I-T Dept sets 31 March deadline for filing tax returns

The Income tax department has prescribed the last day of March of the assessment year as the last date for filing all I-T returns, beyond which the assessee  will have to pay a penalty.

The department's move to make it mandatory for tax payers to file I-T returns as well as revised returns by end of March of the assessment year (AY) is aimed at expediting the process of tax assessments.

In the memorandum to the Finance Bill 2017, the I-T Department has proposed a fee for delayed filing of income tax returns.

In case of people whose total income does not exceed Rs5 lakh, Rs1,000 fee would be charged.

If the income exceeds Rs5 lakh, a fee of Rs5,000 shall be payable if the return is filed after July but on or before 31 December of the Assessment Year (AY). A fee of Rs10,000 shall be payable if ITR is filed after December.

"In order to expedite assessments of the Department, it is critical that the returns for an assessment year also freeze by the end of the assessment year. It is hence proposed to amend the provisions of sub-section (5) of section 139 to provide that the time for furnishing of revised return shall be available up to the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier," said the memorandum to the Finance Bill 2017.

This effectively means that people filing income tax returns have to file it with the department by end of March of the assessment year, ie, return for fiscal 2017-18 has to be filed latest by March 2019.

CBDT chairperson Sushil Chandra said: "Today we have 1 crore people below Rs 2.5 lakh income filing tax returns. So if they are filing ITR, we want them to file returns on time. So now timely filing of ITR is mandatory."

So far assesses were permitted to file delayed income tax returns one year after the completion of the assessment year.