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Section 139 Provisions for filing Return of Income


section-139-provisions-for-filing-return-of-income

Section 139 Provisions for filing Return of Income: Section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 deals with the filing of return of income. Section 139 falls under ‘Chapter XIV - Procedure for assessment’ of the Income Tax Act, 1961. It has 19 sub-sections (out of which 3 sub-sections are omitted now) and 6 explanations besides 9 provisos (out of which 7 provisos are placed under sub-section (1) and two provisos are placed under sub-section (9)). A few of them are not in existence as on today. All the provisions related to each active and in-force provisions are discussed in detail with illustrations wherever necessary to clarify the concept of the provisions related to the filing of return of income.


    Section-wise summary for section 139 as amended by Finance Act, 2020


    Section

    Provisions

    139(1)

    Filing of return and due dates

    Provisos to section 139(1)

    First Proviso

    Was applicable till AY 2005-06

    Second Proviso

    Cases where first proviso shall not apply

    Third Proviso

    Mandatory requirement to file return of income for every previous year by a company and a firm

    Fourth Proviso

    Mandatory for a resident to file return of income on non-income criteria if beneficial owner of foreign asset(s) or signatory in a foreign bank account

    Fifth Proviso

    Cases where fourth proviso shall not apply

    Sixth Proviso

    Determination of Total income for filing of return of income for certain persons

    Seventh Proviso

    Mandatory requirement of filing of return of income for certain high value transactions. Applicable from AY 2020-21.


    Explanations to section 139(1)

    Explanation 1

    Meaning of ‘motor vehicle’

    Explanation 2

    ‘Due Dates’ specified

    Explanation 3

    Expression “travel to any foreign country” clarified

    Explanation 4

    Expression "beneficial owner" defined

    Explanation 5

    Expression "beneficiary" defined

    Explanation 6

    (a)  "banking company" and (b)  "co-operative bank"  defined


    139(1A)

    Not operative at present

    139(1B)

    Not operative at present

    139(1C)

    Power to exempt persons from filing of return of income

    139(2)

    Omitted  w.e.f. 1-4-1989

    139(3)

    Return of Loss

    139(4)

    Belated Return of Income

    139(4A)

    Return of Income of  charitable or religious trusts

    139(4B)

    Return of Income of Political Parties

    139(4C)

    Return of Income of certain institutions

    139(4D)

    Return of Income of University or college referred to in section 35(1)(ii)/(iii)

    139(4E)

    Return of Income by a Business Trust

    139(4F)

    Return of Income of a Investment Fund referred to in section 115UB

    139(5)

    Filing of Revised Return of Income

    139(6)

    Particulars to be furnished in return

    139(6A)

    Particulars to be furnished in return in case of business

    139(7)

    Was applicable till AY 1988-89

    139(8)

    Was applicable till AY 2005-06

    139(9)

    Defective Return


    Legal Provisions relating to filing of return of income


    Timely Return and Due Date of filing of return [Section 139(1)]


    Section 139(1)(a) mandates every company and a firm (including LLP) to file a return of income for every previous year irrespective of any income or loss. Such a return of income shall be filed in the prescribed form and shall contain the particulars as specified in the return form which shall be verified in the prescribed manner.


    Who shall verify the return of income of a company


    As per section 140(c), a return of income of a company shall be verified by the managing director thereof. Where the managing director is not able to verify for any unavoidable reason or where there is no managing director, any director of the company can verify the return. Finance Act, 2020 has amended section 140 to enable any other person, as may be prescribed by the Board, to verify the return of income of a company.


    In case of a foreign company, the return may be verified by a person who holds a valid power of attorney from such company to do so.


    Where the company is being wound up, whether under the orders of a court or otherwise, or where any person has been appointed as the receiver of any assets of the company, the return shall be verified by the liquidator referred to in section 178(1).


    Where the management of the company has been taken over by the Central Government or any State Government under any law, the return of the company shall be verified by the principal officer thereof.


    It is also provided that in case of a company in whose case application for insolvency resolution process has been admitted by the Adjudicating Authority under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), the return has to be verified by the insolvency professional appointed by such Adjudicating Authority.


    Who shall verify the return of income of a firm including an LLP


    As per section 140(cc), a return of income in the case of a firm, shall be verified by the managing partner thereof, or where for any unavoidable reason such managing partner is not able to verify the return, or where there is no managing partner as such, by any partner thereof,who is not a minor.


    As per section 140(cd), a return of income in the case of a limited liability partnership (LLP), by the designated partner thereof, or where for any unavoidable reason such designated partner is not able to verify the return, or where there is no designated partner as such, by any partner thereof. Finance Act, 2020 has amended section 140 to enable any other person, as may be prescribed by the Board, to verify the return of income of a limited liability partnership (LLP).


    Prescribed forms for furnishing return of income of a company and a firm


    CBDT vide Notification No. 31/2020 dated 29.05.2020 prescribed ITR Form No. 6 for furnishing the return of income of a company.


    Read more: Key Changes in ITR forms (ITR 1 to ITR 7) for AY 2020-21


    Further where a company is incorporated under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 or section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 shall file its return of income in ITR-7.


    In case of a firm maintaining regular books of accounts and an LLP, the prescribed ITR Form is ITR-5. If a firm (other than LLP) having Total Income upto Rs. 50 lakhs and having income from Business and Profession which is computed under sections 44AD, 44ADA or 44AE may furnish the return of income in ITR-4.


    Manner of furnishing return of income by a company or a firm


    As per Rule 12 of the Income Tax Rules, every company which is required to furnish its return of income in ITR-6 shall file its return of income electronically under digital signature of the person who is authorized to verify the return of income as prescribed in section 140(c). It is immaterial whether the company is subject to tax audit or not. In all cases, even for nil income or loss return, a company is required to furnish its return of income electronically online mode with digital signature. No paper mode of filing of return is allowed in case of a company.


    In case of a firm or limited liability partnership which is required to file return in Form ITR-5 shall furnish the return of income in the following manner-

    Case

    Return should be filed

    Where accounts are required to be audited under section 44AB 

    Electronically under digital signature

    In any other case

    In any one of the following manner-

    a. Electronically under digital signature; or

    b. Electronically under electronic verification code; or

    c. Electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Form ITR-V.


