MUMBAI: If you haven’t yet filed your Income-tax (I-T) return for the financial year 2016-17 (which is for the income earned during the period April 1, 2016 up to March 31, 2017), the clock is ticking. This belated return needs to be filed over the next few days by March 31. Even the deadline for filing a belated return for the financial year 2015-16, falls on the same date.
The I-T department is increasingly getting stricter. In addition to notices for recovery of tax and penal interest, it is also serving prosecution notices on defaulting taxpayers. Thus, it is imperative to bear this deadline in mind.
The change in deadline for filing of belated returns was introduced by the Finance Act, 2016, via an amendment to section 139(4) and now comes into effect for the first time. A belated return (which means an I-T return which is filed late beyond its original due date) can now be filed before the expiry of twelve months from the last day of the financial year, as opposed to twenty four months that was available prior to this amendment.
To create public awareness, a series of advertisements were rolled out, says an I-T official. “As far as individuals are concerned only those who income chargeable to tax in India, is below the taxable limit do not have to file I-T returns. Some salaried individuals, even if they earn above Rs. 2.5 lakh a year are under the mistaken belief that as I-T has been deducted at source, by the employer they need not file their return,” he adds.
The amended provisions of section 139(4), which are applicable for the financial year 2016-17 onward require that any person who has not furnished a return within the time prescribed under section 139(1) may do so at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier.
To illustrate, a salaried individual had to file his I-T return for the financial year 2016-17 by July 31, 2017. If he or she has not done so, the last chance to file a belated I-T return is March 31, 2018.
For earlier years, say for the financial year 2015-16, a taxpayer could file a belated I-T return any time before one year from the end of the relevant assessment year. Thus, for the financial year 2015-16 also, the due date for filing a belated return falls on March 31, 2018. For the financial year 2015-16, even the deadline for filing a revised I-T return (to correct errors in the original return) falls on March 31, 2018.
It should be noted that this deadline of March 31, 2018, does not apply to your income earned during the financial year 2017-18. If you are a salaried employee the deadline for filing your I-T return for the financial year 2017-18 is July 31.
On its part, to facilitate taxpayers, the I-T offices across India shall remain open on March 29 and 30 (which are otherwise public holidays) and also on March 31 (which is a Saturday).