Missed the ITR deadline? Here’s what you need to do next

Filing returns after the due date can have repercussions even if there are no pending liabilities

income tax, I-T

Filing income tax (I-T) returns on time is every taxpayer’s responsibility and there are several benefits extended to the individual for the same. On the other hand, filing returns after the due date can have repercussions for the taxpayer even if there are no pending tax liabilities. However, if you have missed the deadline, you can file a belated return.

What is a belated return?

A belated I-T return can be filed after the due date but before the end of the assessment year. Belated returns have to be filed within one year from the end of the relevant financial year. Hence, if you need to file your return for financial year 2015-16, the assessment year will be 2016-17 and the belated return can be filed by March 31, 2017. Similarly, if you must file your return for financial year 2016-17, you must do so by March 31, 2018 — the end of assessment year 2017-18.

The procedure to file a belated return is the same as filing the return within the due date. Log into your e-filing account on the I-T department’s website, select the applicable ITR form and assessment year, and proceed. For example, if you are filing the return for financial year 2015-16, select assessment year 2016-17.

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Consequences of filing late returns

Missing the deadline or delay in payment of dues against past tax liabilities can lead to:

  • Penalties and interests: In the case of an unpaid tax amount, the assessee is charged a penal interest under Section 234A and 234B per month till the liability is paid off. After the deadline, a further interest of one per cent per month will have to be paid under Section 234C as well.
  • Interest on refunds: Under a provision in the Income Tax Act, an individual is eligible to receive an interest on the excess tax they have paid from April 1 of the assessment year till the date the amount is refunded to the taxpayer. However, after the due date, the assessee will be paid interest on TDS after August 1. This means that you will lose out the interest accrued from April to July.
  • No carrying forward of losses: Individuals can carry forward capital losses up to eight subsequent assessment years to be set off against future capital gains arising in the following years. However, if the income tax return is not filed by the due date, taxpayers will not be allowed to carry forward any losses.
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