How to file the income tax return for the previous year

As per the regulations put in place by the Income Tax Department, individuals are expected to file Income Tax Returns (ITR) on or before July 31 of every financial year. For example, if you are filing the income tax returns of Financial Year 2018-19 which ends on March 31, 2019, you must do the filing on or before July 31, 2019. Here we discuss how to file income tax returns for the previous years if you have missed them out.

Filing income tax return for the previous years

As per the Finance Act amendment 2016, it is possible to file the delayed IT returns any time before 1 year after the corresponding assessment year has ended.

What to do if you get a late payment notice?

If the income tax department sends you a late payment notice directing you to tile the returns that stretch beyond 2 financial years in the past, you can prepare your tax returns accordingly and submit it to the department. Taxpayers are expected to file old returns when they get an IT notice. Starting from AY 2018-19, the time limit allowed for filing a revised IT return has been reduced. If you need to make some changes in the original like rectifying the omission or correcting the errors, you must do so before the end of the corresponding AY. Till AY 2017-18, the time limit of 1 year was allowed for filing a revised return from the end of the corresponding AY.

What are the negative sides of filing belated IT returns?

When you file IT returns late, you are supposed to pay the interest as per the sections 234A, 234B and 234C. If the It returns are filed on or before 31 March of the corresponding AY, a fee of Rs 5,000 will be charged under Section 234F. After this date, the fine will go up to Rs 10,000.

How to file the missed returns?

The Finance Act 2016 amendment has created provisions to file the IT returns once the taxpayer has missed out the due date. Filing the missed returns in allowed only in some specific cases. Requests for filing income tax returns for the previous years are accepted if the IT department finds that your case is genuine, based on some real difficulties, a refund is due on account of excess tax deduction or TDS or advance tax or self-assessment tax.

Delayed IT returns can be filed for the previous years within a period of six years from the end of the assessment year. For example, if you have missed it out, you can file the IT returns of March 31, 2019 up to March 31, 2024. If you have not paid the tax for the FY 2017-18 for example, you must pay it along with the interest applicable as per the Section 234A, 234B and 234C.

If you have paid you taxes in time but have not filed the returns in time, you will get a notice from the IT department asking you to file the ITR in this case, you will have to pay a penalty of Rs. 5,000. The legal actions that will be taken for not filing the ITR in time include penalizing, fines, or even imprisonment.
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