If for any reason you haven't filed your tax return yet, then there is no need to worry. That is because all the doors are not closed.
The chaos of 31st August, 2018 has finally ended. All the taxpayers who have filed their income tax return by the due date must be considering themselves as the most relaxed and blessed person of the world. However, if for any reason you haven’t filed your tax return yet, then there is no need to worry. That is because all the doors are not closed. You can still file your ITR for AY2018-19 or FY2017-18. The only catch being that this will involve some penalty. Here is what to do now, if you have failed to file the I-T return by 31st August.
File a Belated Return
Section 139(4) of the Income Tax Act allows an assessee to file an ITR if he/she has not filed it within the due date as prescribed under Section 139(1), i.e. 31st July, 2018 (which got extended till 31st August, 2018).
“Such a tax return is called ‘belated return’ and it must be filed before the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY) or before the completion of assessment, whichever it earlier. For Financial Year 2017-18 (AY2018-19), a belated return should be filed before 31st March, 2019 or completion of assessment (u/s 144, if any), whichever is earlier,” says CA Abhishek Soni, Founder, tax2win.in.
However, if you thought that filing a belated tax return would be a piece of cake for you, then think again. Although filing belated returns is allowed by the Income Tax Act, but that can’t be done without paying any penalty, interest, etc. These are discussed below:
Late Filing Fee u/s 234F
Section 234F has been the most-discussed topic of the Tax Season 2017-18. More because it is becoming applicable for the first time from FY2017-18.
As per this section, if ITR is not filed by the due date, then you will have to pay a late filing fee of Rs 5,000 (if filed after 31st Aug but up to 31st Dec) and Rs 10,000 (if filed after 31st Dec). However, if your total income does not exceed Rs 500,000 then late fee will be Rs 1000, irrespective of the filing date.
“It is, however, important to note that the applicability of this section is based upon Gross Total Income (i.e. income before deductions) & the determination of the amount of fee is based upon Total Income (i.e. income after deductions). In simple words, if your GTI exceeds Rs 250,000 (basic exemption limit), then Sec 234F will become applicable to you & the quantum of fees, i.e. Rs 1,000 or Rs 5,000/Rs 10,000 will depend upon your total income,” informs Soni.
You’ll, however, be required to determine & pay late filing fee before filing a belated return
Section 234A: Interest on Delay in ITR Filing
If you are filing a belated return, then you’ll be liable to pay interest u/s 234A for filing ITR after the due date. This interest is levied @1% per month on the tax liability & is calculated from the due date till the ITR is actually filed. This means, if tax liability is NIL, then you are not required to pay interest u/s 234A.
“For example, if your total income is Rs 250,000, which is up to the basic exemption limit, then 234A interest will not be applicable. Further, if total income is up to Rs 300,000, then also no interest u/s 234A will be applicable because of tax rebate of Rs 2,500 u/s 87A,” says Soni.
Again, you will have to pay the interest amount first before filing a belated return.
Therefore, only if your total income exceeds Rs 300,000, interest @1% p.m. on total tax liability will be levied upon you. You are required to pay the fee u/s 234F for the return of FY 17-18.
Living in Kerala? You can file ITR by 15th September
If you are a resident of Kerala and are living there, then you need not worry at all. For, in view of the disruption caused owing to the severe floods in Kerala, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has further extended the due date for filing of tax return from August 31, 2018 to September 15, 2018 for the assessees of this flood-affected state, in respect of AY2018-19/ FY2017-18. This means that you can file your income tax return without paying any penalty till 15th September. So, why to worry?
Happy tax filing!