The deadline to file the Income Tax Returns for Financial Year 2015-16 and 2016-17 was March 31, 2018. If you have missed the deadline, there is only one last is one last option of filing a delay request with the Income Tax department stating the specific reason for not submitting the documents on time.
The income tax department can allow taxpayers to file returns post the deadline for specific cases. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has issued a circular in this regard where if any taxpayer has tax refund pending or wish to carry forward their losses and missed the deadline of filing of tax returns, then they can file an application to the Income Tax commissioner or the prescribed authority.
The income tax department can accept or reject the application on the basis of certain paramenteres, such as:
a) The claim is correct and genuine
b) Case is based on genuine hardship on merits
c) Income is not assessable in the hands of any other person under the Income Tax Act
d) The refund has arisen as result of excess tax deducted or tax collected at source, advance tax or self-assessment tax.
The time limit to file such application is six years from the end of the assessment year for filing the return. (Assessment year is the year immediately following the financial year). Therefore, for such taxpayers who have missed the deadline of March 31, 2018, can file such application by 31 March 2023 (for FY 2015-16) and 31 March 2024 (for FY 2016-17). In case of belated tax refund, no interest will be paid by the department to you.
The application will have to be disposed by the department within six months from the end of the month in which the application is received as far as possible.
If you have not paid taxes for FYs 2015-16 and 2016-17, then experts advice that one should at least pay all your taxes and interest along with it as applicable under section 234A, 234B or 234C, even if they cannot file the ITR post-March 31, 2018.
If the taxes you are supposed to pay have been cleared but if you have not filed your ITR before March 31, 2018, then you do not have the option to file their ITR now or to apply for condonation of delay. However, the department can issue a notice under section 271F for levying of penalty on non-filing of ITR. The maximum penalty in such a case is Rs 5,000. No penalty will be levied if there is a genuine reason for such non-compliance and if the income tax officer is satisfied with the reasons, adds Soni.
For non-filing of return, the department can take various actions against you. This includes issuing a notice or in the worst case scenario, you might get prosecuted and get a maximum jail term of seven years.