The income tax return filing season is on and most of us are busy consolidating the taxes. However, even after a huge 4-month window provided by the government, some of us happen to miss the ITR filing deadline which is 31st July for the Assessment Year 2019-20.

There is a general disbelief among taxpayers that paying taxes ends their obligation towards the government. It is not the case. Filing ITR is equally important and can lead to legal consequences if not done. Financial Year 2017-18 onward, a late filing fee is levied upon the taxpayers for late filing the ITR.


Section 234F- ITR late Filing fee

A maximum of Rs. 10,000 fee applies to people for late filing ITR under section 234F of the Income Tax Act after the deadline i.e. 31st July 2019. This rule has been applicable since FY 2017-18.

If you file the ITR after 31st July but before 31st December, the fee is Rs. 5000.

If you file the ITR after 31st December, the fee is Rs. 10,000.

There is a provision for small taxpayers as stated by the Income Tax department. If the total income is less than 5 lakhs, then the late filing fee is Rs. 1000.


Why you should file ITR on time?

Filing ITR on time makes you a responsible citizen and lifts any legal stress from your head which can come as a consequence of not following the deadline. There are several other benefits of filing ITR on time:

  1. You can claim a tax refund

If you have any tax refund pending with the income tax department, then you must file your ITR timely as it would fasten the process of your refund being initiated.

  1. Easy and fast loan approval

Timely filing your ITR ensures you have an appreciable track record with the income tax department and helps when you apply for a loan (home loan, car loan, personal loan etc)

  1. Acts as income and address proof

ITR can be used as an address and income proof where ever desired especially when you apply for visa or loan.

  1. Fast visa processing

ITR is desired by most embassies and consulates of foreign countries. When you apply for a visa, you will be asked to furnish your ITR of the past few years.

  1. Avoid prosecution and penalty

An individual is eligible to a penalty and prosecution for a term of 3 months to 2 years if the ITR is not filed on time. If the amount of tax you owe is more than Rs. 25 lakhs, the tenure may extend to 7 years.

If the net payable tax is less than Rs. 3000 then the above proceedings do not hold good. Also, the IT officer can impose a fine of up to 50% of the due tax in case of under-reported income.

How to file ITR?

You can file ITR both online and offline. The offline option is available only for super senior citizens and small taxpayers.

What if the due date is missed?

If the due date is missed, you can file a belated return. A belated return is one which you file after the deadline but within the same assessment year. For the assessment year 2019-20, the belated return can be filed anytime before 31st March 2020 is the ITR deadline (31st July 2019) is missed.