    Notes:

     

    1. The expression ‘every company’ means any company incorporated under the Companies Act and includes foreign companies.

     

    2. A company whose entire income is exempt, for e.g. having agricultural income, is also required to file its return for every previous year.

     

    3. The third proviso to section 139(1) clarifies that every company or a firm shall furnish on or before the due date the return in respect of its income or loss in every previous year.


    Section 139(1)(b) prescribes for furnishing return of income by  person other than a company or a firm if his total income or the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under this Act during the previous year exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax (basic exemption limit).


    Person other than a company or a firm includes individuals, HUF, association of persons, body of individuals, artificial juridical person.


    In computing the amount of total income of an individual or a Hindu undivided family or an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, or an artificial juridical person the effect of following exemptions and deductions shall not be given-

    Section 10(38)

    Section 10A

    Section 10B

    Section 10BA

    Section 54

    Section 54B

    Section 54D

    Section 54EC

    Section 54F

    Section 54G

    Section 54GA

    Section 54GB

    Chapter VI-A


    In other words, the total income as computed shall be increased with the exemption and deduction if any taken into consideration for computing the total income and if such adjusted total income exceeds the basic exemption limit then such a person is mandatorily required to furnish return of income for that previous year.


    The expression ‘any other person in respect of which he is assessable’ used in section 139(1)(b) covers a representative assessee under sections 159 to 168 or a legal representative.


    Who shall verify the return of income of a person other than a company or a firm


    As per section 140, a return of income of a person other than a company or a firm shall be verified by the followings-


    Section

    Person

    Verification by

    140(a)

    (i) Individual

    Individual himself

    (ii) Where the Individual is absent from India

    Individual himself or his authorized person holding a valid power of attorney from the individual

    (iii) Where the Individual is mentally incapacitated 

    His guardian or any other comptetent person

    (iv) Where it is not possible for the Individual to verify the reutrn

    His authorized person holding a valid power of attorney from the individual

    140(b)

    Hindu undivided family

    Karta

    Where the karta is absent from India or is mentally incapacitated

    Any other adult member of such family

    140(d)

    Local authority

    Principal Officer

    140(dd)

    Political party

    Chief executive officer of such party (whether such chief executive officer is known as secretary or by any other designation)

    140(e)

    Any other association

    Any member or principal officer

    140(f)

    Any other person

    Such person or any other person competent to act on his behalf


    Prescribed forms for furnishing return of income for a person other than a company and a firm


    ITR Forms

    Description

    ITR 1

    For Individuals being a Resident (other than Not Ordinarily Resident) having Total Income upto Rs.50 lakhs, having Income from Salaries, One House Property, Other Sources (Interest etc.), and Agricultural Income upto Rs.5 thousand(Not for an Individual who is either Director in a company or has invested in Unlisted Equity Shares)

    ITR 2

    For Individuals and HUFs not having income from profits and gains of business or profession

    ITR 3

    For individuals and HUFs having income from profits and gains of business or profession

    ITR 4

    For Individuals, HUFs and Firms (other than LLP) being a Resident having Total Income upto Rs.50 lakhs and having income from Business and Profession which is computed under sections 44AD, 44ADA or 44AE

    (Not for an Individual who is either Director in a company or has invested in Unlisted Equity Shares)

    ITR 5

    For persons other than:-

    (i) Individual,

    (ii) HUF,

    (iii) Company and

    (iv) Person filing Form ITR-7

    ITR 7

    For persons including companies required to furnish return under sections 139(4A) or 139(4B) or 139(4C) or 139(4D)


    Manner of furnishing return of income by a person other than a company or a firm


    As per rule 12 of the Income Tax rules, 1962, the manner of furnishing return of income and mode of verifying the return of income for other persons is given below-


    Person

    Condition

    Manner of furnishing return of income

    Individual or Hindu undivided family

    (a) Accounts are required to be audited under section 44AB of the Act

    Electronically under digital signature

    (b) Where total income assessable under the Act during the previous year of a person, being an indivi-dual of the age of eighty years or more at any time during the previous year, and who furnishes the return in Form number SAHAJ (ITR-1) or Form number SUGAM (ITR-4).

    In any one of the following manner-

    a. Electronically under digital signature; or

    b. Electronically under electronic verification code; or

    c. Electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Form ITR-V.


    (c) In any other case

    In any one of the following manner-

    a. Electronically under digital signature; or

    b. Electronically under electronic verification code; or

    c. Electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Form ITR-V.

    A person required to furnish the return in Form ITR-7

    (a) In case of a political party

    Electronically under digital signature

    (b) In any other case

    In any one of the following manner-

    a. Electronically under digital signature; or

    b. Electronically under electronic verification code; or

    c. Electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Form ITR-V.

    Any person (other than those mentioned above) and who is required to file return in Form ITR-5

    Where accounts are required to be audited under section 44AB 

    Electronically under digital signature

    In any other case

    In any one of the following manner-

    a. Electronically under digital signature; or

    b. Electronically under electronic verification code; or

    c. Electronically and thereafter submitting the verification of the return in Form ITR-V.


    The above provisions for filing of return of income is based on income criteria. However, section 139 contains certain provisions where even if a person is not required to file return of income based on income criteria but has foreign assets or undertaken high value transactions then such a person is mandatorily required to file return of income as prescribed above.


    Mandatory Filing of return even if income is below taxable limit


    Filing of return due to beneficial owner or beneficiary of foreign assets:


    The fourth proviso to section 139(1) provides that a person who is a resident in India shall mandatorily file his return of income or loss even if he is otherwise not required to file any return under section 139(1) if -


    (i) he is a beneficial owner of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) outside India,

    (ii) he is a signing authority in any account located outside India;

    (iii) he is a beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India.


