CA Sharad Jain

CA Sharad Jain

Last Date For Filing Of Belated Income Tax Return U/s. 139(4) For Assessment Year 2016-17– Whether 31.03.2017 Or 31.03.2018

Introduction: The due date for filing of Income Tax Return is mentioned in Section 139(1) of the Income Tax Act (hereinafter mentioned as “Act”). As per this section the due date for filing of return for the Assessment Year 2016-17 were 31st July, 2016 and 30th September, 2016 for different types of assesses. Later on, the above due dates of 31st July, 2016 and 30th September, 2016 were extended by the CBDT to 5th August, 2016 and 17th October, 2016.

If the return could not have been filed within the above due dates even then the same can be filed validly as a belated return within the time limit prescribed U/s. 139(4) of the Act.

Last year, the above section 139(4) was amended by the Finance Act, 2016 due to which it is being frequently asked that whether the last date for filing of belated income tax return U/s. 139(4) for the Assessment Year 2016-17 is 31st March, 2017 or 31st March, 2018.

Present Provisions of Section 139(4) (Before amendment) : These are mentioned as under :

(4) Any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under sub-section (1), or within the time allowed under a notice issued under sub-section (1) of section 142, may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier : (emphasis is supplied by me).

According to these provisions, the belated return can be filed within one year from the end of the relevant assessment year (the provisions of “before the completion of the assessment” is not relevant here for present discussion). The assessment year 2016-17 will end on 31st March, 2017. One year from the end of the assessment year (i.e., from 31.03.2017) will expire on 31st March, 2018. Therefore, according to the present provisions (before amendment) of section 139(4), the belated return for the assessment year 2016-17 can be validly filed up to 31st March, 2018.

Amendment In Section 139(4) by Finance Act, 2016 : The above section 139(4) has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016. The amended provisions are mentioned as under :

Following sub-section (4) shall be substituted for the existing sub-section (4) of section 139 by the Finance Act, 2016, w.e.f. 1-4-2017 :

(4) Any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under sub-section (1), may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. (emphasis supplied by me).

Through the above amendment, the time limit for filing of belated return has been reduced by 1 year. Due to this, a belated return can be filed only up to the end of the assessment year. This amendment is effective from 01.04.2017. In the memorandum explaining clauses / notes on clauses it has been specifically mentioned that this amendment is applicable from the Assessment Year 2017-18. Thus, the amended provisions may not be applicable for filing of the belated return of the Assessment Year 2016-17. Therefore, 31st March, 2017 may also not be the last date for filing of belated return for the Assessment Year 2016-17. The last date for the same may be only 31st March, 2018.

An Another Prevailing View : There is an another view prevailing that the above amendments may also be applicable to the filing of returns of Assessment Year 2016-17. Thus, according to this view, the last date for filing of belated return for the Assessment Year 2016-17 may be 31.03.2017 and not 31.03.2018. This view appears to have been generated on the basis that these provisions are applicable from 01.04.2017. When these provisions will be read on 01.04.2017 or later then the straight forward meaning of this section will be that the belated return can be filed only up to the end of the assessment year. Up to that time, the assessment year 2016-17 will become ended. Thus, according to this view, the return for AY 16-17 may not be filed on or after 01.04.2017. In support of this view, there are many articles on the internet on various website. It is also seen that various messages in support of this view are being circulated on social media.

An Analysis of Second View : The second view do not appear to be logical in the present scenario. It is so because with the amendment, merely the effective date of its applicability i.e., 01.04.2017 has not been mentioned but alongwith that the assessment year from which the above amendment shall be applicable has also been specifically mentioned in the Memorandum explaining clauses / notes on clauses. If only the effective date of amendment i.e., 01.04.17 would have been mentioned without any reference to the assessment year from which the amendment will be effective, then in such a situation the second view might have been applicable. But the present situation is completely different as the assessment year from which the amendment shall be applicable has been specifically mentioned.

Apart from the above, it is also considerable that it is seen that many assesses have received reminder from the Income Tax Department for filing the income tax return. These are only for the Assessment Year 2015-16. If the upcoming date of 31st March, 2017 was also the last date for filing of the belated returns for the Assessment Year 2016-17 then the department might had also issued such reminders for the Assessment Year 2016-17 also.

Conclusion : Therefore, logically it may be considered that the above amendment may not applicable for filing of belated returns for the Assessment Year 2016-17. Thus, the last date for filing of belated return for the Assessment Year 2016-17 may be only 31.03.2018 and not 31.03.2017.

However, it is expected that the CBDT should also issue some clarification to give relief to the tax assesses from inconveniences.

Further update on 22.03.2017

CBDT Answer In FAQ :

On Income Tax Department Website www.incometaxindia.gov.in an FAQ has been given. Under that FAQ a question has been answered that “Can a return be filed after the due date? “.

