The deadline to file income tax return (ITR) was extended by a month to August 31, 2018. If you still have not filed your return, it is important that you do it on time due to the changes introduced in last year's Budget.
However, if you still delay filing your ITR, here are your options:
Until the last assessment year (AY), i.e., AY 2017-18 there was no penalty for filing belated income tax returns. However, this penalty is applicable from AY 2018-19. A new section 234F was inserted by the government into the Income Tax Act. As per this section, an individual would have to pay a fee of up to Rs 10,000 for filing income tax return after the due dates specified in section 139(1) of the Act.
“As per the amendments made in the Finance Act 2017, taxpayers are liable to pay a fee of Rs 5,000, if their tax return for the financial year 2017-18 is filed after the return filing deadline (i.e., July 31, 2018) but before December 31, 2018.The fee payable will increase to Rs 10,000, if the tax return is filed on or after January 1, 2019.However, if the total income of the taxpayer is less than Rs 5,00,000, the fee amount shall not exceed Rs 1,000,” says Amarpal Chadha, Tax Partner & India Mobility Leader, EY.
However, it is important to note that if you have any unpaid tax liability, then a penal interest on the same would be levied, as applicable to your case, if you have filed a belated return.
But if no tax is payable, the taxpayer won't be liable to pay this interest solely due to the belated filing of ITR for FY17-18.
If the income tax department on assessing your return raises demand for additional tax payment, then you would have to pay penal interest on that tax as well as the additional tax. Therefore, it is advisable to file your return on time.
How to file a belated return?
The process of filing a belated return is the same as filing the return on or before the due date. The main difference would be that while filling the applicable ITR form, you would have to select "Return filed under section 139(4)" in the drop-down menu in the relevant box in the form. Also, remember that if you are filing a belated return for FY16-17, then you need to fill the applicable ITRs as notified for FY16-17 only and not for any previous or later FY.
Can you revise belated ITR?
Yes, you can. An ITR filed after the due date is called a belated return. It can be filed before the end of the relevant assessment year, i.e., before March 31, 2019 in this case. From FY16-17, i.e., AY17-18 onward, you are even permitted to revise a belated return.
However, if you file your return after the deadline, you will lose out on certain benefits and a penalty will be levied.
What if I have filed my returns but there is an error?
If after filing your tax return you realise that you have not reported certain incomes, or some deductions were not availed of in the return computation, it is possible to file a revised return.
How much time do I get to verify my return?
Merely filing your tax return is just half of the process – you need to verify it as well. As per the present tax laws, you can verify your return within 120 days of filing it.
Can I carry forward losses if I file belated return?
“As per the Indian income tax laws, losses under any head of income (other than income from house property), can be carried forward only if the tax return is filed within the due date, i.e., July 31.However, taxpayers can carry forward the loss under the head income from house property, even if the tax return is filed after the due date,” says Chadha.