    Note: Since a company or a firm is anyway mandatorily required to file return of income or loss under section 139(1) irrespective of any amount of income or loss, the above provision shall not apply to a company or a firm. This provision shall apply only to a person other than a company or a firm. Practically, this provision shall apply only to an individual.  Further, the fourth proviso expressly states that this provision shall not apply to a person who is a resident but not ordinarily resident as per section 6(6). Only an Individual or a HUF can be a resident but not ordinarily resident. Other persons are either resident or non-resident.


    It is further provided that where the beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India is an individual and the income from such assets is includible in the total income of the beneficial owner then the above provision of filing of return of income or loss shall not apply to such individual. [Fifth proviso to section 139(1)].


    The term "beneficial owner" in respect of an asset is defined in Explanation 4 to section 139(1) to mean an individual who has provided, directly or indirectly, consideration for the asset for the immediate or future benefit, direct or indirect, of himself or any other person.


    The term "beneficiary" in respect of an asset is defined in Explanation 5 to section 139(1) to mean an individual who derives benefit from the asset during the previous year and the consideration for such asset has been provided by any person other than such beneficiary.


    Filing of return due to high-value transactions:


    The seventh proviso to section 139(1) provides for furnishing of return by a person referred to in clause (b) of the said sub-section (1), who is not required to furnish a return under the said sub-section, if such person has undertaken the following high value transactions during the previous year —


    1. Deposit of Rs. 1 crore or more in current accounts: All types of deposits whether in cash or by cheque or online fund transfer are covered. The deposit is not restricted to cash deposits only. Further, only the deposit in one or more current accounts is included. Savings Accounts and other accounts are outside the purview of this provision. The aggregate deposits in all the current accounts maintained in all of the banks including co-operative banks are required to be considered for determining the threshold of Rs. 1 crore. 


    2. Expenditure on foreign travel for more than Rs. 2 Lakh: It covers all the expenditure incurred by a person for travel to a foreign country for himself or any other person. Hence, the person who incurs the expenditure may or may not travel to a foreign country. It is not clarified what will constitute ‘foreign travel expenditure’. However, it should be noted that the legislation has used the expression ‘for travel to a foreign country’ and not the expression expenditure ‘on foreign travel’. It is not necessary that the expenses should be incurred in foreign currency. Further, it is immaterial whether the travel to a foreign country is a business trip or a personal leisure trip.


    Note: As per Explanation 3, the expression "travel to any foreign country" does not include travel to the neighbouring countries or to such places of pilgrimage as the Board may specify in this behalf by notification in the Official Gazette.


    3. Expenditure on the consumption of electricity for more than Rs. 1 Lakh: The expenditure on the consumption of electricity is only covered under this provision. Expenses incurred for getting the electricity connection or deposits made with electricity authority are not covered. Further, it is immaterial whether the consumption of electricity is due to commercial usage or personal usage, expenses on both are covered. It is also not necessary that the expenses are incurred on the electricity connection which is in the name of the person himself. The provision covers where the expenses incurred for the consumption of electricity even if the connection is in the same of someone else but the electricity must be consumed by the person concerned. Further, if the person has more than one electric connection, all the expenses will be aggregated to determine the threshold limit of Rs. 1 Lakh.


    4. Other prescribed conditions: CBDT is empowered to prescribe other conditions or high-value transactions under this seventh proviso. Till date, no such conditions have been prescribed. 


    Note: It is not necessary that all the conditions have to be fulfilled. Fulfilling any one of the above-mentioned conditions is sufficient to file a return of income. 


    These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2020 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent years.


    Further, a person referred to in clause (b) refers to a person other than a company or a firm. The seventh proviso to section 139(1) is not applicable to a company and a firm. It applies only to a person covered in section 139(1)(b) which includes an individual or a Hindu undivided family or an association of persons or a body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, or an artificial juridical person.


    When to file the return of income or loss


    Section 139(1) and the provisos thereunder requires a person to furnish his return of income or loss for the previous year on or before the due date. Explanation 2 to section 139(1) prescribes the ‘due date’ for filing of return of income for a previous year. Different due dates have been prescribed for different class of persons as listed below-


    Person/Assessee

    Due Date

    Company

    31st October

    of the assessment year

    A person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under Income Tax Act or under any other law for the time being in force

    (Companies Act, Societies Registration Act, etc.)

    A partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under Income Tax Act or under any other law for the time being in force.


    (Prior to 01.04.2020, only working partners were covered. From 01.04.2020, all the partners are covered)

    Assessee who is required to furnish a report referred to in section 92E

    30th November

    of the assessment year

    Other persons

    (Individuals/HUF/Firms not subject to tax audit, partner of such firms, AoP, BoI, AJP, etc.) 

    31st July

    of the assessment year


    Read more on Extended Due Dates of filing of return for AY 2020-21 or FY 2019-20

    Notes:

     

    1. The due date to file return of a partner of  the firm which is not subject to tax audit is 31st July, whereas, the due date to file return of a partner of the firm which is compulsory subject to tax audit is 31st October of the assessment year. The Finance Act, 2020 has removed the distinction between a working and a non-working partner.

     

    2. The due date to furnish return by a charitable trust is 31st October if tax audit is applicable. Otherwise, the due date is 31st July.

     

    3.The due date to furnish return by a political party is 31st October if tax audit is applicable. Otherwise, the due date is 31st July.

     

     

    Exemption from filing of return [Section 139(1C)]


    Under section 139(1C), the central government is empowered to exempt any class of persons from filing of return of income under section 139(1) even if such persons are otherwise required to file return under section 139(1) subject to prescribed conditions.


    It should be noted that the government can exempt a class of persons and not any specific person.


    Normally this power is exercised to give relief to small taxpayers from the compliance burden of return filing. Further, before providing such relaxation, it is ensured that the tax is collected by way of TDS.


    For example, a notification was issued in 2012 vide Notification No. 9/2012 dated 17.02.2012 to exempt salaried individuals from the requirement of furnishing a return of income under section 139(1) for the assessment year 2012-13 where total income of the individual does not exceed Rs. 5 Lakh and have only salary income and interest income from savings account upto Rs. 10,000 and the employer has deducted and deposited the TDS therefrom.


