Belated Return: I forgot to file my return, what to do?


(Last Updated On: August 28, 2019)

Are you the one who works really hard but then something at the end doesn’t really works out? The one who wants everything to be just perfect but in the end forgets something? If you mess up each time, and this time it’s about taxes, you are at the right place! If you haven’t filed your itr in time this year, remember it’s never too late to do what you should. *Hopes Alive*

Technically, as per the Income Tax Law, a person whose income exceeds the prescribed basic exemption limit, is required to file itr u/s 139(1) of the IT Act, 1961 within the due date of filing return, i.e., July 31st or September 30th, as the case may be, every year.

But for the taxpayers who couldn’t file the return in time, don’t fret, you can still take the last resort by filing a Belated Return. As the name suggests, a return filed after the due date is called a belated return. And as per the tax law, it can be filed before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier. [ From A. Y. 2017-18, it can be filed before the expiry of the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier ]

To understand that in simple terms, a return which should have ideally been filed up to 31st July 2016 can be filed up to 31st March 2018. But as they say, all good things come with a price, and so does this one. The provision of Belated Return comes with the below-mentioned consequences:

  • If there is tax payable and you could not file the return within the prescribed due date then interest u/s 234A @ 1% per month or part of the month will be payable along with the tax due. Also, interest u/s 234 B, 234C and penalty (at the sole discretion of the tax officer) of Rs 5,000 u/s 271F might also be payable depending upon the case. However, if all the taxes have been paid and only the return is not filed then Interest will not be attracted.
  • Further, in an original return filed u/s 139(1), a person can change or correct amounts, if required by filing a revised return. The same is not possible in the case of filing a belated return. A belated return cannot be revised. So, since you are already late in filing, the belated return should always be filed with utmost concentration, because we are sure you don’t want to regret it later. [ As per the amendment by Finance Act, 2016, from A.Y. 2017-18, you can revise your belated return also ]
  • In case you have losses to be carried forward to the next year for adjustment against the profit of the coming years, it is not possible in the case of a belated return. Although you are lucky if that loss relates to house property, because in that case, it can be still carried forward. Some relief!
  • Lastly, in case you file a belated return and are eligible for a tax refund, there are high chances that it may get delayed. It is also important to note that an interest on the refund is awarded to the taxpayer which is calculated in reference to the date of filing of the belated return. The more you delay your return, the lesser interest on refund you earn. So what are you waiting for, file your return now!

If you are still reading this, it’s time to get your belated return filed before you forget the date i.e., 31st March. Although, we strongly feel that the returns should be filed in time and especially the taxes should be paid in time, to avoid any kind of consequences or arising of liabilities. But, in case, you haven’t done that this time, file your return now because it’s better late than never!

CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2Win.in. Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.