Penalty for Late Filing of Income Tax Return for FY (2019-20)

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Section 234F was introduced in the Income Tax Act relating to the fee for default in filing of the return.

Each Assessment year (A.Y.), the government offers its tax-paying citizen a window of four months i.e., from 1st April to 31st July for the previous year, to consolidate their income data and file their income Tax Return (ITR). Taxpayers filing ITR after the due date need to pay the penalty of late filing.

Due date of Filing Income Tax Return for FY 2019-20

This year due to a worldwide pandemic, the due date of Income Tax Return filing was extended to 10th January 2021 for the FY 2019-20. As a responsible citizen, apart from paying taxes, we must also file our income tax return before the due date or we have to pay the penalty.

Late Filing Fee u/s 234F

In order to ensure the assesses file their income tax return on time, the late fee provision was introduced in 2017, union Budget. Section 234F was therefore introduced in the Income Tax Act relating to the fee for default in filing of the return.

As per the provision under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act, 1961, if the taxpayer files a return beyond the due date, a penalty is levied in the event that as referred to in Section 139(1) of the IT Act. 

In the event where the return is filed before 31st December of the appraisal year, the amount of such penalty entails ₹ 5,000 and will be increased to ₹ 10,000 for filing the return beyond such date.

Furthermore, the late filing fee would be limited to ₹ 1000, where the total income of the taxpayer does not exceed ₹ 5 lakh.

Here is a summarization of penalty or late fee u/s 234F:

E-filing Date Total Income Below ₹ 5,00,000 /- Total Income Above ₹ 5,00,000 /-
up to 31st August 2020₹ 0 /-₹ 0 /-
Between 1st September 2020 to 31st December 20₹ 1, 000 /-₹ 5, 000 /-
Between 1st January 21 to 31st March 21₹ 1, 000 /-₹ 10, 000 /-
As per the provision under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act,1961, if the taxpayer files a return beyond the due date, a penalty is levied in the event that as referred to in Section 139(1) of the IT Act.

What happens if you fail to file your ITR even after the last date?

However, if the last due date for filing ITR for the 2020-2021 assessment year is extended beyond 31 March 2021 and if still, you fail to file your ITR by the due date,  the income tax department may impose a minimum penalty equal to 50 percent of the tax that you might have avoided, in addition to income tax and interest liability till the date on which you eventually file your ITR in response to the notices from Income Tax department.

Many people are never aware, that the government has the power to initiate prosecution against you and put you behind bars if you do not file your ITR.  Where a  minimum sentence of three years imprisonment and a maximum of seven years is prescribed under the present income tax laws. However, It is not like the department will begin litigation against you in each instance of failure to file the ITR. The department of Income Tax can initiate prosecution only if the amount of tax sought to be avoided exceeds
₹ 10,000/-.

File your ITR today with expert help at All India ITR

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