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Don’t delay filing your income tax returns

As the old proverb goes: “There’s no time like the present”. Don’t delay filing your income tax return. Generally, the due date for filing the return is July 31 for individuals. However, this time around, the tax authorities have extended the due date to August 31.

If due to unavoidable circumstances, you missed filing your return, what then? Well, you can still file it after the due date; this is quite simply called a ‘belated return’.

A belated return for a financial year can be filed within a period of two years from the end of that financial year.

Here’s an example. Say, you needed to file a return for the financial year 2013-14 (that is, the assessment year 2014-15). The due date for this would be July 31, 2014. If you skipped filing the return by that date, you have time until March 31, 2016.

But of course, there are consequences for such delays.

Consequences of delayed filing

For one, the income tax department may charge penalty of ₹5,000 if the return is not filed within the due date. Two, you are not allowed to file a revised return if the return was filed after the expiry of the due date.

Three, in case you have incurred any loss during the year, the same cannot be carried forward and adjusted against income of the next year.

Four, in case there is any tax that is payable, an additional interest at 1 per cent a month is charged for the period of delay.

Tracking defaulters

What’s more, the taxman has ways and means to nose out procrastinators or the forgetful ones.

For instance, you mention your PAN details while investing in fixed deposits, shares, mutual funds and so on.

The Income Tax Department may also obtain information regarding your monetary transactions from banks, mutual fund companies, insurance companies and so on. In the process, if the department finds any monetary transaction of considerable amount in your name, you may receive a notice asking you to file the return. In some cases, the department may even undertake an assessment of your income.

So, while there is some flexibility to file returns even after the due date, it is always advisable for all taxpayers to toe the line.

In case, the extended period too has lapsed, you are advised to prepare all the necessary documentation and pay the taxes to avoid additional penalty.

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