The income tax department has been issuing advertisements asking taxpayers who have not filed their ITR for FY 2017-18 that ended on March 31, 2018 to do so before December 31, 2018. After this date the taxpayer will have to pay double the penalty for late filing of ITR i.e. Rs. 10,000. If the ITR is filed before December 31, 2018, penalty implication will be as much as Rs. 5000.
From the assessment year 2018-19, there will be a late filing fee for returns filed after the due date. Assessment year is the financial year following the previous financial year for which the ITR has to be filed. So, for the financial year 2017-18, income tax return will be filed in the assessment year 2018-19. The extended due date for filing ITR for FY 2017-18 was August 31, 2018 barring Kerala assessees.
Earlier the late filing fee in respect of belated ITR was levied at the sole discretion of the assessing officer. But with an amendment made in the Budget 2017, a new section has been included in the Income tax Act i.e. Section 234 F which says that an individual who files the ITR after the due date (belated return) will be levied with a maximum late filing fee of Rs. 10,000. And the late fee amount will be levied in accordance with the period of delay in ITR filing.
Following are the stipulations in this regard:
1. A late filing fee of Rs. 5000 is payable if the ITR is filed after the due date but on or before December 31st of the relevant assessment year (for the FY 2017-18 it is December 31, 2018)
2. Fee will be Rs. 10,000 in case the ITR is filed between January 1 and March 31 of the respective assessment year ( in this case January 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019)
For taxpayers whose income is up to Rs. 5 lakh in a financial year, the penalty amount is capped at Rs. 1000 for belated filing of ITR up till March 31, 2019.
Also, if there is unpaid tax liability, taxpayer has an obligation to pay that amount plus interest on it. The income tax department levies interest at the rate of 1% per month if tax amount remains unpaid within the due dates as per Section 234A. And the calculation of interest payable is done from the ITR filing due date till the date ITR is filed.