The last day of the year, December 31, will also be the last chance to file your income tax return (ITR). Most individuals who generated some income in the form of salaries, small businesses, and fees received for professional services, the last to file their ITR for FY 2021-22 on July 31 this year. However, in case you missed that, there is still a chance to furnish a return. This belated ITR and can be filed under section 139 (4) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

A belated return can be furnished up until three months before the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY). Since the AY ends on March 31, you have to file a belated return by December 31. In contrast to a regular return filed by July 31, a belated return has certain limitations. For instance, the losses cannot be carried forward, and there is a late filing fee of upto Rs 5,000 under Section 234 F. Additionally, taxpayers who miss out on filing the regular income tax returns will accrue an interest of 1 percent per month (or part of the month) for any amount of tax that remains unpaid.

Income Tax Return FAQ:

What is belated and revised ITR?

An individual who has missed the last date to file an original income tax return can file a belated ITR.  Similarly, when someone files their return but later realises that they have missed some information or not disclosed something completely, they can file a revised return.

Is any penalty required to pay these returns?

Filing belated returns come at a cost. A fee of Rs 5,000 is levied under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for filing a belated return. For taxpayers whose total income is not more than Rs 5 lakh in a financial year, the maximum penalty for the delay is Rs 1,000. Also, if there is tax to be paid, taxpayers will be charged interest at 1 percent per month after the end of the due date till they file ITR. In the case of a revised return, no penalty is levied but if the assessing officer discovers that the error was intentional/fraudulent, revision of the return is not allowed, and a penalty may be levied.

How to file these returns?

Belated returns can be filed under Section 139(4) of the Income-tax Act, 1961. However, the process of filing it is the same as filing an income tax return before the due date. On the other hand, a revised return can be filed under Section 139(5) of the income tax Act. The process of filing is the same as filing an original ITR.

What happens if taxpayers miss these deadlines too?

If taxpayers miss the last date to file belated ITRs, they can file updated ITRs. The Finance Act of 2022 has introduced the concept of updated returns to allow a longer duration for an assessee to file the return of income. An updated return can be filed within 24 months from the end of the relevant assessment year (subject to certain conditions). It can be filed even after the expiry of time limits specified for the filing of a belated return or revised return of income. An updated income tax return can be filed only after the end of the relevant assessment year. Hence, if taxpayers do not file belated ITRs now, then they will be allowed to file an updated ITR from April 1, 2023, only.

Is there any penalty for filing an updated return?

A penalty or fee is not levied upon a person who wishes to furnish an updated return. However, they will be required to pay an additional tax in accordance with Section 140B of the Income Tax Act. A taxpayer will be liable to pay 25 percent additional tax on the tax dues if ITR-U for FY 2021-22 (AY 2022-23) is filed within the first relevant assessment year — i.e., between April 1, 2023, and March 31, 2024. However, if the ITR-U is filed between April 1, 2024, and March 31, 2025, then 50 percent additional tax on the tax dues will have to be given.

Where can you file ITR?

The I-T department has established an independent portal for e-filing income tax returns — incometaxindia.gov.in. Additionally, there are certain private entities registered by the Income Tax department that allows you to do it.

Which forms are available for filing ITR?

Under the current income tax laws, seven forms are available for different types of assessees to file their income tax return- ITR 1, ITR 2, ITR 3, ITR 4, ITR 5, ITR 6 and ITR 7.

What documents are required to file ITR?

Aadhaar card, Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, Form 26AS and Form 16 are some of the major documents required for filing ITR.

Why and how should you verify your ITR?

After filing ITR, it is imperative to verify it. If the verification is not done, ITR cannot be regarded as legal and may not be processed by the department. I-T Department offers five ways to verify an ITR: net banking, bank ATM, Aadhaar OTP bank account and demat account.

What happens if you don’t file ITR at all?

In case you do not file ITR at all, you will not be able to carry forward the losses of the current assessment year. Also, a penalty may be levied, which is a minimum of 50 percent of the assessed tax or a maximum of 200 percent of the assessed tax. Additionally, you can face prosecution in extreme and high-value cases.