Did you know that the last date to file income tax return (ITR) varies for different categories of taxpayers? For individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUF) and those taxpayers whose accounts are not required to be audited, the last date of filing ITR for the financial year (FY) 2018-19 is July 31, 2019.
For other categories such as companies and working partners of a firm, the deadline of July 31 does not apply.
The deadlines for various categories of taxpayers are as follows:
Assessment year (AY) refers to the year following the financial year in which income earned by you is assessed. This is the year in which you file your ITR for the financial year gone by. For instance, for the financial year 2018-19, the AY is 2019-20.
What happens if you miss this deadline? For individuals, even if you miss the ITR filing deadline of July 31, 2019, you can still file your return. It is will be termed as belated ITR. The last date to file belated ITR for FY 2018-19 is March 31, 2020. If you miss this deadline as well, then you will not be able to file ITR unless you receive a notice from tax department to do so.
Though you have the option to file belated ITR till March 31, you should avoid filing it this late. This is because late filing fees will be levied for if ITR is filed after July 31 and any time before March 31.
Penalty on late filing of ITR Penalty for filing ITR post the deadline was announced in Budget 2017 and came into effect from the AY 2018-19, for the tax returns filed for FY 2017-18. Prior to this, it was the sole discretion of the assessing officer to levy penalty if the individual failed to file his/her tax return before the end of the relevant assessment year.
Section 234F was introduced in the Income Tax Act which made late filing mandatory.
For small taxpayers whose total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the maximum late fee amount will not exceed Rs 1,000 irrespective of when it is filed, i.e., before March 31.
Do remember that if an individual's gross total income does not exceed the basic exemption limit, then he/she will not be liable to pay late filing fees if he/she files belated ITR. As per the current income tax laws, the basic exemption limit is as follows:
However, there is a catch on non-levy of late filing fees on belated ITR in the above case. If a resident individual has income from foreign assets and he files belated ITR, then late filing fee will be levied even if gross total income does not exceed the tax exemption limit.