Penalty for late filing of Income Tax Return

Fee for default in furnishing return of income

In Budget 2017 the Government of India, Ministry of Finance introduced a new section 234F under the Income Tax Act, 1961 to ensure timely filing of returns of income. As per section 234F, if a person is required to file income tax return as per the provisions of income tax law but does not file it within the prescribed time limit u/s.139(1) of the Act, then late fees have to be deposited by the tax payer while filing the ITR. The quantum of fees shall depend upon the time of filing the return and total income.

What is the Quantum of Fees?

The text of the provisions of section 234F is reproduced herein under;


234F. (1) Without prejudice to the provisions of this Act, where a person required to furnish a return of income under section 139, fails to do so within the time prescribed in sub-section (1) of the said section, he shall pay, by way of fee, a sum of,

 (a) five thousand rupees, if the return is furnished on or before the 31st day of December of the assessment year;

 (b) ten thousand rupees in any other case:

Provided that if the total income of the person does not exceed five lakh rupees, the fee payable under this section shall not exceed one thousand rupees.

(2) The provisions of this section shall apply in respect of return of income required to be furnished for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2018.


The above provisions makes it clear that;

1. It is a late fees (not termed as penalty), thus, becomes a mandatory levy and the Income Tax Department does not have discretionary powers to reduce or waive the fees

2. It is levied on all persons who are liable to file return of income (no tax payer is exempted from its levy unless he is not liable to file return of income)

3.  Late fees of ₹5,000 is payable for delay in filing return beyond the deadline u/s.139(1) till Dec 31 of the assessment year (Dec 31 following the deadline, i.e. if the deadline is Jul 31, 2018,  ₹5,000 is payable if you fail to file the return by Jul 31, 2018 but do so on or before Dec 31, 2018

4. Late fees of ₹10,000 is payable for delay in filing return beyond Dec 31 of the assessment year. Thus, for the assessment year 2018-19, any delay beyond Dec 31, 2018 will attract late fees of ₹10,000

5. Such late fee is, however, restricted to ₹1,000, for tax payers having total income subject to income tax upto ₹5,00,000

Thus, it is advised to all tax payers to get ready and file your returns of income well before the deadline. You may contact your Chartered Accountant to know your own deadline and avoid late fees.


Your Income Tax Return filing Date Late Fees
After deadline (Jul 31 / Sep 30 / Nov 30) until Dec 31 and Total Income more than ₹5,00,000 ₹5,000
After Dec 31 until Mar 31 and Total Income more than ₹5,00,000 ₹10,000
After deadline (Jul 31 / Sep 30 / Nov 30) until Mar 31 and Total Income upto ₹5,00,000 ₹1,000


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