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What Happens if You Miss Your Tax Return Date?

File photo of the Income Tax Building.

File photo of the Income Tax Building.

Late filing or filing your returns after the due date attracts a penalty under section 234F. If an individual misses the ITR due date, his/her returns will be processed late and naturally, the refund amount will be released and credited late.

If you are still thinking about filing your Income Tax Returns (ITR), then hurry, as the last date is fast approaching. And if you are hoping to get lucky again, it is highly unlikely the due date will be extended any further.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the deadlines to file tax returns for the financial year 2019-20 were extended multiple times to December 31, 2020, from the usual due date of July 31, 2020. And the deadline for the taxpayers whose accounts need to be audited is set on January 31 next year.

Late filing or filing your returns after the due date attracts a penalty under section 234F. If an individual misses the ITR due date, his/her returns will be processed late and naturally, the refund amount will be released and credited late.

A late filing fee is levied as a penalty if the returns are filed after the due date. The penalty can range anywhere up to Rs 10,000. But for small taxpayers, with income below Rs 5 lakh, the penalty is set at Rs 1000 if the income tax return is filed after the expiry date.

Not just the penalty, any delay in filing of the ITR can add more liabilities for the taxpayers. Under section 234A of the Income Tax Act, any taxpayer who has defaulted the deadline is liable to pay one percent interest every month on the amount of unpaid tax till the returns are filed.

Furthermore, a taxpayer may face prosecution under u/s 276CC of the Income Tax Act if he/she willfully ignores the returns after getting notice u/s 142 and 148 of the Income Tax Act. And one cannot carry forward the losses of a particular year to get it adjusted against profits/gains of future years.

If your income falls below the exemption limit then you won’t have to pay any penalty even if the returns are filed after the deadline.The exemption limit for individuals below 60 years is Rs 2.5 lakh while for people between 60 and 80 years the exemption limit is Rs 3 lakh. Those who fall in the super senior citizens’ category, of 80 years and above, income up to Rs 5 lakh is exempted.


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