The deadline for filing income tax returns (ITR) is July 31 for every assessment year. If you miss the deadline, you can always file a belated return by up to March 31 of the following year. If you have also missed the deadline for filing a belated return for the year 2016-17 and 2017-18, you cannot file a belated return anymore.
Now, you can file return only on the direction of the income tax officer, i.e., if you receive a notice for not filing the return. In that case, an ITR can be filed in response to the notice. In the same manner, we can also file a condonation of delay request to the assessing officer. If the income tax officer is satisfied, he can allow us to file the ITR.
Condonation of delay The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a circular in regard to a person who has forgotten to file a return, wants to carry forward his losses or has tax refund pending. He can file an application for condonation of delay to the concerned authority or income tax commissioner.
Parameters for filing application An application can be accepted by the I-T department if the facts in the application is correct and genuine and the failure to file ITR is due to genuine hardship.
Time limit The time limit to file such application is six years from the end of assessment year of filing return. The I-T department has to dispose the condonation application within six months from the end of the month in which the application is received.
If taxes for the previous assessment years are not paid by you, then it is advised to pay the taxes and interest along with the application as applicable under Sections 234A, 234B and 234C. It might safeguard one from penalties in future, even if one has not filed the ITR.
If you have already paid all the taxes with interest for the previous assessment years, then you can neither file the ITR nor apply for condonation of delay. The department can, however, levy penalty for non-filing of ITR. The maximum penalty in such case can be Rs 5,000. No penalty is levied if the reason for such non-compliance is genuine.
If you have paid taxes but have failed to file the ITR, chances are that you will not be liable to pay penalty for under reporting of income.
Actions for not filing ITR.The department can take action against you for non-filing of ITR. A notice can be issued against you, you may get prosecuted and jail sentence for maximum seven years; if TDS has been deducted from your income and you have not filed the return, the department can issue a notice against you or, it can also levy a maximum penalty of Rs 5,000.