While in a usual scenario for tax assessees that are not required to be audited, the due date to file ITR is July 31 of the year following the financial year for which the ITR is to be filed. Say if the ITR is to be filed for fiscal year 2019-20, the due date to file ITR for aforementioned assessees is July 31, 2021.
But amid Covid 19 scenario, the department of Income tax provided relaxation and extended the due date to file ITR for FY 2019-20 several times to now December 31, 2020, notably earlier it was extended to November 30, 2020.
And currently as there is increasing demand to extend the due date to file ITR for FY 2019-20 and experts also view that not everyone will be able to file ITR by the due date, you might have to shell out a penalty or late fee of up to Rs. 10000. But in a case if your income is below taxable limit, even if you file your ITR after the due date i.e. on January 1 or after that you will not be charged the penal amount.
Late ITR filing fees charged if the ITR filing is not done by the due date:
1. If the ITR is filed after the deadline but on or before December 31 of the relevant assessment year, a penalty of Rs. 5000 is payable. This is not true for ITR filing for FY 2019-20 as the due date has been extended to December 31, 2020.
2. And if the ITR is filed after December 31 but before the end of the relevant assessment year i.e. before March 31 (in the current case before March 31, 2021), a penalty of Rs. 10000 is charged.
3. In a case if the total income of the assessee is not over Rs. 5 lakh in a year, a maximum penalty charged to him or her for delay in filing of ITR is Rs. 1000. In a case if there is tax evasion of more than Rs. 25 lakh then the punishment could be imprisonment for 6 months to 7 years, as per the website of the Income Tax Department.
Nonetheless, this penalty or late filing fee will only be applicable if taxpayer's net total income (i.e. income after claiming eligible deductions and tax exemptions) exceeds Rs 5 lakh in the financial year.
Belated ITR filing for FY 2019-20 to attract double the penalty in comparison to last year
Also, another point worth mentioning here is that if you miss the ITR filing deadline this time you will be charged double the penalty in comparison to last year's when the penalty for belated return filing within a few months of missing the due date was only Rs. 5000.
Penalty provision for belated return filing introduced from AY 2018-19
It is to be noted that until Assessment year 2017-18, there was no penalty for belated income tax return filing. However via the new section 234F introduced in the Income Tax Act, 1961, penal provision became applicable from AY 2018-19.