Central Board of Direct Taxes has given the powers to income tax authorities to accept the income tax return for a financial year even after the expiry of due date of the same. Sometimes taxpayers may face a genuine delay in filing the tax returns within the specified time frame. The income tax department issued a circular dated 9/06/2015 pardoning such delays and has laid down the procedure to be followed in such situations. This circular supersedes all the earlier circulars, instructions and notices.
Section 119 of the income tax act, 1961 refers to the powers of the central board of direct taxes to issue instructions to subordinate authorities. Clause (b) of subsection (2) of this section gives instructions to avoid genuine hardship in any case or class of cases by general or special order and reads as under:
If the board considers it desirable or expedient for avoiding genuine hardship in any case or class of cases, by general or special order, it can authorise the IT authority who is not a commissioner (Appeals), to admit an application or claim for any exemption, deduction, refund or any other relief under this act for making such application or claim and dealing with the same on merits in accordance with law.
The provisions mentioned allows CBDT to admit a claim submitted for delayed:
after the expiry of the period.
The circular authorises certain officers of the income tax to accept the applications:
The powers of accepting or rejecting the application within the monetary limits delegated to the Pr.CCsIT/CCsIT/Pr.CsIT/CsIT in case of such claims will be subject to the following conditions:
Application u/s 119(2)(b) has to be filed within 6 years from the end of the assessment year for which income tax return has to be filed. The limit of 6 years shall apply to all authorities having powers to pardon the delay as prescribed above including the board. A condonation application (pardon) should be disposed of within 6 months from the end of the month in which the application is received. In a case where refund claim has arisen consequent to a court order, the period for which the proceedings went on will be ignored in the calculation of 6 years, provided such pardon was filed within 6 months from the end of month in which court order was issued or the end of financial year, whichever is later.
When an assessee is filing his/her returns after the due date, i.e. after 31st July, it can still be late filed before the end of assessment year on 31st March. When an income tax return is being filed after the due date but within the end of the assessment year, u/s 139(4) must be selected.
Therefore, we understand that section 139(4) is a provision for late filing of tax return whereas section 119(2)(b) gives the instructions, procedures, time frames and the powers to certain authorities for admitting claims of late filing.
Section 119(2)(b) gives power to officers of income tax to accept the delayed filings of returns regarding refunds, deductions, exemption or any other relief under the act. The procedure of filing late returns is same as that of filing normal returns.