“Unlock the secrets of filing Income Tax Returns for the last 3 years. Understand Section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Explore the opportunity provided by Section 139 (8A) to file pending ITRs. Know the limitations and exclusions. Get answers to FAQs about filing updated tax returns. Stay informed to avoid penalties and financial consequences. Source: Income Tax Act, 1961.”

Financial year has been closed and again ITR Filing season is going to start soon. Section 139 of Income Tax Act, 1961 governs the provisions related to income tax returns. This section prescribes who is required to mandatorily file their Income Tax Returns. In India, in case of individual in normal circumstances 31st July is the last date to File ITR. ​ITR stands for Income Tax Return. It is a prescribed form through which the particulars of income earned by a person in a financial year and taxes paid on such income are communicated to the Income-tax Department. It also allows carry -forward of loss and claim refund from income tax department.

In India, out of huge population, a limited number of Income Tax returns are filed by Indians. However, in past 3-4 years, number of peoples who has started filing ITR has been increased but still it is not very high. Now, income tax department had started using Artificial intelligence to track non ITR Filers and tax evaders. Many peoples who are earning handsome money but due to ignorance of law do not file their ITR. As and when they realize the need and mandatory requirement of Filing ITR, they tries to file as maximum returns as possible to save their skins from income tax department and save their taxes and avoid penalties.

Here, income tax department has given opportunity to such kind of people to file their pending ITR before the time; they are caught by income tax department. Section 139 (8A) gives an opportunity to assessee to file their pending ITR. With the help of this section, you can file your for last year’s ITR but it has some limitations which we will discuss later. When filing of this year ITR is started then after filing current year ITR, you have track record of filing ITR of 3 years. For better understanding of Section 139 (8A), extract of this section is given below:

139 (8A) Any person, whether or not he has furnished a return under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) or sub-section (5), for an assessment year (herein referred to as the relevant assessment year), may furnish an updated return of his income or the income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act, for the previous year relevant to such assessment year, in the prescribed form, verified in such manner and setting forth such particulars as may be prescribed, at any time within twenty-four months from the end of the relevant assessment year:

Provided that the provision of this sub-section shall not apply, if the updated return,—

(a) is a return of a loss; or

(b) has the effect of decreasing the total tax liability determined on the basis of return furnished under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) or sub-section (5); or

(c) results in refund or increases the refund due on the basis of return furnished under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) or sub-section (5),

of such person under this Act for the relevant assessment year:

Provided further that a person shall not be eligible to furnish an updated return under this sub-section, where

(a) a search has been initiated under section 132 or books of account or other documents or any assets are requisitioned under section 132A in the case of such person; or

(b) a survey has been conducted under section 133A, other than sub-section (2A) of that section, in the case of such person; or

(c) a notice has been issued to the effect that any money, bullion, jewellery or valuable article or thing, seized or requisitioned under section 132 or section 132A in the case of any other person belongs to such person; or

(d) a notice has been issued to the effect that any books of account or documents, seized or requisitioned under section 132 or section 132A in the case of any other person, pertain or pertains to, or any other information contained therein, relate to, such person,

for the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which such search is initiated or survey is conducted or requisition is made and any assessment year preceding such assessment year:

Provided also that no updated return shall be furnished by any person for the relevant assessment year, where

(a) an updated return has been furnished by him under this sub-section for the relevant assessment year; or

(b) any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or recomputation or revision of income under this Act is pending or has been completed for the relevant assessment year in his case; or

(c) the Assessing Officer has information in respect of such person for the relevant assessment year in his possession under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976 (13 of 1976) or the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 (45 of 1988) or the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 (15 of 2003) or the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 (22 of 2015) and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of furnishing of return under this sub-section; or

(d) information for the relevant assessment year has been received under an agreement referred to in section 90 or section 90A in respect of such person and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of furnishing of return under this sub-section; or

(e) any prosecution proceedings under the Chapter XXII have been initiated for the relevant assessment year in respect of such person, prior to the date of furnishing of return under this sub-section; or

(f) he is such person or belongs to such class of persons, as may be notified by the Board in this regard:

Provided also that if any person has sustained a loss in any previous year and has furnished a return of loss in the prescribed form within the time allowed under sub-section (1) and verified in the prescribed manner and containing such other particulars as may be prescribed, he shall be allowed to furnish an updated return where such updated return is a return of income:

Provided also that if the loss or any part thereof carried forward under Chapter VI or unabsorbed depreciation carried forward under sub-section (2) of section 32 or tax credit carried forward under section 115JAA or under section 115JD is to be reduced for any subsequent previous year as a result of furnishing of return of income under this sub-section for a previous year, an updated return shall be furnished for each such subsequent previous year.]

Above are the some limitations where a person cannot file their updated ITR. Below are some FAQ related to Income tax return Filing U/s 139 (8A).

Can I file an updated tax return for a previous year if I haven’t filed a return for that year and I have not received any income tax notice from department?

Yes, you can file an updated return for a previous year even if you haven’t filed a return for that year, within 24 months from the end of the relevant assessment year.

When can’t I file an updated tax return for a previous year?

You can’t file an updated return if it is a return of loss, has the effect of decreasing your total tax liability or results in a refund or increases the refund due on the basis of your original return. Additionally, you can’t file an updated return if a search or survey has been initiated, or if any assets or documents have been seized or requisitioned under certain sections of the Act as mentioned above.

Can I file an updated tax return if I have ongoing assessment or reassessment proceedings?

No, you cannot file an updated return if there are ongoing assessment, reassessment, recomputation or revision of income proceedings for the relevant assessment year in your case

Can I file an updated tax return if I have already filed a return of loss for a previous year?

Yes, if you have already filed a return of loss for a previous year, you can file an updated return if it is a return of income.

Whether I have to pay any taxes, late fee, penalty, if I file an updated return?

Reply of this question depends on many factors like you are filing an updated return for first time or you are updating a return that you have filed earlier. If the updated return results in an increase in your tax liability, you may be required to pay additional taxes along with interest under the provisions of the Income Tax Act. It is better to contact your Tax Professional because there are many factors to take care while filing updated return.

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Disclaimer: This article is for the purpose of information and shall not be treated as solicitation in any manner and for any other purpose whatsoever. It shall not be used as legal opinion and not to be used for rendering any professional advice. This article is written on the basis of author’s personal experience and provision applicable as on date of writing of this article. Adequate attention has been given to avoid any clerical/arithmetical error, however; if it still persists kindly intimate us to avoid such error for the benefits of others readers. The Author “CA. Shiv Kumar Sharma” can be reached at mail –shivsharma786@gmail.com and Mobile/WhatsApp–9911303737.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA
Company: Shiv Kumar Sharma & Associates
Location: Delhi, Delhi, India
Member Since: 03 Dec 2018 | Total Posts: 116
My Self CA. Shiv Kumar Sharma. I am a member of "The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India" since 2012. Currently, I am in Practice and dealing in Direct and Indirect taxation along with ROC Compliances. I am writing Articles for Taxguru.in, casansaar.com and in the expert panel of ca View Full Profile

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