From answer of that question it is clear that the amendments made by the Finance Act, 2016 shall be applicable to the belated returns of Assessment Year 2017-18 and onwards and not to the return of Assessment Year 2016-17. Thus, the last date for filing of belated income tax returns for the Assessment Year 2016-17 shall be 31.03.2018 and not 31.03.2017.

The relevant question and its answer given is mentioned as under :

Can a return be filed after the due date?

Yes, if one could not file the return of income on or before the prescribed due date, then he can file a belated return. A belated return can be filed within a period of one year from the end of the assessment year or before completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. Return filed after the prescribed due date is called as a belated return. However, w.e.f. 01-04-2017, belated income-tax return for the Assessment Year 2017-18 and onwards can be filed at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. A belated return attracts interest and penalty as discussed in previous FAQ.​

E.g., In case of income earned during FY 2015-16, the belated return can be filed up to 31st March, 2018. ​​

NOTE : THE AUTHOR HAS PREPARED HIS OWN VIDEO LECTURE IN HINDI ON THE ABOVE TOPIC. THE LINK FOR VIEWING THE SAME IS :

https://youtu.be/zSmxFBNspgk

Disclaimer: The information contained in the above article are solely for informational purpose after exercising due care. However, it does not constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation. The author do not owns any responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person, directly or indirectly, for any action taken on the basis of the above article.

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20 responses to “Last Date For Filing of Belated Income Tax Return”

  1. Mahendra says:

    Dear sir, can we file ITR for salary person for the AY 2015-16 now?

  2. Naresh says:

    income tax india e filling is also shown three days to go for filling of income tax & wealth tax returns for a.y. 15-16

  3. pvsubrahmanyam says:

    good analysis
    thanks for sharing
    explicit clarification from CBDT would set at rest ambiguity

  4. varsha jadhav says:

    The confusion is avoidable once one understands the difference between procedural amendment & a substantial amendment.

  5. ASHOK KANUNGA says:

    For F.y. 2015-16 return of income can file up to 31 -03-2018,if not possible online then go for offline with condonation of delay application

  6. HANS RAJ AGARWAL says:

    If someone is paying Rs. 5000 per month as a house rent then why only Rs. 24000 are deducted Annually in section 80gg…??

  7. CA Thilagar.M says:

    The issue has been clarified by the dept. in FAQs in the link below:

    incometaxindia.gov.in/Pages/faqs.aspx?k=FAQs%20on%20filing%20the%20return%20of%20income

    It is very clear from the following FAQ:

    Can a return filed after due date?

    Yes, if one could not file the return of income on or before the prescribed due date, then he can file a belated return. A belated return can be filed within a period of one year from the end of the assessment year or before completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. Return filed after the prescribed due date is called as a belated return. However, w.e.f. 01-04-2017, belated income-tax return for the Assessment Year 2017-18 and onwards can be filed at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. A belated return attracts interest and penalty as discussed in previous FAQ.​

    E.g., In case of income earned during FY 2015-16, the belated return can be filed up to 31st March, 2018.

  8. Pravin Sheth says:

    It is quite clear that the return for Asstt.year 2016-17 can be filed by 31.3.2018. The provisions are aplicable for the Return of Income for Assessment Year 2017-18

  9. Prabhakar says:

    The author has analysed and expressed his views perfectly. The logic of CBDT could not be understood. what the grate loss it is going incur by giving one year from the end of asst year. for filing the returns u/s 139 (4). Of course it is collecting the interest u/s 234 A, B,C. the what more it wants. unnecessarily creating tension and confusion in the minds of the assesses and auditors. It is better to drop the idea of latest proposal.

  10. ADVOCATE JASBIR SINGH says:

    valuable views
    thnx

  11. Rajagopalan S says:

    Thanks for your analysis. I concur with your views for AY 2016-17.

  12. CA ANIL SAINI says:

    Sir,
    Please provide information last dates of A-Y
    2015 -16 TO 2017-18.If any penalty would be pay by assesses.
    With regards

  13. Pankaj Garg says:

    Correct View. Even effective date 01.04.2017 means assessment year starting from 01.04.2017 i.e. 2017-18.

  14. Mallikarjun says:

    It is highly risky to take a liberal view. It is still green in our memory how people throughout the country approached various high courts for extending the due date for tax audit for the Asst Yr 2015-16; eventually, the dept announced the extension of due date after the expiry of the due date itself !!!

  15. Satchin says:

    Sir, Pls any one share me what is the last date for prev. AY15-16 and AY16-17.If any penalty would be pay by assesses. Adv. Thanks

  16. Sujit Kumar Das says:

    A simple amendment has an ambiguity what should not be. CBDT should take care or should discuss with the professional before doing any amendment.

  17. CA Manan M. Raithatha says:

    I think this is the correct view

  18. KAPIL KUMAR .V says:

    Sir pls
    we required Up information last dates of A-Y
    2015 -16 TO 2017-18

  19. Senthil says:

    Thanks for your valuable analysis and conclusion.

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