Penalty on late filing of ITR and other tax changes effective from 1st April 2018

Taxpayers who do not file their income tax returns (ITRs) on time will have to shell out a penalty of up to Rs. 10,000, but from the 2018-19 Assessment Year (AY).“In order to ensure that return is filed within due date, it is proposed to insert a new section 234F in the Act (I-T Act) to provide that a fee for delay in furnishing of return shall be levied for assessment year 2018-19 and onwards in a case where the return is not filed within the due dates specified for filing of return under sub-section (1) of section 139,” the memorandum for the Finance Bill 2017 said.

It specified two levels of penalty in this regard: “A fee of Rs. 5,000 shall be payable, if the return is furnished after the due date but on or before December 31 of the assessment year and a fee of Rs10,000 shall be payable in any other case.” However, for small taxpayers or where the total income does not exceed Rs5 lakh, it is “proposed that the fee amount shall not exceed Rs1,000.” The memorandum said the decision was being taken “in view of the non-intrusive information-driven approach for improving tax compliance and effective utilisation of information in tax administration it is important that the returns are filed within the due dates.”

Further, it added that the “reduced time limits proposed for making of assessment” of I-T cases, as proposed in the latest Finance Bill, are also based on pre-requisite that returns are filed on time.” “These amendments will take effect from April 1, 2018 and will accordingly apply in relation to assessment year 2018-19 and subsequent years,” it said