Filing of Income Tax Returns


If a person is enjoying any of the following items, he/she has to file his/her return.

  1. Occupation of a House
  2. Ownership of a motor car
  3. Expenditure on foreign travel
  4. Holder of credit card
  5. Electricity payments above Rs 50,000/annum
  6. Member of a club – where the entrance fee is more than Rs 25,000/-.

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The assessee is obliged to voluntarily file the return of income without waiting for the notice of the assessing officer calling for the filing of the return. The time limit for filing of the return by an assessee if his total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax shall be as follows:

  1. Where the assessee is a company on the 30th day of November of the assessment year
  2. Where an assessee is a person, other than a company.
  3.  Where the account of the assessee is required to be audited under the income tax act or any other law, or in cases where the report of the Chartered Accountant is required to be furnished under sections 80HHC or 80HHD i.e. for the deduction in respect of profits retained in export business and also in respect of earnings in convertible foreign exchange, or in case of a cooperative society, the 31st day of October of the assessment year
  4. Where the total income includes any income from the business or profession, not being a case falling under sub-clause (I) the 31st day of August for the assessment year
  5. In any other case, the 30th day of June of the assessment year

The requirements of the Income-tax Act making it obligatory for the assessee to file a return of his total income apply equally even in cases where the assessee has incurred a loss under the head profit and gains from business and profession’ or under the head ‘capital gains’ or maintenance of racehorses. Unless the assessee files a return of loss in the manner and within the same time limits as required for a return of income or by the 31st day of July of the assessment relevant to the previous year during which the loss was sustained, the assessee would not be entitled to carry forward the loss for being set off against income in the subsequent year.

Late Return

Any person who has not filed the return within the time allowed may be file a belated return at any time before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. However, in case of returns relating to the assessment year 1988-89 or any other assessment year, the period allowable is two years.

Revised Return

An assessee who is required to file a return of income is entitled to revise the return of income originally filed by him to make such amendments, additions, or changes as may be found necessary by him. Such a revised return may be filed by the assessee at any time before the assessment is made. There is no limit under the income tax Act in respect of the number of times for which the return of income may be revised by the assessee. However, if a person deliberately files a false return he will be liable to be imprisoned under section 277 and the offense will not be condoned by filing a revised return.

Where the return relates to assessments year 1988-89 or any earlier assessment year, the period of limitation is two years from the end of the relevant assessment year.

Defective Return

If the assessing officer considers that the return of income furnished by the assessee is defective, he may intimate the defect to the assessee and allow him to rectify the defect within 15 days from the date of such intimation or within such further period as may be allowed by the assessing officer on the request of the assessee. If the assessee fails to rectify the defect within the period above, the return shall be deemed invalid, and further, it shall be deemed that the assessee had failed to furnish the return. However, where the assessee is made the assessment officer may condone the delay and treat the return as a valid return.

Signing of Return

The return of income must be signed and verified. In the case of an individual the following points need to be kept in mind:

  • by the individual himself
  • where he is absent from India, by the individual himself or some person duly authorized by him on this behalf
  • where he is mentally incapacitated from attending to his affairs, by his guardian or any person competent to act on his behalf
  • where for any other reason, the individual can’t sign the return, by any person duly authorized by him on this behalf.


Under the existing law, the penalty for delay in filing of return of income is calculated as a percentage of the shortfall of tax. Where tax has already been deducted at source or advance tax has been duly paid, no penalty is leviable. It is proposed to amend the law to provide for the penalty of Rs.1000 even in such cases. This provision is targeted towards the salary earners who always had the impression that their liability was over  the moment the tax was deducted by the employer.


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