 (i.e. AY 2018-19) following penalty (mandatory late filing fees) would be required to be paid in case of late filing of return u/s 234F.
|If the Income is less than Rs 5 lakhs||Rs 1,000|
|If the Income is more than Rs 5 lakhs
Belated return filed before 31st December
Belated return filed after 31st December
If a belated return is filed after the income tax due date, the taxpayer would be liable to pay tax along with interest @ 1% per month (simple interest) under section 234A. In case no tax is payable, the taxpayer won’t be liable to pay any interest for filing belated return of income tax after due date.
Delay in filing the return of income may attract certain adverse consequences. Following are the consequences of delay in filing the return of income:
Can a belated return be revised?
Yes, belated return filed u/s 139(4) can also be revised multiple times. [Amendment introduced by Finance Act 2016 and applicable from Assessment Year 2017-18 onwards].
What are the other options in case someone wants to file the return even after the expiry of the period specified under the act?
Section 119(2)(b) provides powers to CBDT for avoiding genuine hardship and authorizing income tax authority to admit a belated application or claim for any deduction, exemption, refund or any other relief even after the expiry of the period specified under the Act for making such claim or application.
Filing returns on time is important to avoid penalties but most of us procrastinate which leads to mistakes. As a result, we end up paying higher taxes, interest, penalties etc. Alternatively, you can choose to get your returns filed by a tax expert. H&R Block is the largest income tax return filing intermediary in India with a team of in-house tax experts who can file your returns accurately.