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Income Tax: Here's the penalty you will have to pay if you don't file returns by December 31

Income Tax: Here's the penalty you will have to pay if you don't file returns by December 31
Taxpayers including individuals whose gross total income is above Rs 2,50,000 (aged below 60 years), Rs 3,00,000 (aged above 60 years but below 80) and Rs 5,00,000 (aged above 80 years), HUFs, businesses (not subject to audit under any law) are compulsorily required to file their return of taxes under Indian Income Tax Act.
Companies (subject to audit under any law) are also required to file their income tax returns. The due date to file the returns is July 31 of the assessment year for taxpayers except for the companies, who need to get their income audited is September 30. The due dates are subject to changes notified by the tax department.
In financial year 2017-18, the due date for the taxpayers who are not required to get their accounts audited under any laws was extended to August 31 from July 31. Similarly, the deadline to file the income tax return by taxpayers subject to audit under any law was extended earlier to October 15 and then to October 31 from September 30.
A new section 234F came into effect from FY 2018-19. This section speaks about the penalty to be levied on the assessees filing their return of taxes late. A penalty of Rs 5000 applies when the return is filed after the due date but before December 31 . For the returns filed after December 31, the penalty is increased to Rs 10,000. However, the maximum penalty levied on the small taxpayers, whose gross total income is less than Rs 5 lakh, will be Rs 1,000 only.
It is important to file your return now, even though it is past the due date. You can still claim refunds of your excess taxes paid, you can claim your ITR as an income proof for visa applications and loans. The acknowledgement of the income tax return will serve as a document proof for high insurance cover. The insurance companies will provide you with a high insurance cover only if your gross total income as per income tax return is high. It is also recommended to file your ITR even though belated and communicate your annual income to tax authorities to avoid any notices from the tax department.
Archit Gupta is founder and CEO, Cleartax
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