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Belated Return: How to File under Section 139(4) of the Income Tax Act

Updated: Jan 11

How to File belated return under Section 139(4) of the Income Tax Act

In the intricate landscape of income tax filing, timely submission of returns is paramount. Yet, life's uncertainties and busy schedules can lead to unintentional oversights, causing taxpayers to miss the original filing deadline. This is where the concept of a belated return comes into play. As the name implies, a belated return is filed after the prescribed deadline has passed. When a taxpayer misses the original filing date, the option to file a belated return becomes a crucial avenue to fulfil tax obligations.

Understanding the implications of filing a belated return is crucial for taxpayers seeking to rectify their oversight and fulfil their tax obligations. Let's delve into the intricacies of belated return filing and explore the steps involved in this process.


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What do you mean by Belated Return?

A belated return is an income tax return filed after the due date, typically July 31st each year, for individuals not subject to audits. If an individual fails to meet this deadline and files their return after July 31st but before December 31st, it is considered a belated return.

For individuals subject to tax audits, the deadline is September 30th. Any return filed after this date is also termed a belated return and is filed under section 139(4) of the Income Tax Act. It's important to note that filing a belated return may incur penalties and additional interest on taxes owed.

Income Tax Return (ITR) filing process for past years

If the belated return deadline is missed, ITR-U can be filed in specific cases. Following the Finance Act 2021 amendment, the timeline for filing belated returns has been reduced. Starting from Assessment Year 2021-22, the belated return can be filed up to three months before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever comes first.

Who can File Belated Return u/s139(4)?

  • Individuals with taxable income exceeding the prescribed limit must file an income tax return.

  • Salaried individuals, even if taxes are fully deducted through TDS, must file if their income surpasses the taxable threshold.

  • Individuals with signing authority in foreign accounts are required to file returns.

  • Individuals subject to audit due to turnover or gross receipts exceeding the prescribed limit must file by the specified  due date.

  • Individuals who have deposited an amount exceeding Rs. 1 crore during a financial year in a current account held with a cooperative bank or a bank.

  • individuals who have spent more than 2 lakhs on foreign travel in the relevant year.

  • individuals who have total electricity bill exceeds Rs.1 lakh.

  • Business owners, professionals, and companies are obligated to file income tax returns.

  • Non-resident Indians (NRIs) with income sourced in India or foreign income deemed to be received in India may need to file returns.

  •  Those seeking a refund of excess taxes paid during the financial year must file an income tax return.

In other words if someone who is supposed to file an Income Tax Return (ITR) misses the deadline, they can still file a belated return. When filing the ITR, they need to choose section 139(4).