Belated Return u/s 139(4)

Ever had that “uh-oh” moment when the tax filing deadline slipped your mind. Cue the panic mode, right? But hey, take a deep breath because there’s a silver lining.
If you miss filing your ITR within the original deadline, then you can file a late return, known as Belated Return u/s 139(4) of the Income Tax Act.

1. What is a Belated Return u/s 139(4)?

In simple terms, if you miss the original deadline to file your tax return, you can still catch up by filing a belated return under Section 139(4). It’s like getting a second chance to make things right with the Income Tax Department.

2. The Timing Tango

But, wait! Don’t take your sweet time about it. According to the Finance Act 2021 amendment, you can file a belated return anytime on or before three months before the end of the relevant Assessment Year (AY). For Example, for the AY 2023-24, the timeline to file a belated return is on or before 31 December 2023.

3. Consequences of filing a belated return

  1. Penalty u/s 234F: Here’s the catch: while you can file a belated return, there is be a price to pay. If you owe taxes considering your income is more than 2.5 lakhs and file late, be ready to pay late filing fees. But hey, it’s better than not filing at all, right?
Income Late Fees (in ₹)
Gross Total Income upto ₹2.5 lakhs 0
Gross Total Income exceeds ₹2.5 lakhs but Total income ≤ ₹5 lakhs 1,000
Total Income exceeds ₹5 lakhs 5,000

You are also liable to pay simple interest at 1% per month or part of a month for delay in filing ITR u/s 234A. The calculation of interest will be from the date after the due date until the actual date of filing.

Let’s understand with an example.
Neeraj has the following financial situation for FY 2022-23.
Salary = 7 lakhs
IFOS = 50,000
Gross Total Income = 7.5 lakhs
Chapter VI- A Deductions = 2.5 lakhs
Total Income = 5 lakhs
Penalty u/s 234F = 1,000

  1. Certain losses cannot be carried forward

Remember that losses can’t be carried forward if you file a belated return, except for loss from house property.

  1. Cannot opt for the new regime u/s 115 BAC

While filing a belated return, switching to New Tax Regime won’t be possible. However. if you have already opted for the new tax regime, you can continue to opt for the same.

So, here’s the takeaway: while filing on time is the smoothest path, Section 139(4) gives you a backup route. Just remember, it’s not a golden ticket to disregard deadlines. If you’ve missed the mark, gear up, and file your belated return.

Read more about Sec 139(4): Belated Return under Income Tax - Learn by Quicko

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