I missed filing my tax returns last year. Can I file for the same along with this year’s? If so, how do I go about it and will there be any penalties?
As per section 139(1) of the Income-tax Act, it is mandatory for an individual whose total income exceeds the basic income exemption limit to file his personal tax return within the applicable due date. The specified date is 30 September in case your accounts are required to be audited under any law or 31 July in any other case.
The tax return filed after the specified date is considered as a belated return. The specified time frame for filing a belated tax return is either before the expiry of two years from the end of the relevant fiscal or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier.
As stated above, you have missed the deadline for filing the tax return for FY12 (year ended 31 March 2012). Accordingly, you can now file the belated return for that year by 31 March 2014 or before completion of assessment if your return is picked up for scrutiny, whichever is earlier.
Please note that there will be certain limitations. You cannot revise the return even if you discover an omission or misstatement in the belated return filed. Also, the losses incurred in the respective fiscal (except for house property loss and business loss on account of unabsorbed depreciation and capital expenditure on scientific research) can’t be carried forward to subsequent fiscals for off-setting against corresponding income streams.
You will also be liable to pay interest under section 234A of the Act for default in filing the tax return within the specified due date. However, if the entire tax has been deducted from your income or advance tax has been paid before 31 March 2012, then the aforesaid interest shall not be applicable. In case any taxes are payable, there may be additional interest payable under section 234B of the Act from 1 April 2012 till the month of payment of taxes in certain circumstances.
Further, the tax officer, at his discretion, may levy a penalty of Rs.5,000 for non-filing of returns within the specified due date if the said return is not filed within one year from the end of the relevant fiscal—31 March 2013.
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