If you are still thinking about filing your Income Tax Returns (ITR) for the financial year 2019-20 (or assessment year 2020-21), then hurry, as the last date along with a late fine of Rs 10,000 will end on March 31. This is the last chance for the taxpayers to carry forward losses incurred by them in the current assessment year.
The belated ITR is available for those taxpayers who missed doing so within the stipulated deadline. The late filing of tax return attracts a fee under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act and the penalty payable by assesses filing a late return increases depending upon the degree of delay. For instance, a taxpayer is required to pay Rs 5,000 if the return is furnished on or before December 21 of the assessment year and the penalty doubles to Rs 10,000 if the return is filed next year between January 1 and March 31.
In the current scenario, if a taxpayer doesn’t file for the said assessment year by the March 31 deadline, he/she may have to face stringent consequences. The experts suggest, a minimum penalty of 50 percent of the assessed tax or a maximum of 200 percent of the assessed tax can be levied in this case.
Apart from the stringent penalty, there are chances that the taxpayer may have to face prosecution i.e. rigorous imprisonment for a term up to 7 years, in extreme and high-value cases. This happens when willful default to furnish the return of income and tax payable exceeds Rs 10,000.
In a normal scenario, taxpayers get enough time and are required to file their ITR without fine by July 31 of any year (unless the deadline is extended by the government). In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had extended the last date of filing ITR for financial year 2019-20 or assessment year 2020-21 t by January 10.
Since the deadline was extended to January 10, the taxpayers will be allowed to file late ITR with a fine of Rs 10,000.