Missed Aug 5 ITR filing deadline? Here’s what you should do now

If you are amongst those who missed the last date for filing income tax return (ITR) for the assessment year 2017-18, don’t fret. You can still file the required return beyond August 5. However, there are quite a few important things to keep in mind, including possible penalty and limitations of a non-time return.

The good news is, you can still file your return and pay necessary taxes by the end of the assessment year. For the 2016-17 financial year, you are allowed to file a belated return till the end of assessment year 2017-18 or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. This typically means the actual last date is March 31, 2018. Please note that you will not get any chance to file your return for FY16-17 after March 31, 2018 under any circumstances. The process for filing a belated return isn’t any different. Go to http://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in. Log into your e-filing account on the I-T department’s website by clicking on the registered user icon. Then select the applicable ITR form and assessment year, and proceed with the filing. If you are filing the return for the financial year 2016-17, select assessment year 2017-18.

Do remember that your belated return filed cannot be revised. Be careful so that no error creeps in during the filing process. Taxpayers, who filed their tax return before the due date, are allowed to revise their return if need be.

The bad news is there are a few disadvantages when it comes to belated return filing. Besides any unpaid tax, you may have to pay penalties and interest on any tax that had not been paid. In the case of an unpaid tax amount, the assessee, i.e. you, is charged a penal interest per month till the liability is paid off.|
After the da­te, a further interest of 1 per cent per mo­­n­th will have to be paid as well. For instance, if you had to pay additional tax of Rs 50,000 on your income as on March 31, 2017, you will be charged Rs 500 each mo­nth till you pay the tax along with the interest.

Be ready to pay penalties for delay in filing the return under Section 271F of the I-T Act. As of now, the penalty is Rs 5,000 for delay in filing ITR. The decision to impose it depends on the assessing officer. Also, an individual is eligible to get interest on the excess tax they have paid from April 1 of the assessm­e­nt year till the date the am­o­unt is refunded. For belated return, the assessee will be paid interest on TDS after August 1. This means you will lose out the interest accrued for some time.

Since you have filed a belated return, you would not be able to carry forward certain losses to the subsequent years for set-off purposes. For example, capital losses can be carried forward for the next 7 assessment years, from the end of the relevant one. Ordinarily, these can be adjusted against gains during these years. If the person files a late return, the los­­s­­es can’t be carried forward.

To conclude, if there is a valid reason that caused you to miss the last date for filing ITR, there is no reason to worry. Go ahead and file your return soon. Take the help of a tax professional so that the process is seamless and accurate.

(The author is a charte­r­ed financial analyst and CEO & founder at Right Horizons)