In general terms belated return means return filed after the due date of filing return of income. However as per section 139(4) of the Income tax act, belated return means:
“Any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under sub-section (1), may furnish the return for any previous year at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.”
Thus as per above definition the due date for filing belated return is 31st march of the relevant assessment year i.e. for return of A.Y. 2019-20 due date for belated return would be 31.03.2020 or completion of assessment of A.Y. 2019-20 u/s 143(3) or 153A whichever is earlier.
Earlier there was no provision to revise the belated return filed u/s 139(4). However vide Finace Act 2017 an amendment was made to sub section 5 of section 139, after which one could revise even belated income tax return.
There are two important points one need to know before filing return of income u/s 139(4):
- If you are filing a belated return you need pay late fee as per section 234F, the only situation where you won’t be liable to pay late fee would be where your total income before deduction under chapter VI-A i.e. 80C to 80U is below 2.5 lakh.
- You won’t be able to carry forward any losses if you are filing a belated return.
Many people don’t file their return of income in due time and have incurred loss and later they think that they need to file their return of income and carry forward loss however do keep in mind that if you have filed return of income after due date you won’t be able to carry forward losses.
Thus it is advisable to always file return of income even if you have only incurred losses because you never know when you might need it in future.
Other than above everything else is same as filing a normal return.
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