Filing an income tax return (ITR) is a crucial obligation for every individual earning an income. However, life can sometimes get in the way, causing one to miss the ITR filing deadline. If you’ve found yourself in such a situation, fret not! The Indian Income Tax Act 1961 provides a provision for filing belated ITRs. In this article, we’ll explore the process of paying the penalty associated with belated ITR filing and how to ensure a smooth filing experience.
Understanding Belated ITR Filing and Penalty
A belated ITR can be filed for the financial year 2022-23 (assessment year 2023-24) if the original deadline of July 31, 2023, has been missed. The final opportunity to file a belated ITR is by December 31, 2023. However, it’s important to note that penalties apply under Section 234F of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for belated filings.
The quantum of the penalty depends on your net taxable income for the respective financial year. If your net taxable income exceeds Rs 5 lakh, the penalty stands at Rs 5,000. If your income falls below this threshold but is still taxable, the penalty reduces to Rs 1,000. Notably, if your net taxable income is below the basic exemption limit, you are exempt from paying any penalty.
Paying the Penalty Before Filing a Belated ITR
There are two ways to handle the penalty payment for a belated ITR: paying before initiating the filing process or paying during the filing process on the e-filing portal.
If you opt to pay the penalty before starting the ITR filing process, the steps are as follows:
- Access the e-pay tax facility: Visit the income tax e-filing portal (https://www.incometax.gov.in/iec/foportal/) and choose the ‘e-pay tax’ option under ‘Quick Links.’
- Provide details: Enter your PAN and mobile number, then proceed. An OTP will be sent to your mobile, which you’ll need to enter for verification.
- Select assessment year and payment type: Choose the relevant assessment year (AY 2023-24) and select the payment type, such as self-assessment tax (300).
- Enter penalty amount and additional dues: Enter the penalty amount and any additional tax dues if applicable. Click ‘continue’ to proceed.
- Choose payment method: You can pay the penalty using a debit card, net banking, payment gateway, offline bank challan, or RTGS/NEFT.
- Complete payment and download challan: After successful payment, download the generated tax payment summary challan. This challan will be needed when filing the belated ITR.
Paying the Penalty While Filing a Belated ITR
If you prefer to pay the penalty during the actual ITR filing process, follow these steps:
- Complete ITR form schedules: Fill out the five schedules in the ITR form: personal information, gross total income, total deductions, tax paid, and total tax liabilities.
- Calculate penalty and additional tax: As you fill out the schedules, the ‘total tax liability’ schedule will automatically compute the penalty and any additional tax payable.
- Initiate penalty payment: Use the ‘pay now’ facility within the ITR form to pay the calculated penalty and additional tax dues, if any.
- Enter challan details: Input the challan number, BSR code, amount, and other necessary information. These details go in the ‘taxes paid’ schedule under the self-assessment and advance tax payments column.
- Preview and submit: Once all schedules are filled, preview the return. If all details are accurate, click ‘Submit’ to finalize the filing. Remember to verify the belated ITR within 30 days of submission.
Filing a belated income tax return need not be a daunting task. By understanding the penalty implications and following the steps outlined above, you can successfully navigate the process while ensuring compliance with the Income Tax Act. Whether you pay the penalty before or during the filing process, the key is providing accurate information and adhering to the deadlines. You can fulfil your tax obligations and maintain financial integrity by doing so.