form 8938
Why Should I File Form 8938?
May 9, 2018
section 167
Section 167 of Companies Act – Vacation of Office of Directors
May 16, 2018

Belated Income Tax Return

Last Update Date : April 29, 2019
Estimated Read Time: 5 min

belated return

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).

SIDE NOTE: 31st December 2018 is the due date to file belated return without paying a late filing fee of Rs 10,000.

Meaning of Belated Return

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:

  • Your gross total income (before allowing any deductions under section 80C to 80U) exceeds the income tax slabs i.e. Rs. 2.5 lakh (Rs. 3 lakhs for resident senior citizens and 5 lakh for resident super senior citizens).
  • You are a company or a firm irrespective of whether you have income or loss during the financial year.
  • You want to claim any income tax refund.
  • You want to carry forward certain losses.
  • You have exempt long term capital gains from – sale of equity shares in a company or sale of unit of equity oriented mutual funds, or sale of unit of business trust, of more than Rs 2,50,000 in a financial year. Even though these gains are exempt from tax, such persons have to mandatorily file an income tax return.
  • Return filing is mandatory if you are a Resident individual and have an asset or financial interest in an entity located outside of India. (Not applicable to NRIs or RNORs)
  • Or if you are a Resident and a signing authority in a foreign account. (Not applicable to NRIs or RNORs)
  • You are required to file an income tax return when you are in receipt of income derived from property held under a trust for charitable or religious purposes or a political party or a research association, news agency, educational or medical institution, trade union, a not for profit university or educational institution, a hospital, infrastructure debt fund, any authority, body or trust.
  • If you are a foreign company taking treaty benefit on a transaction in India
  • A proof of return filing may also be required at the time of applying for a loan or a visa.

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’.

Deadline to File a Belated Return

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 2018-19 i.e. Financial Year (FY) 2017-18 on or before 31 July 2018. If he fails to do so, he can file a belated return on or before 31 March 2019.

However, this rule has been in effect 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.

Can We Revise a Belated Return?

Yes, I-T return filed under section 139(4), which is belated tax return can be revised.

The Penalty for Late Filing of Belated Return

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 lakhsRs 1,000
If the Income is more than Rs 5 lakhs

Belated return filed before 31st December

Belated return filed after 31st December


Rs 5,000

Rs 10,000

Interest u/s 234A for Late Filing

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.

Consequences of Late Filing of Return

Delay in filing the return of income may attract certain adverse consequences. Following are the consequences of delay in filing the return of income:

  • Loss (other than loss under the head “Income from house property”) cannot be carried forward.
  • Exemptions/deductions under sections 10A, 10B, 80-IA, 80-IAB, 80-IB, 80-IC, 80-ID and 80-IE are not available.
  • Levy of fee under section 234F.
  • Levy of interest under section 234A.

People also ask

Q. Can a belated return be revised?

A. 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].

Q. What are the other options in case someone wants to file the return even after the expiry of the period specified under the act?

A. 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.

How can H&R Block help you?

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Chetan Chandak (B.Com, LLB)
Chetan is the Head of Tax Research at H&R Block (India) with an experience of more than a decade in tax advising. He is also a regular contributor for some of the leading news publications in India such as Economic Times, Financial Express and Money Control. Professionally, Chetan is fascinated by international taxation and expat-related tax research.

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