    A similar notification no. 36/2011 dated 23.06.2011 was issued for AY 2011-12.


    CBDT vide Notification No. 55/2019 dated 26.07.2019 has exempted non-residents and foreign companies in respect of any income chargeable under the Income Tax Act during a previous-year from any investment in an investment fund set up in an International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) located in India from the requirement of furnishing a return of income under sub-section (1) of section 139 from Assessment Year 2019-20 onwards provided income-tax has been deducted under section 194LBB and there is no other income.


    Note: The Central Government has the power to exempt from filing of return of income under section 139(1) only and not from filing of return as required under section 142(1) or section 148 or section 153A or section 153C.


    Return of Loss [Section 139(3)]


    Section 139(3) contains the provisions related to filing of a loss return. If any person has sustained a loss in any previous year under the head "Profits and gains of business or profession" or under the head "Capital gains" and claims that the loss or any part thereof should be carried forward under the following provisions-

    Section 72(1)

    Carry forward of Unabsorbed non-speculative business loss

    Section 73(2)

    Carry forward of Unabsorbed Loss from speculation business

    Section 73A(2)

    Carry forward of Unabsorbed Loss from specified business

    Section 74(1)

    Carry forward of Loss from capital gains

    Section 74(3)

    Omitted by the Finance Act, 2002, w.e.f. 1-4-2003

    Section 74A(3)

    Carry forward of Loss from activity of owning and maintaining race horses


    then he may furnish the return of loss within the time allowed under section 139(1) and all the provisions of this Act shall apply as if it were a return under section 139(1).


    Therefore, loss from following heads of income cannot be carried forward if the return of loss is not filed within the time limit or due date specified in section 139(1)-

    Business loss (both speculative and non-speculative)
    Loss under the head Capital Gains (both short term and long term)
    Loss under the head income from other sources (only loss from the activity of owning and maintaining race horses)

     

    Apart from these losses, other losses can be carried forward and set-off even if return of loss is filed after the prescribed due dates of filing of return of income or loss in section 139(1). These are-

    Loss from house property
    Unabsorbed depreciation
    [It is not covered under Chapter VI - “Set-off or carry forward of losses” but covered under section 32(2).]
    Unabsorbed Capital expenditure on scientific research
    Unabsorbed Capital expenditure on family planning

    Section 139(3) prescribes for filing of a loss return within the due date specified in section 139(1). This provision needs to be read with section 80 (discussed in this article on ‘Set-off and Carry forward of Losses amended provisions from 2020-21’) which prescribes that only loss determined in pursuance to a return of loss filed under section 139(3) shall be allowed to be carried forward. Therefore, it is imperative to furnish timely return to get the benefit of carry forward and set-off of losses in the subsequent assessment years. One may lose such benefit, if belated return is filed.


    Submission of return for losses [Section 80]


    As per section 80, the following losses shall be allowed to be carried forward and set off only if the return of income is filed as per the provisions of section 139(3)-


    Section

    Nature of Loss

    Section 72(1)

    Carry forward and set off of business losses

    Section 73(2)

    Losses in speculation business

    Section 73A(2) 

    Carry forward and set off of losses by specified business

    Section 74(1) 

    Losses under the head "Capital gains"

    Section 74(3)

    Omitted now

    Section 74A(3)

    Losses from certain specified sources falling under the head "Income from other sources"


    Section 139(3) states that above mentioned losses shall be allowed to be carried forward and set off in accordance with the provisions of this Act only if the return of income is filed within the time allowed under section 139(1). Hence, it is mandatory to file the return of income within the due date of filing of return of income as specified in section 139(1). 


    Notes:

     

    1. If no return is filed or filed belatedly then any unabsorbed loss shall lapse and cannot be carried forward.

     

    2. If belated return is filed, set off of loss in the year in which loss is incurred will be allowed to be set off against other income u/s 70 or u/s 71 but cannot be allowed to be carried forward.

     

    3. It is mandatory to file a return of income within the due date prescribed in section 139(1) for the first year of incurring loss  only. Once a loss is allowed to be carried forward in subsequent years, there is no requirement to file the return of income within the due date in the subsequent year.

     

    4. The condition to file the return of income within the due date is only for those losses which have been expressly mentioned in this section. Other losses which have not been covered by section 80, shall not be mandatorily required to file the return of income in time. For example, section 80 does not cover section 71B and hence loss from house property is allowed to be carried forward and set-off even belated return of income is filed. Similarly, this provision is not applicable for carry forward of unabsorbed depreciation which is covered u/s 32(2).

     

    5. Filing of return is mandatory: To set off the loss and carry forward and set off the loss one has to file the return of income whether timely or belated, as the case may be. If no return is filed, no loss can be set off or allowed to be carried forward and set off. [CIT vs Haryana Hotels Ltd. (2005) 276 ITR 521 (P&H)]. This restriction is not applicable to unabsorbed depreciation. This applies only to the brought forward business loss.

     

    6. Section 80 mentions filing of return under section 139(3)/139(1) only. Hence if a return is filed under other section viz. In response to a notice under section 148 beyond the due date mentioned in section 139(1), even though filed within the time allowed in the notice, cannot be carried forward where no return was filed u/s 139(3)/(1). [Koppind (P) Ltd. Vs. CIT (1994) 207 ITR 228 (Cal)]. 

     

    7. It is the Original return which must be filed within the due date specified in section 139(1) and not the revised return. If the Original return was filed within the time limit and if a revised return is filed after the time limit, date of filing of revised return shall not be considered for this purpose. [Dy.CIT .v. Ashok Walia (2013) 60 SOT 72(URO) (Kol.)(Trib.)]

     

    8. It is not mandatory to furnish a return of loss except in case of a company or a firm since there is no income. However, to set-off and carry forward the loss, one has to furnish the return as per section 139(3) read with section 80.

