How to File a Late Tax Return and Protect your Refunds?

How to File a Late Tax Return and Protect your Refunds?


A tax return is one or more forms submitted to a taxing body that include earnings, outlays, and other crucial tax data. Tax returns give taxpayers the option to determine their tax liability, plan out their tax payments, or ask for refunds for any taxes they have paid more than what is required. For an individual or business having a reportable income, such as wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, or other earnings, tax returns must typically be filed annually. 

 What happens if a Late Tax Return is filed?

According to section 139(4) of the income tax, a person may file a belated return if they fail to submit their income tax return by the deadline. According to the modified guidelines under section 234F of the Income Tax Act, submitting your ITR after the due date may subject you to a maximum penalty of Rs. 5,000. The maximum fine for filing a return late has been decreased by the income tax department from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 5,000 starting with the Financial Year 2021.

The penalty cap will rise to Rs. 5,000 for returns submitted after December 31, 2021. To the relief of small taxpayers, the IT department has announced that the maximum penalty for delay would only be Rs 1000 if your total income is less than Rs 5 lakh.

How to File a Late Tax Return?

According to the Finance Act 2016 Amendment, ITR shall be filed within the end of the relevant assessment year. Once the due date of filing ITR has passed, there is no provision to file the return.

In select limited circumstances, the income tax department permits taxpayers to submit returns after the deadline, upon submission of condonation of delay in the ways listed below:

1.    Declare your explanation for missing the deadline and ask the Income Tax Commissioner or the appropriate authority for permission to file income tax returns.

The following standards will determine whether the officer grants your request:

  • That claim is correct and genuine

  • The merits of the case are genuine

  • That excess tax deduction, TDS has led to a refund

2.    For such late returns, the application can be filed within 6 years from the passing of the due date of assessment.

3.    The late ITR must be filed along with applicable interest under sections 234A, 234B, or 234C.

4.    It is possible that you paid your taxes on time but missed filing returns. You are not permitted to file tax returns or get a condonation of delay in this situation. If an ITR is not filed, the income tax department may issue a notice under Section 271F. If you miss the deadline, you could be charged a fine of up to 5,000 rupees. You might not be required to pay the penalty if you have a valid justification for not filing and the officer is satisfied with it.

5.    Legal action can be taken for not filing returns. Income Tax Department can issue a notice or penalize the defaulter, he may even be persecuted.

6.    If any notice is received then that may be compiled by filing ITR in response to that notice on the e-filing Portal.

7.    A penalty of up to 200 percent of the tax due will be assessed if you underreported your income. The assessing officer may waive the penalty if the taxpayer underreported his income but paid taxes with interest after the deadline. In this situation, no penalty will be assessed against the taxpayer. It is advised to file returns by July 31 of the relevant assessment year, while there is an option if you forget to file your ITR by the deadline.

How Can Refunds be Protected?

ITR refunds can be protected by claiming them on time. Tac refund is reimbursement to taxpayers when he pays tax in excess in the given financial year than the final assessed liability. A refund is possible upon payment of advance tax or TDS deductions.

The following list enumerates the eligibility criteria for tax refund:-

  • When tax paid exceeds 100% of actual liabilities for that financial year.

  • When Tds payment is more than final tax liability after regular assessment.

  • At when last moment tax-saving investment is made.

  • When double tax is paid in income in some foreign country.

  • When excess tax is paid due to some err assessment.

The refund can be claimed by filing a correct income tax return before the due date. Form 26AS must be checked for total advance payments. After filing, if the balance of advance tax under form 26As is more than a final liability and the officer is satisfied, he may approve a tax refund. The claim for a refund can be made within 12 months after the end of the relevant assessment year.


Filing ITR helps individuals in their fiscal matters, and also helps the nation develop in the best way. Therefore ITR shall be filed by every eligible individual on time as it improves credit worthiness. Refunding the excess tax filed by any individual is a way to encourage and protect the public to file taxes without the tension of any hefty. A tax refund can be made more secure from fraud and theft by making a refund protection program as other countries did.

eStartIndia will help you to file your Income Tax Return from the comfort of your home.

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Falguni Vashishtha
Myself Falguni Vashishtha. I hail from Ayodhya. I am a post graduate lawyer with specialization in business laws.

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