Failing to meet the deadline for filing your income tax return for the financial year 2022-23 (Assessment Year 2023-24), which falls on July 31, 2023, might be disheartening, but rest assured that you can still file your tax return, albeit as a “belated ITR” since it’s submitted after the prescribed deadline. However, it’s crucial to understand that filing a belated income tax return comes with its consequences, including late filing fees and penal interest on any outstanding taxes you owe. To ensure you are well informed about this process, let’s delve into the key details you need to know about filing a belated income tax return
- Belated ITR: When you fail to file your income tax return within the stipulated due date, the return you submit subsequently is known as a “belated ITR.” This allowance is governed by section 139 (4) of the Income-tax Act, which offers taxpayers some leeway in case they couldn’t file their returns in a timely manner.
- Deadline for Filing Belated ITR: While missing the initial deadline can be unsettling, there’s still a window of opportunity to rectify the situation. The last date for filing the belated ITR for the financial year 2022-23 has been extended to December 31, 2023, offering taxpayers additional time to fulfill their obligations. Notably, the deadline used to be March 31 of the assessment year, but now it has been effectively shifted to December 31.
- Consequences for Belated ITR: It’s essential to be aware of the penalty imposed for filing a belated ITR. The late filing fee has been revised, and now you will be required to pay a late filing fee of Rs 5,000. However, if your total income is less than Rs 5 lakh, the late filing fee will not exceed Rs 1,000, providing some relief to taxpayers with lower income brackets.
- Benefits Lost: Filing a belated ITR means you might forfeit certain benefits that early filers get to enjoy. For instance, you won’t be able to carry forward losses from business, profession, capital gains, and other sources, except for losses under the “Income from house property” head. This can have significant implications for taxpayers seeking to offset losses against future earnings.
- Revised Belated ITR: The tax authorities understand that mistakes can happen, and therefore, if you discover an error in your belated ITR, you have the option to revise it. The last date to revise both the belated and original ITR for FY 2022-23 is December 31, 2023. It’s crucial to remember that the deadline for revisions coincides with the deadline for belated returns.
- Relevant Assessment Year: While filing the belated ITR for the financial year 2022-23, you must use the appropriate ITR form for the assessment year 2023-24. This ensures that your tax return is processed correctly, and any changes in tax laws for the relevant assessment year are duly taken into account.
- Missed Belated ITR Deadline: Should you find yourself unable to meet the belated ITR deadline of December 31, 2023, there’s still a potential lifeline. You can file an updated ITR under Section 139 (8) after the conclusion of the assessment year, meaning after March 31, 2024. However, this option should be exercised judiciously, as it grants you a more extended timeframe but could lead to more significant delays and potential complications.
In conclusion, while the possibility of filing a belated income tax return offers some respite to those who couldn’t meet the original deadline, it’s essential to proceed with caution. Familiarize yourself with the associated penalties and the benefits you might lose to make an informed decision. Ideally, filing your return on time is the most prudent approach to avoid any unnecessary complications and ensure compliance with tax regulations. Take advantage of the available extensions responsibly and seek professional advice if needed to navigate the tax-filing process smoothly and accurately.