Tax Returns – Last date scare – 30th September?

I got a frantic call from a friend that he was worried that he did not have enough time to fill his ITR for this year. I replied that he does have time until 30 November. He was confused, he read a news article mentioning a date of 30th September. I double checked the IncomeTax Website, scanned news articles and then understood what may have caused the confusion – 30th September is the last date for filling last Assessment years ITRs.

image from Unsplash

The confusion is always that the assessment year is an year ahead of the financial year. So 30th September happens to be the last chance for those who did not file last years ITR. ie for assessment year 19-20. For this years assessment year 20-21 (or financial year 19-20) the last date is 30th November, but it would do good if you can file that as early as possible, as Government may not extend the last dates any more.

When you file last assessement year’s ITR now, what you do is a belated return. Let’s see how interest and penalty are charged on a belated return.

Belated ITR is the return filed after the due date, which is generally 31st July of the assessment year (AY). For financial year (FY) 19, the due date of filing ITR was 31st August and the assessment year was till March 2020. Although the date of filing belated ITR has been extended, there is no escape from the late filing penalties and interest on unpaid tax dues.

Penalties for late filing of ITR

  • Flat penalty of ₹5,000 will be levied when you file belated returns till 31 December, and ₹10,000 if you file after 31 December till 31 March.
  • For income up to ₹5 lakh, a penalty of ₹1,000 is applicable in case of filing belated ITR till 31 March. Even if you file the belated return for FY19 by September, you will have to pay a late filing penalty of ₹10,000
  • 1% for each month of delay starting 1st September 2019 for any outstanding tax dues. Additionally, not filing advance tax will result in interest on the delay

Refunds due will be delayed as the processing of refunds will only start after the tax return is filed. The tax department pays interest on refunds from the date of filing of return in case of late returns, so in case of delay, you will lose on the interest on refund if there is any.

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