     

    9. Restrictive provisions of Section 80 do not apply to return accepted and assessed u/s. 153A of the Act. [Sanjay Nandlal vs. ITO (ITAT, Pune) ITA No. 771 to 774/PN/2010]

     

    9. Return filed under section 153A is a return filed under section 139- Once the assessee files a revised return under section 153A, for all other provisions of the Act, the revised return will be treated as the original return filed under section 139 of the Act. [Principal Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Neeraj Jindal (2017) 393 ITR 1 (Delhi)]

     

    153A return once accepted and assessed replaces the original return and that the return filed u/s 153A is deemed to be return u/s 139(1) and the restrictive provision of section 80 does not apply to 153A return. It is the return u/s 153A which once accepted and assessed, replaces the original return u/s 139. Therefore, the assessee is eligible for carry forward of business loss even if the original return was filed belatedly u/s 139(4). [ACIT vs. Splendor Landbase Limited (ITA No. 2461/Del/2016) (Delhi-Trib.)]


    Belated Return [Section 139(4)]


    If a person cannot file his return of income or loss within the time limit specified in section 139(1) he can still be able to file the return of income after the specified due date. This is called ‘belated filing of return’.


    According to section 139(4), any person who has not furnished a return within the time allowed to him under section 139(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.


    Note: Assessment for section 139(4) only refers to the best judgment assessment under section 144 as there cannot be any other assessment unless a return is furnished. Once the due date as per section 139(1) is over, the only recourse available to the Assessing Officer is to issue a Notice u/s 142(1) directing the assessee to furnish the return of income. Such return will always be a belated return.

     

    Completion of assessment means the date on which assessment order is passed by the Assessing Officer and not the date of service thereof to the assessee. In the case of Balchand vs. ITO (1969) 72 ITR 197 (SC) it was held by the Supreme Court that a return cannot be filed after the assessment order was passed. Thus any return filed by the assessee after the assessment order is passed is invalid.


    Hence, a belated return for a previous year can be filed within the last day of the relevant assessment year.


    For example, for the previous year 2019-20, the relevant assessment year is AY 2020-21. The due date for an individual who is not subject to compulsory tax audit is 31st July, 2020. The belated return for the FY 2019-20 can be filed upto March 31, 2021.


    It should be noted that only the return which is required to be filed within the time allowed section 139(1) can be filed under section 139(4). Prior to AY 2017-18, this section also covers the time allowed under a notice issued under section 142(1). This provision is omitted by the Finance Act, 2016.


    Prior to AY 2017-18, the time limit to furnish a belated return was one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. However, section 139(4) was amended by the Finance Act, 2016 w.e.f. 04.04.2017 to provide for reduced time limit to furnish a belated return before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.


    On a conjoint reading of section 139(1) and section 139(4), the date of furnishing timely and belated return is as follows-


    Person/AssesseeDue Date
    u/s 139(1)
    Belated
    Return
    Company31 st October
    of the assessment year
    31 st March
    of the assessment year
    A person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under Income Tax Act or under any other law for the time being in force
    (Companies Act, Societies Registration Act, etc.)
    A partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under Income Tax Act or under any other law for the time being in force.
    (Prior to 01.04.2020, only working partners were covered. From 01.04.2020, all the partners are covered)
    Assessee who is required to furnish a report referred to in section 92E30 th November
    of the assessment year
    Other persons
    (Individuals/HUF not subject to tax audit, AoP, BoI, AJP, etc.)
    31 st July
    of the assessment year


    Consequences of belated filing of return of income


    There are many adversarial consequences of filing of belated return which are listed below-


    1. Late fees under section 234F:  Where a person is required to furnish a return of income under section 139, fails to do so within the time prescribed in section 139(1), he shall pay lates fees under section 234F as given below-

    Where the return is furnished after the due date but on or before the 31st day of December of the assessment year

    If total income is upto Rs. 5 Lakh or in case of loss

    Rs. 1,000

    If total income is more than Rs. 5 Lakh

    Rs. 5,000

    Where the return is furnished after 31st day of December but on or before the 31st day of March of the assessment year

    If total income is upto Rs. 5 Lakh or in case of loss

    Rs. 1,000

    If total income is more than Rs. 5 Lakh

    Rs. 10,000

    Where the return is furnished after the due date but on or before the 31st day of March of the assessment year

    If total income is below the basic exemption limit

    Rs. Nil


    When Late Fees under section 234F is not leviable


    From the above table it is clear that if a person is filing the return of income voluntarily where the total income is below the basic exemption limit then no late fee is payable


    Similarly, in case of loss where basic exemption is provided no late fees under section 234F can be levied. This is applicable for an Individual, HUF, AOP, BOI, Artificial Judicial Person.


    Where no basic exemption limit is provided, in that case, even in case of loss, minimum late fees of Rs. 1,000 is leviable.


    Hence, late fees u/s 234F is not levied in the following cases-


    vv2

    The provision to pay late fees under section 234F was introduced from AY 2018-19 in respect of return of income required to be furnished for the assessment year commencing on or after the 1st day of April, 2018.


    Note: The amount payable under section 234F is termed as ‘late fee’ and not ‘penalty’ and is required to be paid at the time of filing of return.


    Penalty under section 271F withdrawn


    Prior to the introduction of late fees, there used to be a section 271F under which a penalty of Rs. 5,000 was leviable by the Assessing Officer if the return is filed after the expiry of the relevant assessment year. This section has since been withdrawn after introduction of section 234F.


    2. No loss can be carried forward: As discussed above in section 139(3) read with section 80, if return is not filed within the due date as specified in section 139(1), losses under the head "Profits and gains of business or profession" or under the head "Capital gains" cannot be carried forward. However, loss from house property and unabsorbed depreciation can be carried forward even if a return is filed belated.


    3. No deduction under chapter VI-A: With effect from 1st April, 2018 if a return is not filed within the due date specified in section 139(1) then no deduction under any provisions of Chapter VI-A under the heading "C.—Deductions in respect of certain incomes" shall be allowed. Part-C of Chapter VI-A covers Section 80H to Section 80TTB.


    4.  Interest under section 234A is payable: Where the return of income for any assessment year is furnished after the due date specified in section 139(1) then the assessee shall be liable to pay simple interest at the rate of one per cent for every month or part of a month comprised in the period commencing on the date immediately following the due date to the date of filing of return. In this context, it should be noted that interest is payable only when tax is payable. No interest is payable if there is a refund.


