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A belated return is one which is filed after the deadline for filing the ITR is crossed. When an assessee misses the deadline or due date to file his returns, the return filed after the deadline but within the same assessment year is called a belated return. For every assessment year, the due date for filing the belated return is the on or before the end of that assessment year.

Let us understand this with an example;

Aman has a taxable income of Rs. 8,00,000 from his income for the assessment year 2019-20. The actual due date for filing ITR on time for this assessment year is 31st July 2019. Somehow, Aman misses the deadline and files his return on 13th of October, 2019. Since he has filed the return after 31st July but before 31st March 2020, this return is his belated return. Aman can file the belated return any time before 31st March 2020.

What are the consequences of not filing ITR on time?

There are various consequences related to delayed filing of ITR apart from the penalty levied by the Income Tax Department. Following are the repercussions of not filing ITR by the due date:

Unable to set off losses
If the returns are not filed on time, the carry forward of losses is not permitted to the subsequent years (loss other than house or property loss). You will not be allowed to carry forward these losses and set them off against future gains if you do not file your returns within the due date.
However, if you have incurred losses under property or house, the losses can be carried forward.

Interest is charged on the delay
Under section 234A, you will be charged an interest rate of 1% per month or part thereof until you pay your taxes. This interest charged is over and above the penalty for late filing of ITR. You cannot file ITR until you have paid your taxes. The interest is calculated immediately after the due date for filing the return is crossed i.e. 31st July 2019 for the current assessment year, 2019-20.
Hence, the more delay you do in the filing, the more interest you pay.

Delayed refunds
If you are entitled to receive any funds from the Income tax department, it is highly advisable that you file your returns on time. Any delay in process on your side will automatically affect the speed of processes due on the department.

How to file Income Tax Return?
Income Tax Return filing has been made easy by the Income Tax Department. All you need to do is go to the official income tax filing webpage and fill in the necessary and required details. Keep your Form 16 handy while you file your ITR.