If there is one thing life has taught us, it's how to postpone everything important till we can't afford to any longer. This statement doesn’t ring truer than in the case of tax filing. We avoid it like the plague until the deadline comes knocking, which is when the responsible stranger in us wakes up and gets to doing what should have been done a long time ago. The surge in the number of online tax-filers on the last day is so overwhelming that the system overloads more often than not. And yet, there is a vast majority that manages to miss the July 31st deadline. If you are one of them, keep reading. If you are not, continue anyway. It never hurts to know your options.
Before we get into post deadline tax filing, I would remind you that doing it in time has its own advantages that you can't enjoy after the due date.
- If you thought you can take it easy because you can amend it later, you’ve got another thing coming. Returns that are filed after the due date cannot be revised if you’ve made any mistakes.
- You also cannot claim any refunds for the tax you paid. Pro-tip for the business owners out there, a return filed in time can help you claim losses which you can’t otherwise. In other words, capital losses can't be carried forward if return is filed after the deadline.
But that does not mean you can't file your tax returns, in fact, Government of India gives you two financial years from the end of the relevant tax year to do it. If, for whatever reason, you were unable to file it by 31st July, experts suggest that you should try doing it as soon as possible because if there are any pending tax payments, the Government levies an interest of 1% of the total payable tax for each month that you delay. Thus, sooner you do it the smaller the penalty is.
Now that the lazy taxpayers know their options, let me speak to the lazier ones. Returns submitted after one financial year from the end of the relevant year are treated as a belated return. There is no difference in the filing procedure of the two, except that you are required to mention that it's a belated return. These returns also carry a possibility of being fined up to Rs 5,000 depending on the assessing officer's discretion. Take this example to understand it better. For the financial year 2015-16, the deadline to submit the returns is 31st July 2016. The next deadline will be 31st March 2017 but it can still be filed as belated return till 31st March 2018.
As per another news, your lazing days may be coming to an end! The Finance Bill 2016 has proposed to reduce the filing period from two to one year. But on the brighter side, returns paid at any time in this period can be revised, regardless of it being before or after 31st July. But these new rules will be applicable from April 2017. And let's not forget that these relaxations are here to help you and not for you to take advantage of. So go on, uncap your pen, put your tax-filing hat on and get to work.
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