The deadline to file Income Tax Return for the financial year 2019-20 is December 31. Those who don’t adhere to the deadline will have to pay Rs 10,000 as penalty. This year, the last date for ITR filing has been extended in view of the COVID-19 situation. Usually, people have to do it by July 31.
Last year, those who filed it after the deadline attracted a penalty of Rs 5,000. But, this year, such people will have to pay double the amount compared to last year. This huge penalty will be levied on those late filers whose annual income after claiming eligible deductions and tax exemptions is more than Rs 5 lakh in the relevant assessment year. In case of those late filers who have earned less than Rs 5 lakh in a financial year, the penalty is Rs 1,000.
There is a reason as to why this year the penalty is twice that of the last year. Usually, when the deadline is July 31, a person (whose income exceeds Rs 5 lakh) who has missed the last date, but has filed a belated return by December 31 of the same year, will be charged Rs 5,000 as penalty. If he fails to file the ITR by December 31, but does it before March 31 of the relevant assessment year, he will have to pay Rs 10,000 as late filing fee.
So, what is actually happening is due to shifting of the deadline, the period (August 1 – December 31) for which Rs 5,000 is charged as penalty has been removed. Now, the late filing fee will only be charged for January 1 – March 31 period.
Most of the people get their ITR filed through a professional accountant or chartered accountant. Several websites and applications, however, have come up with user friendly interfaces allowing people to file their ITR easily. State Bank of India (SBI) is also letting people file it through its YONO app and the bank is not charging any fee for this facility.