The last date for filing income tax returns (ITR) used to be July 31 every year. But with Finance Act 2016, it changed. Now the law stipulates filing of ITR must be done within one year from the end of relevant assessment year (2017-18 is for financial year 2016-17). This means, March 31 was the last day for filing ITR for 2016-17.
The finance ministry said that 6.14 crore people filed ITR this year. Still many have missed the deadline for various reasons. If you are one of those who did not file their ITR by March 31, here is what you need to know.
The income tax returns can still be filed but by paying a penalty which varies according to taxable income of each of the individual ITR filers. An interest of 1 per cent per month or 12 per cent annual will be charged on the balance tax payable for each month of delay in filing income tax return.
The assessee will lose the ability to carry forward any eligible losses. S/he will lose the right to claim refund of surplus taxes paid and applicable interest.
If the income tax return is not filed at all and the authorities find out the case, a penalty of 50 per cent of payable tax will be collected for under-reporting income. If willful attempt to evade taxes is established by authorities, rigorous imprisonment of seven years may be awarded to the person.
What should you do if missed the deadline?
If an eligible tax payer has failed to file ITR, s/he needs to file a condonation of delay request for giving special reasons. The Income Tax department will consider each of the case on its merit before accepting or rejecting the condonation of delay request.
The Income Tax department has set some parameters for accepting or rejecting the claim by each of the assessees. Some of these criteria are:
- The claim must be genuine and factually correct.
- The assessee must prove that ITR could not be filed due to genuine hardship or difficulties.
- The income shown in the ITR must not belong to other than the assessee.
- If an income tax payer satisfies these conditions, s/he can file a condonation of delay request within six years from the due date. This means, if you have missed ITR filing deadline of March 31 this year and your case is genuine, you are allowed to file ITR by March 31, 2023 for 2015-16 and March 31, 2024 for 2016-17. However, you will lose the interest to be paid on the excess taxes paid for the assessment year.
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