Know Penalty for Late filing of ITR (Section 234F)

It is a settled law that every person who has earned income above the exempted limit has to file Income Tax Return during each financial year. Further, these ITRs must be filed before or on the due dates notified by the Income Tax Department, Government of India. Filing of ITR on or before due dates is essential to prevent the interest and penalties which are levied on the late filing of ITR.

Due dates for filing of Income Tax Return

The due dates for filing of Income Tax Return are different for different categories of taxpayers. Usually, the individuals and HUFs have to file their ITR by 31st July of the assessment year. Such dates are notified by the Income Tax Department during each financial. These dates can also be further extended by the Department. For instance, due to pandemic COVID-19 and the new Income Tax Portal, the due date for filing of ITR for Financial Year 2019-2020 was extended from 31st July, 2021 to 31st December, 2021. Usually, following are the due dates for filing of ITR for different categories of taxpayer:

Category of Assessee

Due Date

 For all corporate assessees

30th September of the assessment year

For such corporate assessees which is required to furnish a report under section 92E of Income Tax Act, 1961.

30th November of the assessment year

For all non corporate assessees whose accounts are required to audit under Section 44AB  or under any other law for the time being in force.

30th September of the assessment year

For working partners of partnership firms whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force.

30th September of the assessment year

For any other assessee.

31st July of the assessment year

Also Read: Do I need to file Income Tax Return?

Penalty charges for non filing of ITR on time

The penalty for non filing of ITR on time was introduced in the Union Budget of 2017 and accordingly, Income Tax Act was amended and Section 234F was inserted. Through this provision, penalty shall be imposed on late filing of ITR from Financial Year 2017-18 and onwards. The minimum amount of penalty that can be imposed under Section 234F is Rs. 1,000/- and maximum amount of penalty is Rs. 10,000/-. The bifurcation of penalties imposed for non filing of ITR by assessees who are required to file ITR by 31st July of the financial year are as follows:

Income Slab

Filed within due date up to 31st July

After due date up to 31st December

After 31st December

Income < Rs. 5 lacs

NIL

Rs. 1,000/-

Rs. 1,000/-

Income > Rs. 5 lacs

NIL

Rs. 5,000/-

Rs. 10,000/-

Apart from this, if the tax evaded exceeds Rs 25 lacs the punishment could be imprisonment of 6 months to 7 years, as per the website of the Income Tax Department.

Also Read: 10 ways to save your taxes!

Illustration

The above table is explained with the help of following illustrations:
Illustration 1:
Mr. Ram, having total income of Rs. 4 lacs, if he filed his Income-tax return for Assessment Year 2019-20 (Financial Year 2018-19) on 25/07/2019. What will be the fee (penalty) under section 234F?

Since the Income-tax return is filed within due date, no fee (penalty) will be levied.

Illustration 2:
Mr. Shyam, having total income of Rs. 6 lacs, if he filed his Income-tax return for Assessment Year 2019-20 (Financial Year 2018-19) on 10/11/2019. What will be the fee (penalty) under section 234F?
Since the Income-tax Return is filed after due date, but on or before 31/12/2019, penalty will be Rs. 5,000/-

Illustration 3:
Mr. Mohan, having total income of Rs. 5.5 lacs, if he filed his Income-tax return for Assessment Year 2019-20 (Financial Year 2018-19) on 07/02/2020. What will be the penalty under section 234F?
Since the Income-tax return is filed after due date and after 31/12/2019, penalty will be Rs. 10,000/-

In the above situation, if total income of the Assessee does not exceed Rs. 5 lacs, the fee penalty will be Rs. 1,000/-.

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