The central government on Friday ruled out the possibility of extending the deadline to file income tax returns (ITRs) beyond December 31, 2021. Revenue Secretary Tarun Bajaj said the deadline stands.
In case a taxpayer misses the deadline, they still have the chance of filing their ITR by March 31, 2022, but with a penalty.
According to the Income Tax (I-T) department, a belated income tax return attracts a late filing fee under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act. The amount of penalty payable by the assessees filing a late return increases based on the degree of delay.
The penalty for filing ITR after the due date is up to Rs 5,000.
Those who have an annual income of Rs 5 lakh, however, are required to pay Rs 1,000 for filing ITR after the due date.
In case an assessee doesn't file ITR at all, he/she will not be able to carry forward the losses of the current assessment year. A penalty may also be levied which is a minimum of 50 percent of the assessed tax or a maximum of 200 percent of the assessed tax. The assessee may have to face prosecution also (i.e. rigorous imprisonment for a term up to 7 years and fine), in extreme and high-value cases.
A person can claim the refund of the excess tax paid/deducted during a financial year by filing an ITR for that year. Also, ITR can be used as proof of income and address.
Generally, taxpayers are required to file ITR by July 31 of any year (unless extended by the government). This year, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had extended the last date for filing ITR to December 31 in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Revenue Secretary Bajaj said returns filed so far are more than those filed in the previous year.
Over 5.36 crore income tax returns for the 2020-21 fiscal have been filed so far, with about 27 lakh filed on Thursday alone, as the compliance deadline neared, the I-T department said.
Apart from filing ITRs, taxpayers were required to complete four other tasks by the last day of the year -- Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account holders must add a nominee, failing which employees will lose on several benefits as only nominated members can withdraw the EPF savings in the event of a subscriber's sudden demise; government retirees must submit their annual life certificate, also known as Jeevan Pramaan Patra, which is critical to continue receiving their pension; the EPFO has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar number with EPF account; and the demat and trading accounts lacking an updated KYC (know-your-customer) will be deactivated if not done by December 31, 2021.
With PTI inputs
(Edited by : Vijay Anand)