How to File a Belated Income Tax Return after the Due Date?

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6 min read

Updated on Jan 28, 2024

A belated return is the ITR filed after you pass the initial deadline for the income tax return filing date. So, a belated return can be filed if a taxpayer misses the original deadline for return filing, which is 31 July of an assessment year. You can file the belated return within 31 December of a relevant assessment year.

In this post, let us look at the various features and aspects related to belated returns in detail.

What Does Belated Return Imply?

A belated return is the ITR or income tax return that is filed between the first and the extended deadline of 31 July and 31 December of a financial year. There may be certain consequences for filing a delayed ITR. But, despite being late, it is important to file an ITR if you don’t want to face penalties.

For the financial year 2024-25, the payable date for filing ITR will end on 31 July 2024. However, if you miss the last date for the income tax return filing, you can file it later as a Belated Return.

What Do You Mean by Previous Year’s ITR Filing?

If a taxpayer couldn’t file an ITR for the previous year or years, they can use the belated return option to file the ITR late. 31 December of an assessment year is the last date to file an ITR late or to file a belated IT return. For FY 2024-25 (AY 2025-26), the last date for filing a belated return is 31 December 2024.

Further, people who may miss the last date of the belated return filing can file ITR-U in some particular cases.

What are the disadvantages of filing a return late?

Filing late returns can have its disadvantages, as mentioned below:

Interest might be imposed – Under Sections 234A, 234B, and 234C, a late fee may be imposed on the taxpayer for filing a belated ITR. Even Section 234F imposes a late fee of INR 5,000 on the taxpayer. If the taxpayer earns a total income below INR 5 lakh, INR 1000 Is charged as the fee for late filing of ITR. Thus;

  • If the gross income of an individual is up to INR 2.5 lakh, no penalty is levied.
  • If the gross income is between INR 2.5 lakh and INR 5 lakh, INR 1000 is imposed as late ITR filing charges
  • For gross income above INR 5 lakh, INR 5000 is imposed as a late fee for late filing of ITR

Loss Adjust – If a taxpayer incurs losses in business and investments, they cannot carry the loss forward to the subsequent years if they do not file the return before the ITR filing last date.

Exemptions not Available – A delayed filing of ITR also disallows the taxpayer to avail of any deductions under various income tax sections like 80-IA, 80-IB, 80-IC, 80-ID, 80-IE, 10A, and 10B. A taxpayer can avail of these tax-saving sections only if the individual files the ITR before the deadline.

What is the Process to File a Belated ITR?

Here are some guidelines on filing belated returns under section 139(4). Follow the stepwise guide as mentioned below to file a return after the due date via offline mode:

Online process

  • The first step is to visit the e-filing portal
  • Press ‘e-File’ and go to ‘Income Tax Returns’. Next, click on the ‘File Income Tax Return‘ button
  • Now, select the applicable year of assessment
  • On the page that appears, click on ‘Start new filing’
  • Select the status and the ITR form as applicable
  • Go to the ‘Personal Information’ tab and check for any mistakes in the details
  • Now, select section 139(4) in the filing section
  • Submit your income details as applicable under the source heads.
  • Next, proceed ahead to make the payment of the tax

Missed Returns filing process for FY 2023-24

If taxpayers miss the original deadline for filing an income tax return, which is 31 July 2023, the individual still has the option to file a belated return before 31 December 2024. However, if this ITR deadline is missed too due to any specific reason, you can file a delayed request of condonation to seek condone from the concerned authorities of the income tax department for the delay in filing returns. Here is the process to follow:

You may start by requesting the concerned authority to allow you to file the return by stating the reasons for the missed deadline. Depending on the below criteria, the request can be accepted by the concerned officer:

  • If the request is genuine
  • If the request is as per merits
  • If no one else can assess the income tax as per the IT Act

Important to Note here:

  • If you missed paying tax for FY 2023-24, you can pay it with the applicable interest u/s 234A, 234B, or 234C. The tax must be paid even if you don’t file your IT returns.
  • Issue of Notice – If taxpayers pay income tax on time but fail to file the return, they cannot apply for condonation. In such a case, the IT department may issue a notice u/s 271F, and the taxpayer may be required to pay a fine of up to INR 5,000 for not complying by the deadline. The penalty may be avoided if you give a valid explanation to the officer to satisfy the individual with a valid reason.
  • Legal action can be taken by the IT department against taxpayers for not filing IT returns. They may issue notice against the taxpayer and penalize the taxpayer. In extreme cases, taxpayers may be sentenced to imprisonment.
  • In case any such notice arrives from the IT department, the taxpayer must revert through the portal of ITR e-filing and file the applicable ITR to obey the notice.
  • If a taxpayer doesn’t report the income accurately or under-report income, they may be levied with a tax that is 200% of the payable tax.

If a taxpayer misses ITR filing before the last date, the individual can file an IT return by 31 July of the particular financial year. Hence, if you miss filing the ITR on 31 December 2023, you should file it by 31 July 2024 for the FY 2023-24.

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What happens if a Taxpayer gets a Late ITR Notice?

If taxpayers fail to file a return for more than 2 FYs, they may receive a notice from the IT Department. You may visit the official income tax portal to file the return, print it, and submit the printout to the concerned IT official.

You may note that:

  • Earlier, taxpayers were unable to revise a delayed return. Now, from FY 2016-17, revising belated return is possible
  • The taxpayer cannot carry certain losses forward for the years during which returns were not filed. The only exception is in case of house property losses that a taxpayer can carry forward even in case of filing late returns.

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FAQs: How to File a Belated Income Tax Return after the Due Date?

Can a taxpayer file an ITR after the due date?

Yes, a taxpayer can file an ITR after the due date as a belated return. In this case, the taxpayer will be levied with a late filing fee along with interest.

Which section talks about Belated Return?

Section 139(4) is the income tax section that is associated with filing a belated return.

Is a taxpayer allowed to revise a belated return?

Yes, a taxpayer can revise a belated return. 31 December of a particular assessment year is the income tax return filing, the last date to file a revised return.

Am I required to e-verify the Belated Return?

Yes, it is compulsory to e-verify the -belated income tax return filed u/s 139(4) to complete the return filing process.

Can a belated return be used to claim a tax refund?

Yes, a belated return u/s 139(4) can be used to claim a tax refund. Since the refund is credited directly to your bank account, it is important to pre-validate your bank account to receive the refund.

Can a taxpayer file a return for a previous financial year after the due date without paying any late fee?

No, a taxpayer has to pay the interest and late fees of up to INR 5,000 if the individual is filing for a belated return or an income tax return after the due date, which is on or before 31 December.

Is a penalty imposed while belated return filing?

Yes, a penalty of up to INR 5,000 is imposed for filing a late return u/s 234F. However, for taxpayers with a total income less than INR 5 lakh, an INR 1,000 late filing of the ITR fee will be imposed.

How many attempts to e-file are allowed after rejection?

You can attempt as many times as you want till the deadline of the e-filing to re-submit your e-filed return. However, if you get an error continuously for three attempts, it is better to print and sign the form and mail it to the concerned dept. to rectify.

What was the ITR filing last date for 2023-24 (AY 2024-25)?

31 July 2024 is the last Income tax filing date for FY 2023-24.

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Jan 22, 2024
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