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DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

Last updated on: August 12, 2013 17:39 IST

DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

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Prasanna D Zore

Surprised? Don't be for you still have time till March 31, 2014 to file your income tax return for the financial year 2012-13.

Sunidhi Gupta has still not got her Form 16.

Form 16, for the uninitiated, is a piece of paper that lists your income earned under heads like basic salary, conveyance, special allowance etc in a financial year (which starts April 1 of every year and ends on March 31 of the succeeding year), taxes deducted directly by your company after every three months and paid to the IT department, investments made by you under Section 80C to claim tax deductions up to Rs 1 lakh and either a listing of tax amount you still need to pay to the IT department or refund from the them to you in case you have paid more tax than was due to you.

Scared? Then count Sunidhi as one of you because since she hasn't got her Form 16 yet she hasn't filed her tax return and the last day for filing tax returns, July 31, 2013, has all but passed almost 12 days ago. All right, the government did extend the last date of filing returns to August 5, 2013 but then Sunidhi still couldn't make it.

Are you sailing in Sunidhi's boat too?

For whatever reasons, you too, have not yet filed your tax returns for the financial year 2012-13 which ended on March 31, 2013?

Scared? Don't be, for there is still hope, guys. Here is what you must know.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

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For those who missed the July 31 and then the August 5 deadline for filing returns, you have time till March 31, 2014. Yes, you read that right! March 31, 2014!

But you will have to pay a price for filing delayed returns.

The IT department will charge you a penal interest of one per cent for every month more you take to do the needful. "Under Section 234 (A) of IT Act, the IT department charges a penal interest of one per cent every month for delayed filing and not allowing the government to assess your income in time," says Mahesh Padmanabhan of RelaxWithTax, a tax consultant.

Without diving deeper into how much this penalty could be, suffice it to know that this penalty will be only on the tax amount that is due to you. "That is, if your tax due is Rs 15,000, the interest penalty charged to you will be Rs 150 (one per cent of Rs 15,000) if you file your return by say by August end, a month i.e. after the deadline of August 5, 2013," informs Mahesh.

In effect, instead of Rs 15,000, you will be paying Rs 15,150 as tax.

In case you delay it for another one month, the penal interest will be Rs 300. In short, for every single month that you delay filing your return, keep adding Rs 150 to the total amount you shell out.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

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Now, for those super lazy among us please note that you need not bother even if you miss the March 31, 2014 deadline. You will still have time to file your income tax return till March 31, 2015.

Income tax provisions allow taxpayers to file their tax returns for two years even after the end of a financial year. Like, for the financial year ended March 31, 2013 you can file returns up to March 31, 2015.

In case you miss this date too, then technically your case gets time-barred and you cannot file your return.

Yes, you read that right! March 31, 2015!

But then the costs get higher.

What are these costs?


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
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DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

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For one, if you file your tax return after March 31, 2014 then you will have to cough out Rs 5,000 flat as penalty, in addition to penal interest of one per cent on tax amount due," says Padmanabhan of RelaxWithTax.

But wait. Your cup of woes is not over yet.

Also, in case you make any mistake while filing your ITR form, you are doomed. "You don't get a second chance. There is no recourse to revise you tax filing in case you miss the deadline," informs Padmanabhan. Those who filed their returns before the designated due date get this privilege, though.

So, to avoid many such complications that could come your way in such a scenario, you will be better off to guard against any mistake while filing a delayed return. If need be, such people could take help from friends who understand the process or seek expert help lest all their efforts go in vain.

Still, your cup of woes is not over. There's more.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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DON'T WORRY: YOU can still file your income tax returns!

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Suppose, you have made some trading losses or made losses on capital (for example, you have sold a house for a loss in the financial year 2012-13) and suppose you make a capital gain of Rs 15,000 in the current financial year (which began April 1, 2013 and will end on March 31, 2014) but have failed to file your tax return by the deadline of August 5, 2013.

In this case, you lose the right to offset your loss against capital gains that you are making in the financial year 2013-14.

For instance, if you make a trading or capital loss of Rs 15,000 in the financial year 2012-13 and make a capital gain of Rs 15,000 in the financial year 2013-14, then you cannot offset this gain against the trading loss you made in 2012-13.

In effect, had you filed your tax return by the deadline of August 5, 2013 then your capital loss of Rs 15,000 in the financial year 2012-13 could have been carried forward and offset against the potential gain of Rs 15,000 you are supposedly making in the current financial year, resulting in no tax outgo on the capital gain made in 2013-14.

So, to save your money and the ensuing trouble, go file your tax returns NOW!

NOTE: In case, you want to brush up on your tax gyaan on delayed filing of tax returns again take our quiz on Wednesday, August 14, based on this feature.


Photographs: Uttam Ghosh and Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

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