Income Tax Return Filing Date Not Extended: Confusion & Clarification

Income Tax Return Filing Date Not Extended: Confusion & Clarification

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Income Tax Return Filing Date Not Extended:

Confusion & Clarification

 
The due date of filing income tax returns for the FY 2020-21 was already extended to 31st December 2021 due to corona and technical glitches at the newly launched income tax portal. Still, there were a lot of glitches and issues in filing the income tax return and expectations were high that the deadline of 31st December would be re-extended. There are a lot of taxpayers who have not filed the income tax return on the presumption that the date will be extended.
Demand for extension of the due date of filing income tax return is a regular feature. However, the Government has taken a conscious call of not extending the due date of filing the income tax return.
What if the income tax return could not be filed till 31st December 2021?
  1. Late filing Fees:
    If income tax return couldn’t be filed by 31st December for any reasons whatsoever then the taxpayers can file the belated return till 31.03.2022. The process of filing a belated return is the same as filing the return on or before the due date. However, this belated filing of return would attract the late fee. If the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the maximum late fee would be Rs 1,000/- only. However, if the total income exceed Rs. 5 Lakh then the late fee would be Rs. 5000/-. [It may be noted that the highest late fee was reduced from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 5000/- by the Finance Act-2021 w.e.f. 01.04.2021]. It may be noted that the late fee is not applicable if the total income of the person does not exceeds the basic exemption limit not chargeable to tax. It may be noted that the income tax return filing is mandatory for the partnership firm even if it is not carrying out any business activities or even if there is no income. The minimum late fee of Rs. 1000/- would be applicable for such firms if the return is not filed within the due date.
  2. Interest U/s 234A:
    For all the belated returns, the taxpayer would be liable to pay the tax along with interest @ 1% per month u/s 234A if there is any tax due on the basis of returned income.
  3.  No Benefit of carry forward of Loss:
    It may be noted that under the Indian income tax Act, losses under any head of income (other than income from house property), can be carried forward only if the tax return is filed within the due date. However, taxpayers can carry forward the loss under the head income from house property, even if the tax return is filed after the due date. In short, to avail the benefit of carry forward of the loss, the filing of the return within the due date is mandatory.
  4. Delay in Receiving Refunds:
    If any refund is due to the taxpayers due to excess TDS/TCS/Advance tax payment, then the earlier return filing ensures earlier refund of the excess tax amount.
Return filed with error at the last minute- Can it be revised now?
It may be noted that if after filing the income tax return, taxpayers realizes that there is some error in reporting the incomes or some deductions/claims were not availed of in the return then it is possible to file a revised return. The last date of filing revised returns for FY 2020-21 will be 31st March, 2022.
Due date of filing Income Tax Return by Company, Co-operative Societies & Charitable / Religious Trust:  
It may be noted that the due date for following categories of the person is extended to 15th February 2022 (& was not 31st December 2021):
a. Company;
b. Person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force; or
c. Partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force
d. Individual / HUF/ Firms who are required to get the books of accounts audited u/s 44AB of the Income Tax Act-1961.
Since the trust and co-operative societies are required to get the books of accounts audited under their respective laws, the due date of filing the ITR in such a case is 15th February 2021 and was not 31st December 2021 which is already over.
Conclusions:
Every successive Government is acting hard against the non compliance and there is no excuse for non compliance. From FY 2021-22, the last date to revise the return or file belated return would be 31st December only. It means that the taxpayers would be required to act fast as far as the return filing in the subsequent year is concerned. The non extension of the date in the current year by the Government is like asking the taxpayers to be prepared for the next year compliance till December.
[Readers may forward their feedback & queries at nareshjakhotia@gmail.com. Other articles & response to queries are available at www.theTAXtalk.com]

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