(Representational Image)
(Representational Image)

With only four days left for the deadline to file your income tax return (ITR), taxpayers are now rushing to file their ITR to avoid penalties. The Income Tax Department is also constantly reminding taxpayers through the social media platforms to file their returns on time as the demand to extend the due date grows.

The last date to file the ITR for financial year (FY) 2019-20 has been extended multiple times, and as of now, it’s on December 31, 2020. Experts are of the view that not everyone will be able file their return on time. Hence, if you file your return after the deadline that is on or after January 1, 2021, then you would have to pay a late fee of up to Rs 10,000. However, if your income is below taxable limit then you won't have to pay it even if you file after the deadline, says income tax website.

An income tax payer is liable to pay late ITR filing fees of:

a) Rs 5,000 if tax return is filed after the deadline but on or before December 31 of the relevant assessment year (Not relevant for FY 2019-20 as the last date to file ITR for FY 2019-20 is December 31, 2020).

b) Rs 10,000 if tax return is filed after December 31 but before the end the relevant assessment year, i.e., before March 31 (in this case between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021).

c) There is a relief given to small taxpayers the IT department has stated that if the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the maximum penalty levied for delay will be Rs 1000. On the other hand, if the tax evaded exceeds Rs 25 lakh the punishment could be imprisonment of 6 months to 7 years, as per the website of the Income Tax Department.

According to the reports, until assessment year (AY) 2017-18, there was no penalty for filing belated income tax returns. However, this penalty is applicable from AY 2018-19. A new, section 234F, was inserted by the government into the Income-tax Act, 1961.

How to file an Income Tax Return after the due date:

The process of filing late return is the same as filing the return on or before the due date. If a late return is filed after the income tax due date, the taxpayer would be liable to pay the tax along with Interest @ 1 per cent per month (simple interest) under Section 234A.

If due to any reason, the taxpayer is not able to file his income tax return, he can still submit a belated return before the end of the assessment year that is FY2019-20.

If you are filing a belated return for FY2019-20, then you need to fill the applicable ITRs as notified for this FY, and not for any previous or later FY. The relevant assessment year for a financial year is the immediately succeeding financial year. This means that you can file a belated return for FY2019-20 by March 31, 2021, i.e., before the end of the assessment year (AY)2020-21.

More than 4.15 crore Income Tax Returns for AY 2020-21 have already been filed till 26th of December, 2020, the Income Tax department tweeted on Sunday. However, there are many who have still not filed the returns.

FPJ had on Saturday reported the woes faced by taxpayers about the Income Tax website, which stopped working when the taxpayers rushed to file e-return to meet the deadline.

Fed up of trying to connect to the website which did not load, taxpayers in a series of tweets have urged The Finance Minister to extend the due date for filing the income tax returns.

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Free Press Journal