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Introduction: Section 139(8A) of the Income Tax Act provides taxpayers with the option to file an updated return of income within a specified timeframe. This provision allows individuals to rectify errors or update information pertaining to their income tax returns for a particular assessment year. However, certain conditions and restrictions apply to the filing of updated returns under this section.

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 61, 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

Section 139(8A)- Updated Return (ITR-U) FAQs

(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.

Q & A

Q.1 I missed filing ITR for FY 2020-21, whether I can file updated return under sec 139(8A)?

Ans. Yes, Sec 139(8A) allows you to file the return of income within 24 months from the end of relevant AY. In the present case relevant AY is 2021-22. Therefore, Due date to file updated return for the FY 2020-21 is 24 months from the end of AY 2021-22 i.e., 31-03-2024.

Q.2 Can we file updated return in case of loss?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow if the return of income is a loss.

Q.3 I have already filed my return of income and now I want to file updated return which results into decreasing the total tax liability declared in my previous return, does it allow?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow if the updated return results into decrease of tax liability declared in the return already filed.

Q.4 I have already filed a return and claimed refund of Rs. 50,000 and now I want to file an updated return which results in increase of refund to Rs. 70,000. Is it possible?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow if the updated return results into increase in refund determined in the return already filed.

Q.5 I have a genuine refund in the preceding FY and I have not filed my ITR. Is it possible to file an updated return and get refund?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow if the updated return results into refund.

Q.6 Can I file an updated return under sec 139(8A) if search is initiated or survey is conducted or requisition is made under relevant sections 132, 132A, 133A of Income Tax Act 1961?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow if search is initiated or survey is conducted or requisition is made under relevant sections 132, 132A, 133A of Income Tax Act 1961.

Q.7 Can I file updated return for any FY under sec 139(8A) for more than one time?

Ans. No, Sec 139(8A) does not allow for the second time to file an updated return if the updated return has already filed for the same FY.

Q.8 Can I file updated for the FY of which any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or re-computation or revision of income under this Act is pending?

Ans. No, it is not allowed to file an updated return for any FY of which any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or re-computation or revision of income under this Act is pending.

Q.9 Can I file updated for the FY of which any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or re-computation or revision of income under this Act is completed?

Ans. No, it is not allowed to file an updated return for any FY of which any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or re-computation or revision of income under this Act is completed.

Q.10 I’m the assessee and AO is in possession of my information relating to one particular FY. Such information triggers adverse remarks against me in connection with provisions of

a) Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976

b) Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988

c) Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002

d) Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 and the and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of furnishing of return under sec 139(8A). In this scenario can I file an updated return for the particular FY?

Ans. No, you are not allowed to file an updated return in the above scenario.

Q.11 Information for the relevant assessment year has been received under an agreement referred to in section 90 or section 90A (these are the sections relating to DTAA) in respect of such person and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of furnishing of return under sec 139(8A). In this scenario can I file an updated return for the particular FY?

A. No, you are not allowed to file an updated return in the above scenario.

Q.12 Any prosecution proceedings under the Chapter XXII (Tax evasion penalties) have been initiated for the relevant assessment year in respect of such person, prior to the date of furnishing of return under sec 139(8A). In this scenario can I file an updated return for the particular FY?

Ans. No, you are not allowed to file an updated return in the above scenario.

Q.13 I have filed my ITR which has loss within the due date prescribed under sec 139(1) of income tax act 1961 (Due date for Audit case or non-audit case), I have reported my loss and carry forwarded to the next FY but later I found it is a profit and should I be able to file updated return u/s 139(8A) to report correctly?

Ans. Yes, you can file an updated return in the above scenario

Q.14 As a result of updated return, any reduction of loss or un absorbed depreciation or tax credit carry forwarded for the next years. Do I required to file updated returns for such FYs?

Ans. Yes, you are required to file.

Q.15 Tax rates for filing ITR-U [updated return u/s 139(8A)]

Ans.

ITR-U filed within Additional Tax
12 months from the end of relevant AY 25% of additional tax + interest + late filing fee
24 months from the end of relevant AY 50%  of additional tax + interest + late filing fee

Q.16 Due dates to file ITR-U for FY 2020-21, FY 2021-22, FY 2022-23

Ans.

ITR-U for FY Due Date
FY 2020-21 31-03-2024
FY 2021-22 31-03-2025
FY 2022-23 31-03-2026

Conclusion: Understanding Section 139(8A) of the Income Tax Act is crucial for taxpayers seeking to rectify errors or update information in their income tax returns. While this provision offers flexibility in filing updated returns, it is essential to adhere to the specified conditions and timelines outlined under the law. By providing clarity on eligibility criteria, restrictions, and frequently asked questions, taxpayers can effectively navigate the process of filing updated returns under Section 139(8A) and ensure compliance with income tax regulations.

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