    5. No interest on refund u/s 244A: In case of belated filing of return, the period of delay is attributed to the assessee and hence no interest for that period of delay is allowed on the amount of refund under section 244A.


    For example, if the due date to file the return is 31st July and the return is filed by that date then interest on refund will be computed from the 1st day of April of the assessment year. However, if the return is filed in December, then interest will be computed from December to the date of refund. No interest will be allowed on the refund amount for the period from 1st April to November.


    6. Penalty under section 272A:  If any person fails-

    (i) to furnish the return of income which he is required to furnish under section 139(4A) or 139(4C) or 

    (ii) to furnish it within the time allowed and in the manner required under those sub-sections,

    he shall pay, by way of penalty, a sum of Rs. 100 for every day during which the failure continues. [Section 272(2)(e)]


    This penalty provision is applicable only for persons required to furnish return under section 139(4A) or section 139(4C) only. This penalty can be imposed by the Joint Commissioner.


    Further, under section 272A(4), no order of penalty u/s 272(A)(e) shall be passed by the income-tax authority unless the person on whom the penalty is proposed to be imposed is given an opportunity of being heard in the matter by such authority. 


    This penalty is in addition to late fee leviable under section 234F. While late fee is payable before filing the return and is automatic for delay in filing the return, the penalty is payable only after it is being imposed. 


    7. Prosecution under section 276CC: Section 276CC provides for imprisonment in case of wilful failure to file the return of income as per section 139(1) or  in response to a notice issued under section 142(1)(i) or section 148 or section 153A.


    The period of punishment which is linked to tax evaded is given below-

    Where the amount of tax evaded exceeds Rs. 25,00,000

    Rigorous Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 6 months but which may extend to 7 years and with fine

    In any other case

    Rigorous Imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 3 months but which may extend to 2 years and with fine


    However, a person shall not be proceeded against under section 276CC for failure to furnish in due time the return of income under section 139(1), if:

    (a) the return is furnished by such person before the expiry of the assessment year; or

    (b) the tax payable by such person (excluding a company) on the total income determined on regular assessment, as reduced by advance tax, self-assessment tax  if any, paid before the expiry of the assessment year, and TDS/TCS, if any, does not exceed Rs. 10,000.


    A person if furnishes the return of income before the end of the relevant assessment year, then such person shall not be prosecuted. This time limit coincides with the time limit given for filing of the belated return.


    8. CBDT’s power to condone the delay: Section 119(2)(b) empowers the CBDT to condone the delay in furnishing the return of income after a letter for condonation in delay is filed with the income-tax authority as per detailed guideline given in Circular No. 9/2015 dated 09.06.2015. Such condonation is given for 6 assessment years for claiming refund and carry forward of loss and set-off thereof. 


    9. Disallowance under section 43B: As per section 43B, there are certain expenses which are allowed on payment basis. If such expenses are incurred in a previous yer and paid on or before the due date of filing of return u/s 139(1), then the same will be allowed in the same previous year. If the same are paid after the due date of furnishing the return u/s 139(1) then the same shall be allowed as deduction in the year in which these expenses are paid. 


    Revised Return [Section 139(5)]


    According to section 139(5), if any person, having furnished a return under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4), discovers any omission or any wrong statement therein, he may furnish a revised return at any time before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.


    Therefore, a revised return can be in the following circumstances-


    1. Returns that can be revised: A return can be revised only if a return is filed under section 139(1) [timely filing of return] or under section 139(4) [belated filing of return]. Prior to 01.04.17, only a return filed under section 139(1) was allowed to be revised. A belated return was not allowed to be revised. However, Finance Act, 2016 has amended the provision to allow a belated return to be revised.


    Further, prior to 01.04.2017, a return filed in pursuance of a notice issued under section 142(1) was allowed to be revised. However, w.e.f. 01.04.2017, a return furnished in pursuance of a notice issued under sub-section (1) of section 142 cannot be revised.


    2. Time Limit to file revised return: A return can be revised at any time after filing the original return but upto the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.


    Note: Assessment means assessment under section 143(3) or under section 144. An intimation under section 143(1) is not an assessment. Hence, a return can be revised even after the issue of Intimation u/s 143(1).


    For example, if a return for the previous year 2019-20 is filed on 31st July, the return can be revised till 31st March 2021. However, if the assessment is completed on 20th February, 2021, then the return can be revised upto 20th February, 2021 and not March 31, 2021.


    3. No limit for filing revised return: A return can be revised for any number of times but within the prescribed time limit. Hence, a revised return can be further revised. In this case, the latest revised return filed replaces all the returns filed earlier. [Niranjan Lal Ram Chandra v CIT (1982) 134 ITR 352 (All)]


    4. When return can be revised: A return can be revised when the person who has filed the return of income discovers any omission or any wrong statement therein.


    Notes:

     

    1. Revise return replaces original or earlier revised return-  Once a revised return is filed, it replaces the original return. If a revised return is further filed, it replaces the earlier revised return. Once, a revised Return is filed, the originally filed return must be taken to have been withdrawn and substituted by the Revised Return. [Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd. vs CIT (1973) 90 ITR 236 (All)]

     

    2. Belated return can also be revised- From 01.04.2017, even a belated return filed u/s 139(4) can be revised.

     

    3. Date of revised return is the date of original return- If a return is revised u/s 139(5), then the date of furnishing the return shall be the date of the original return. For example, if the original return is filed on or before the due date and the same is revised after the due date, there will be no late fees u/s 234F since the original return was filed within the time limit.

     

    4. Return filed under section 139(4A) can be revised- A return furnished under section 139(4A) by a charitable and a religious trust is a return filed under section 139(1) and hence the same can be revised under section 139(5). Similar principles will apply for sections 139(4B) to 139(4F).

