The tax filing season for FY 2018-19 ended on last Saturday. Those who missed the deadline will now have to pay fine and face several restrictions to file their income tax return. The Central Bureau of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had earlier extended the ITR filing deadline from 31 July 2019 to 31 August 2019.
There were rumours of an extension of the deadline till November, but the CBDT has come out and announced that there are no more extensions to file ITR with no penalties.
Those individuals who still wish to file their ITR can do so by paying the applicable late fee, and they need to complete the process successfully before the income tax department completes the processing of the assessments filed this year. Typically, late ITR filers are required to file their taxes latest by 31 March.
The income tax rules clearly state that late ITR filers are liable to pay a late fee of Rs 5,000 if they miss the deadline and files their taxes by 31 December. If a late ITR filer misses the deadline of 31 December and files his/her ITR by 31 March, then the late fee increases to Rs 10,000. This is applicable for those taxpayers whose income is more than Rs 5 lakh.
Those taxpayers having an annual income of Rs 5 lakh and lesser are liable to pay a late of Rs 1,000. This late fee is levied in addition to any tax liabilities. The income tax department has levied a late fee to encourage taxpayers to file their ITR on time.
Section 234A of the Income Tax Act, 1961, states that late ITR filers are liable to pay interest at the rate of 1% of the tax liability a month for the delay in ITR filing. In extreme cases, the income tax department issues notice to tax defaulters. The punishment for not being tax compliant can land individuals in jail.
The jail term ranges from three months to two years, depending on the tax liability, and this happens only in extreme cases where the tax liability is a significant sum. Knowing the penalties and punishment for delaying ITR filing, it’s only wise to save your skin by paying taxes well in time.
Generally, the tax filing season begins on 1 April and ends on 31 July. The income tax department may sometimes extend the deadline to file ITR due to various reasons. The duration of four months is good enough to file ITR as it won’t take much time. There are numerous private websites through whom you can file taxes apart from the government website.
Filing taxes on time has its benefits. You can avoid the last-minute hurdles such as technical glitches. Also, you will have enough time to validate your filing and re-file your ITR if there are any mistakes. Moreover, you get the peace of mind of having filed your taxes.
Engineer by qualification, financial writer by choice. I am always open to learning new things.