Can I file income tax return (ITR) after the due date? What will be the consequences or penalty for ? Will I be charged some penalty? These are some of the questions that might come to your mind, when you miss the due date to file ITR. Read on to find the answers to these common questions related to the penalties associated with late filing of income tax return.
Can ITR be filed after the due date?
Yes, you can file ITR after the due date, but it should be done within the assessment year (AY). For example, return on your income for the FY 2018-19 (1st April 2018-31st March 2019) can be filed till the end of AY 2019-20, i.e. by 31st March 2020. However, this comes with certain penalties as the last date for filing ITR on time for AY 2019-20 is 31st August 2019.
Penalty for late ITR filing
The deadline to file ITR for FY 2018-19 is August 31st, 2019. If you miss the deadline, you will have to incur the following penalties:
Late filing fee of up to Rs. 10,000 can be charged under the amended rules of Section 234F (w.e.f. FY 2017-18) depending on the annual income and the delay in filing ITR by the income tax assessee.
- For low-income tax payers, i.e, if the annual income does not exceed Rs. 5 lakh for FY 2019-20, a maximum of Rs. 1000 will be charged as a penalty. This is irrespective of when you file ITR after the due date.
- For high-income taxpayers, i.e, if the annual income exceeds Rs.5 lakh and the belated ITR is filed on or before 31st December of the applicable assessment year, Rs. 5000 will be levied as a penalty. However, if the belated ITR is filed between 1st January and 31st March of the applicable assessment year, the penalty will be Rs. 10,000.
|Late ITR filing fee as per Section 234F (for FY 2018-19)|
|ITR filing date||Total annual income (Rs.)|
|Below 5 lakh||Above 5 lakh|
|Till 31st August, 2019||NIL||NIL|
|From 1st September to 31st December, 2019||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 5,000|
|From 1st January to March 31st, 2020||Rs. 1,000||Rs. 10,000|
Interest on unpaid tax under Section 234A. Simple interest at the rate of 1% per month for the period starting from the last date of timely filing till the date of belated ITR filing. This applies in cases where tax is due and paid late as a result of delayed ITR filing only.
Jail term may be applicable in addition to penalties, if someone fails to file ITR altogether. The term can vary from 3 months to 2 years. It should be noted that this is an extreme step by an assessing officer, which is only taken when the ITR is not filed in the relevant AY even after multiple tax notices and the potential amount of unpaid taxes is deemed to be significantly large.
Who is liable to pay the late ITR filing fee?
As per Sections 139 and 234F of Income Tax Act, 1961 following are liable to pay the late ITR filing fee in case they have missed the deadline for timely filing of ITR:
- Every company or a firm,
- Every individual whose annual income is more than the exemption limit for the relevant FY.
Are there other consequences of late ITR filing?
Apart from the penalties discussed above, there are a few additional consequences of late ITR filing. These are as follows:
- Cannot claim adjustments against past losses: Various losses including speculative as well as non-speculative, and short-term as well as long-term capital losses cannot be claimed for exemption in the subsequent years in case of delayed ITR filing.
- Delay in refund, in case of belated return: Delay in filing your ITR will result in a delay for processing refunds. A refund is due only if you had paid excess income tax or had excess TDS deducted in the relevant FY.
- Difficulty in seeking loans and cards: Timely ITR filing record is preferred for loan and credit card approvals.
Considering the above, it is advisable to file your ITR before the due date to avoid any penalties and related consequences. If you cannot file your returns on your own, you may seek help from a tax return preparer (TRP), chartered accountant, financial planner, financial advisor, or tax portals.