Who should file Income Tax Return before 31 March 2018 ?

(ITR for FY 2015-16 (AY2016-17) and FY 2016-17 (AY 2017-18) in India)

31st March 2018, is the last of the current Financial year. It is a very important date for all of us.As this time it is not only about the quarter end, but..this is the last date to file the Income Tax Returns for FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17.

Yes, you read it right, the last date for filing ITR of FY 2016-17 is not 31st March 2019 anymore!!

Do you know post 31st March you cannot file your tax returns for these financial years AND cannot claim tax refunds or may attract penalties and interest and face problems in getting loans etc.

You still got a month in hand, so relax and first understand whether the deadline is applicable to you or not.

Situations attracting the dead end of 31 March 2018!!

There are two circumstances when a person should file his income tax return by 31st March 2018  

 1. When Filing a Late Return / Belated Return u/s 139(4):

Belated return or late return are the terms used interchangeably. As per income tax act, under section 139 (4)- When a person does not file their income tax return by the due date and file the same afterward, such return filed is said to be Belated Return.

Example: Winny wants to file ITR for FY 2016-17. The due date for filing ITR for this FY was 31st July 2017 which was further extended to 5th Aug 2017.But the Belated return for FY 2016-17 can be filed till 31 March 2018.

If winny files ITR anytime after 5th Aug 2017 but before 31 March 2018, This ITR will be a belated ITR u/s 139(4).

The provision for filing the belated return is covered by section 139(4) of the Income Tax Act.

Who can file the belated return u/s 139(4)? Is there any time restriction?

The law has been amended from F.Y. starting from 1st April 2016, now the law says –

A person who does not file his ITR by the due date can file his return anytime –

  • Before the end of the relevant assessment year


  • Before the completion of the assessment.

     Whichever is earlier.

So, for the Financial Year 2016-17 (AY 2017-18), the return can be filed by the 31st March 2018.

Many people are confused because they are getting messages from Income Tax department for filing their tax return for FY 2015-16 (AY 2016-17) as well, before 31st March 2018.

The reason for these SMS for FY 2015-16 filing is that as per previous law-

For a person who did file their ITR by due date, can file it anytime –

  • Before the expiry of one year* from the end of the relevant assessment year


  • Before the completion of the assessment.

      Whichever is earlier

Hence, For FY 2015-16 (AY 2016-17)  and FY 2016-17(AY 2017-18), the last date to file ITR is 31st March 2018.

(*This part has been amended in the current law)

What are the consequences of filing the belated return u/s 139(4) for FY 2015-16 & FY 2016-17?

Though filing of return has numerous benefits, when filing a belated return you should be prepared to face these demerits:-

  • You will be liable to penal interest under section 234 A, for the delay in filing the return of income: if any tax is payable by you for that financial year.
  • A penalty of Rs. 5,000 u/s 271F may be imposed on you, by your assessing officer.
  • If you have a loss under any head of income, you cannot carry it forward (other than loss from house property).

2. When Filing a Revised Return u/s 139(5):

It is very common for us to make mistakes, if you make any mistake when filing your income tax return whether original return (u/s 139(1)) or belated return (u/s 139(4)), you can rectify it by taking the benefit of the section 139(5).

Who can file the revised return u/s 139(5)?|By when you can file the revised return u/s 139(5)?

If a person, who has filed a return of income, after filing discovers any omission or any wrong statement, he may rectify it by filing a revised return at any time but before-

  • Before the end of the relevant assessment year [ this is from FY 2017-18]#


  • Before the completion of the assessment.

      Whichever is earlier

#(In case of FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17 – Before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year)

It is pertinent to note here that a belated return filed for FY 2015-16 cannot be revised u/s 139(5).

Importance of 31 March 2018 deadline

Hence, for the Financial Year 2016-17 (AY 2017-18), the return can be revised by the 31st March 2019 and Financial year 2015-16 Last date shall remain 31st March 2018 only.

Abhishek Soni

By 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.

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