Filing income tax returns have always been viewed as hassle with the forms, the details to be filled, the formats to be followed, what data falls under which category and for the common man, nothing seems more tedious and boggling as filing these returns. Taxpayers not only have to file these returns to keep their finances in order but have to file them on time and as dynamic and changing as one’s lifestyle can be, there will be times where simply cannot file these returns on time. Delayed returns are not as uncommon as one would think. Many people fail to file their returns before the prescribed date and the Income tax act of 1961 has realised this and added a section to their act that allows taxpayers to file these returns under the belated return of income tax which falls under section 139(4)
Category of Taxpayer:
Firstly, to file a belated income tax return, one should know the prescribed due date for the category of tax they belong to. The due date for a taxpayer who is either a company or is required to have a mandatory tax audit, or a working partner of a firm that requires its accounts to be audited then the prescribed date for filing the returns is 30th September of the assessment year. For a taxpayer who belongs to any other category such as a salaried employee or a self-employed taxpayer who is not required to have their tax audit done, the prescribed date is 31st July of the assessment year. These dates are as mentioned under section 139(1)
Delayed Filing: Example
If for some reason, the taxpayer cannot file these on the prescribed date, or has failed to file this as per the notice of the income tax officer who would have provided a period under the Section 139(4), then the taxpayer is required to file this at any point within a period of 1 year starting from when the relevant assessment year ends.
To better explain this, let us take for example, the income tax return for a particular year. In this case let us assume the taxpayer is to file an income tax return for the year 2012-13. The income tax return for this year has to be filed in the assessment year of 2013-14. The prescribed date of this filing will be either 31st July 2013 or 30th September 2013 as per the category to which the taxpayer belongs. If for any reason the taxpayer is unable to file his or her income tax return within the prescribed date then he can file it before the end of the assessment year. In this case the assessment year will end on 31st March 2015.
In cases where an income tax officer has started an assessment in the absence of the taxpayer filing the income tax return, that taxpayer can have it filed before the end of the assessment period of the income tax officer or 31st March 2015, whichever happens to be earlier
It is important to note that belated income tax returns that have been filed cannot be revised in case of any errors. The returns can be revised only if it has been filed within the prescribed date.