     

    5. Return filed within the extended due date: A return filed within the extended due date by the CBDT under an order issued under section 119 shall be a return filed within the due date specified in section 139(1). Therefore, such a return can be revised under section 139(5). [Hargovind Damji vs. CIT (2003) 259 ITR 617 (Guj)]

     

    6. Intimation under Section 143(1) is not an assessment order: The intimation under Section 143(1) (a) cannot be treated to be an order of assessment. [Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax vs. Rajesh Jhaveri Stock Brokers (P) Ltd. 291 ITR 500 (SC)]. The issuance of the intimation under Section 143(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 does not amount to completion of the assessment within the meaning of section 139(5) which bars the assessee from revising its return of income. [Tata Metaliks Ltd. vs. CIT-III, Kolkata (ITA No. 301 of 2005) (Cal-HC)]

     

    7. Filing of revised return after time limit in case of amalgamation: Sections 139(5) and 119(2)(b) of the Income Tax Act, as well as the Circular No. 9/2015 issued by the CBDT, are not applicable to a case where a revised Return of Income has been filed pursuant to a Scheme of Arrangement and Amalgamation, which has been approved and sanctioned by the NCLT. [Dalmia Power Ltd. vs ACIT (Civil Appeal Nos.949699 Of 2019) (SC)]

     

    8. Revise return can be filed only for omission or wrong statements::A revised return can be filed only in case of ‘omission or wrong statements’ and not for ‘concealment or false statements’. Such omission or wrong statements must be due to a bonafide mistake and must have been discovered by the assessee himself. [Sunanda Ram Deka vs CIT (1994) 210 ITR 988 (Gau)]. If the omission or wrong statement is discovered by the assessing officer as a result of enquiry and thereafter a revised return is furnished, that will not amount to a revised return as contemplated by section 139(5) [F.C. Agarwal vs. CIT (1976) 102 ITR 408 (Gau), affirmed in (1990) 186 ITR 571 (SC)]. If some income was concealed in the original return and revised return disclosing such income is filed after the assessing officer has unearthed such undisclosed income then penalty can be levied. Also see CIT vs. Haji P. Mohammed (1981) 132 ITR 623 (Ker).

     

    9. Revised return can be filed after issue of notice u/s 143(2): There is no bar / restriction that an assessee cannot file a revised return of income after issuance of notice u/s 143(2). A revised return of income can be filed even in the course of the assessment proceedings provided the time limit prescribed u/s 139(5) is available. [Mahesh H. Hinduja vs. ITO (ITA No. 176/Mum/2017) (Mum-Trib.)]

     

    10. Audit report not filed with the original return can be filed with the revised return filed under section 139(5). [CIT vs. Sri Baldeoji Maharaj Trust (1983) 142 ITR 584 (All)] Also see [CIT vs. Rai Bahadur Biseswarlal Matilal Malwasie Trust, (1992) 195 ITR 825 (Cal)]

     

    11. Revised return must be filed in the prescribed form: A Letter addressed to the assessing officer informing him that certain items of income not mentioned in the original return be taken to be the income of the assessee would not constitute a proper revised return under section 139(5) [Woman Padmanabh Dande v CIT (1952) 22 ITR 339 (Nag)]/ Assessee cannot revise his return by way of filing a revised statement of income, after filing original return. In the absence of revised return as prescribed under section 139(5), the Assessing Officer is bound to make the assessment as per the original return. [Orissa Rural Housing Development Corporation Ltd. vs. ACIT (2012) 343 ITR 316 (Orissa-HC)]

     

    12. New loss or higher loss can be claimed in revised return: Where a return of loss is filed under section 139(3) within the time allowed under section 139(1) and such loss is increased in the revised return, such higher loss will be eligible for being carried forward. [CIT vs. Periyar District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd. (2004) 266 ITR 705 (Mad)].

     

    Where a return of income is furnished under section 139(1) and the same is revised within the period prescribed under section 139(5) with the amount of loss, the claim for carry forward of speculation loss raised for first lime in revised return is allowed. [PCIT v Babubhai Ramanbltai Patel (2017) 249 Taxman 470 (Guj)

     


    Returns by certain persons


    Sub-section (4A) to (4F) of section 139 requires the following persons to furnish a return in the specified circumstances and once a return is furnished under these sub-sections it shall be deemed to be a return filed under section 139(1).


    SectionsPersonsSpecified circumstances
    139(4A)Charitable or Religious TrustsIf the total income exceeds the basic exemption limit without giving effect of section 11 nd 12
    139(4B)Political PartyIf the total income exceeds the basic exemption limit without giving effect of section 13A
    139(4C)(a) research association u/s 10(21)
    (b) news agency u/s 10(22B)
    (c) association or institution u/s 10(23A)
    (ca) person referred to in section 10(23AAA)
    (d) institution referred to in section 10(23B)
    (e) fund or institution referred to in section 10(23C)(iv) or trust or institution referred to in 10(23C)(v) or any university or other educational institution referred to in section 10(23C)(iiiab) or section 10(23C)(iiiad) or section 10(23C)(vi) or any hospital or other medical institution referred to in section 10(23C) (iiiac) or section 10(23C)(iiiae) or section 10(23C)(via)
    (ea) Mutual Fund u/s 10(23D)
    (eb) securitisation trust u/s 10(23DA)
    (eba) Investor Protection Fund u/s 10(23EC)/u/s 10(23ED)
    (ebb) Core Settlement Guarantee Fund u/s 10(23EE)
    (ec) venture capital company or venture capital fund u/s 10(23FB)
    (f) trade union or association u/s 10(24)
    (fa) Board or Authority u/s 10(29A)
    (g) body or authority or Board or Trust or Commission (by whatever name called) u/s 10(46)
    (h) infrastructure debt fund u/s 10(47)
    If the total income exceeds the basic exemption limit without giving effect of section 10
    139(4D)University, College or institutions u/s 35(1)(ii)/(iii)Which are not required to furnish return of income or loss under any provisions of the Act, shall furnish the return of income under this section.
    139(4E)Business TrustWhich is not required to furnish return of income or loss under any provisions of the Act, shall furnish the return of income under this section.
    139(4F)Investment Fund u/s 115UBWhich is not required to furnish return of income or loss under any provisions of the Act, shall furnish the return of income under this section.


