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  • Writer's pictureShubham Mishra

Section 139 of Income Tax Act, 1961: Return of Income

Updated: Oct 7, 2022








Late filing of income tax returns is addressed in Section 139 of the Income Tax Act of 1961. Section 139 will be applicable if anyone misses the deadline for filing their income tax return. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the various sub-sections of Section 139 of the Income Tax Act that deal with the assessee failure to file an income tax return by the deadline.

Sub-sections of Section 139 of Income Tax Act, 1961:

Section 139 is divided into subsections that deal with various types of income tax returns. The following are the subsections:

Section 139(1) – Mandatory and Voluntary Returns

* Mandatory Returns: The taxpayers who must submit mandatory income tax returns are listed below:

1.Any LLP, limited liability company, or partnership with unlimited liability.

2.Any domestic company, whether private, public, or domestic.

3.Any person whose combined income exceeds the threshold for tax exemption.

· Voluntary Returns: An income tax return filed by a person is referred to as a voluntary return if it is not required of them to do so. In this way, valid income tax returns are also referred to as voluntary returns.

Note: Some people are exempt from filing income taxes, according to section 139(1C) of the Income Tax. However, the Central Government can only do this if individuals from these classes meet the aforementioned requirements.

Section 139(3) – Filing Income Tax Return in case of Loss

Section 139(3) deals with an organization's income tax return if it suffers a loss.

· The income tax return must be filed by the deadline specified in Section 139 if the losses are included in any income falling under the headings "Capital Gains" or "Profits and Gains of Business and Profession".

The following headings won't be impacted by filing income tax returns later:

1. Any damage brought on by the unabsorbed property as described in Section 139 (3).

2. Any damage to "House and Residential Property" that occurs.

3. Even if the return is submitted after the due date, the loss may still be offset against some income in another category for the same year.

4. If the return of losses for the prior years was submitted by the due date and the losses were assessed, the loss from those prior years could be carried forward.

5. The benefit of filing loss returns is the ability to carry the loss forward, which lowers the amount of tax due in subsequent years. Therefore, filing the return for loss is highly recommended.

Section 139(4) – Late Income Tax Return

The late filing of an income tax return is addressed in Section 139(4). The following is a description of its provisions:

· In accordance with Section 144, the taxpayer has a year from the conclusion of the assessment year to file late income tax returns.

· A penalty of Rs 5,000 as per Section 271F may be assessed against the taxpayer for filing income tax returns late. However, returns that were not mandated to be filed in accordance with Section 139(1) shall not be subject to a penalty.

Section 139(5) – Revised Return

In the event that the initial income tax returns were filed incorrectly, section 139(5) addresses a revised income tax return. Its provisions are as follows:

· If the assessee or entity filed the original or initial income tax return in accordance with Section 139(1), the taxpayer may file a revised income tax return within one year of the conclusion of the relevant assessment year or, if earlier, prior to the completion or conclusion of the assessment.

· There is no way to amend a late tax return. However, any loss return that was submitted by the deadline specified in Section 139(1) is eligible for revision.

Section 139(4A) – Income Tax Return of Religious and Charitable Trist:

A person who receives income from property used by a religious trust or a public charity and claims tax exemptions under sections 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act must file income tax returns if the amount of income received before the provisions of sections 11 and 12 exceeds the minimum threshold for the exemption from income tax.

Section 139(4B) – Political Party’s Return of Income:

A political party must file an income tax return, but the total amount of income that party has collected exceeds the threshold for exemption, even after accounting for any benefits mentioned in section 13A.

Section 139(4C) and 139(4D) - Claiming Income Tax Exemption under Section 10:

Sections 139(4C) and 139(4D) deal with certain institutions that request privileges under Section 10's provisions. In accordance with these sections, any institution must file its tax returns if the total amount of income it receives exceeds the basic exemption limit, without taking into account any additional exemption benefits.

Section 139(9) – Defective Returns

An income tax return is deemed to be defective in accordance with the provisions of Section 139(9) when certain specific documents are either not attached or not provided with the income tax return. If an income tax officer finds a tax return to be flawed, he or she notifies the affected taxpayer and instructs them to correct all errors within 15 days beginning on the day of notification. The taxpayer may, however, submit a written request to extend this permitted period. The taxpayer is informed of the problem in a straightforward letter.

Due Dates for Section 139

Different sub-sections of Section 139 of the Income Tax Act of 1961 address various types of returns filed by various people, entities, and organizations as well as various situations involving late payments and mistakes. As a result, this section specifies a few deadlines by which individuals or entities must file their income tax returns. The following dates are involved:

1. 31st July - All tax assessees who do not need an audit performed must comply by this deadline, even though it is frequently extended by up to a month to August 31. The following people and organizations are included in this:

· A salaried individual or employee

· A professional or someone who works for themselves

· A freelancer or a consultant

2. September 30th - All individuals and organizations that must or may be subject to an audit of their financial records must file their income tax returns by September 30th of each assessment year. The government reserves the right to extend this deadline. These organizations and people may fall into this category:

· An organization

· Person who works for themselves or a career

· An associate working for a company or a consultant who requests an audit of his accounting records

Relevant Rule related to Section 139 of Income Tax Act, 1961:

1. Rule 12

2. Rule 12AB

3. Rule 12AC

4. Rule 117A

5. Rule 125

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