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Overcome Tax Filing Procrastination: How to Submit a Belated Income Tax Return

So, you missed the boat on the July 31 deadline for filing your Income Tax Return (ITR). It happens. Life gets busy, deadlines slip by, and suddenly, you find yourself in need of a lifeline. But fear not! You still have a shot at tax redemption through the avenue of a belated ITR.

But first, let’s demystify what exactly a belated ITR entails. Essentially, it's your ticket to the tax game after the buzzer has sounded. Picture this: you missed the initial filing deadline, and now you’re running a bit behind schedule. No worries, you can still enter the race, albeit with a small late filing fee of Rs 5,000 (or Rs 1,000 if your total taxable income falls below Rs 5 lakh).

According to the wisdom of Dr. Suresh Surana, the visionary behind RSM India, the process of preparing and filing a belated ITR is akin to its timely counterpart. However, there’s a subtle twist: when submitting your original ITR, you opt for ‘return filed under section 139(1)’ of the Income-tax Act, 1961, whereas, for the belated version, you pivot to ‘return filed under section 139(4).’

Now, before you dive into the labyrinth of belated tax filings, there’s a small matter of housekeeping to attend to. You’ll need to grease the wheels with the specified late filing fee before embarking on your filing odyssey. This fee finds its home under ‘Fee for default in furnishing return of income (section 234F),’ snugly nestled within ‘Part B – TTI – COMPUTATION OF TAX LIABILITY ON TOTAL INCOME’ of your belated ITR. And don’t forget to dot your i’s and cross your t’s by furnishing payment challan details in ‘SCHEDULE IT.’

But wait, there’s more! Filing a belated ITR may come with a side order of interest under section 234A of the IT Act. Brace yourself for a 1% simple interest per month (or part thereof) for the delay in furnishing your return.

Now, let’s map out your journey through the labyrinth:

Step 1: Navigate to the IT website using your trusty credentials.
Step 2: Once inside, make a beeline for the ‘File Returns’ tab. A belated return is your go-to when the original due date has slipped through your fingers.
Step 3: For the Financial Year (FY) 2022-23, your destination is the Assessment Year 2023-24. Choose wisely.
Step 4: Select the appropriate return type based on your income channels – think ITR-1, ITR-2, and so forth.
Step 5: Populate your personal particulars, but don’t forget to swing by the filing section and pick option ‘139(4): Belated Return Filed After Due Date.’ It’s your golden ticket.
Step 6: Serve up your income-related details as requested in the return form.
Step 7: Time to accessorize! Upload any supporting documents, like Form 16, TDS certificates, and investment proofs, following the prescribed guidelines.
Step 8: Before you hit ‘submit,’ run a meticulous eye over all entered details to ensure they pass muster.
Step 9: Finally, take a deep breath and hit that submit button. Your belated return is officially on its way.

According to the sage counsel of Raghuram Trikutam, the mastermind behind Descrypt, timing is everything when it comes to belated returns. File before December 31 of the assessment year, and you’re looking at a penalty cap of Rs 5,000. But dally beyond that, and you might find yourself facing a steeper penalty of Rs 10,000.

So, there you have it – a roadmap to tax redemption. With a little perseverance and the right guidance, you can turn your tax woes into a thing of the past. Seize the day and file that belated ITR today!

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