    Defective Returns [Section 139(9)]


    Where any return furnished by an assessee under any provisions of the Income Tax Act and the Assessing Officer finds that the return so furnished is defective then the Assessing Officer shall intimate the assessee about the defect and is duty-bound to provide an opportunity to the assessee and to rectify the defect within a period of 15 days from the date of intimation. The period of 15 days may be extended by the Assessing Officer on receipt of an application in this regard.


    On receipt of such intimation, the assessee shall rectify the defect in the return. If the assessee fails to rectify the defect within the period of 15 days or such extended period then the return shall be treated as an invalid return and it shall be deemed that no return has been furnished by the assessee and all the provisions of the Income Tax Act shall apply to the assessee for non-filing of return.


    However, if the assessee rectifies the defect after the expiry of the 15 days period or such extended period but before the assessment is completed then the Assessing Officer has the power to condone the delay. Once condonation is granted, the return shall be treated as a valid return.


    What constitutes a defective return


    In simple terms, a defective return is an incomplete return. The explanation to section 139(9) states that a return shall be treated as defective if it fails to fulfil all the following conditions-


    (a) If the annexures, statements and columns in the return of income relating to-

    Computation of income under each head of income,

    Computation of gross total income, and

    Computation of total income 

    are not duly filled in.


    (b) If the return is not accompanied by a computation of tax payable.


    (c) If the return is not accompanied by the Tax Audit Report under section 44AB and where such report is already furnished before furnishing the return, the acknowledgement thereof.


    (d) If the return of income is not accompanied by tax challans (advance tax, self-assessment tax, etc.) and TDS/TCS certificates,


    (e) Where regular books of accounts are maintained by the assessee, the return is not accompanied by the following documents-

    (i) Manufacturing/Trading account, Profit and Loss account and the Balance Sheet,

    (ii) In case of a proprietary business or profession, the personal account of the proprietor,

    (iii) In case of a firm, AoP and BoI, the personal accounts of the partners or members,

    (iv) In case of a partner of a firm, his personal account in the firm,

    (v) In case of a member of an AoP or BoI, his personal account in the AoP or BoI.


    (f) Where the accounts of the assessee is audited, the return is not accompanied by a copy of the Auditors’ Report including Cost Audit Report, if applicable.


    (g) Where regular books of accounts are not maintained by the assessee, the return is not accompanied by a statement showing the followings-

    Amount of turnover or gross receipts,

    Amount of expenses

    Amount of net profit,

    Amount of sundry debtors.

    Amount of sundry creditors,

    Amount of stock-in-trade, and

    Cash balance as at the end of the previous year


    The above requires that the documents and annexures must be enclosed with the return else the return will be treated as defective. It should be noted that these provisions were made at the time when the return was furnished in paper mode. Presently, returns are furnished electronically and under the online filing of return, no documents etc are required to be annexed with the return of income or loss. Online returns have been made annexure-less. Section 139C read with Rule 12(2) of the Income Tax Rules, 1962 states that the return of income required to be furnished in Form SAHAJ (ITR-1) or Form No. ITR-2 or Form No. ITR-3 or Form SUGAM (ITR-4) or Form No. ITR-5 or Form No. ITR-6 or Form No. ITR-7 shall not be accompanied by-

    a statement showing the computation of the tax payable on the basis of the return, or

    TDS/TCS certificates, or 

    Advance tax or self-assessment tax challans, or 

    Any document or copy of any account or form, or 

    Copy of Auditors Report.


    It is further provided that where an assessee is required to furnish an audit report under-

    section 10(23)(iv)/(v)/(vi)/(via), 

    section 10A, 

    section 10AA, 

    section 12A(1)(b), 

    section 44AB , 

    section 44DA, 

    section 50B, 

    section 80-IA, section 80-IB, section 80-IC, section 80-ID, 

    section 80JJAA, section 80LA, 

    section 92E, 

    section 115JB, section 115JC or section 115VW or 

    to give a notice under section 11(2)(a) 

    he shall furnish the same electronically.


    Note: Finance Act, 2013 had amended the Explanation to section 139(9) so as to provide that the return of income shall be regarded as defective unless the tax together with interest, if any, payable in accordance with the provisions of section 140A (self-assessment tax) is paid on or before the date of furnishing of the return. This provision was omitted by the Finance Act, 2016 w.e.f. 04.04.2017.

     

    The defects specified in Section 139(9) are only illustrative and not exhaustive. [CIT vs. Rai Bahadur Biseswarlal Matilal Malwasie Trust (1992) 195 ITR 825 (Cal)]


    Circular No. 281 of 1980 dated 22.09.1980

     

    A return of income is to be regarded as defective only if it contains any of the defects referred to in the Explanation to section 139(9). In other words, the provision in section 139(9) will not be applicable in the case of returns which do not contain any of these specified defects.

     

    The provision makes a distinction between a defective return and an invalid return. A defective return is not ipso facto to be regarded as an invalid return. It is only when a return contains any of the specified defects and the Income-tax Officer, in his discretion, intimates the defect to the assessee and the assessee fails to rectify the same within the specified period of 15 days or such further period as the Income-tax Officer may, on an application made in this behalf, allow that the return shall be treated as an invalid return. In this connection, a reference may be made to section 292B which, inter alias, provides that no return of income shall be invalid merely by reason of mistake, defect or omission in such return of income. The provision in section 139(9), however, overrides other provisions of the Income-tax Act (including section 292B) in this regard and in a case where any of the specified defects is not removed within the time allowed, the return shall be treated as invalid return and the provisions of the Income-tax Act shall apply as if the assessee had failed to furnish the return.

     

    The defect intimated by the Income-tax Officer is ordinarily required to be rectified by the assessee within a period of 15 days from the date of intimation. Where the Income-tax Officer sends written communication to the assessee by post or through notice server, the period of 15 days will have to be reckoned from the date on which the communication is served on the assessee.

     

    Where there is a default in rectifying the defect intimated by the Income-tax Officer, the return of income has to be treated as an invalid return and further proceedings shall have to be taken on the footing that the assessee had failed to furnish the return. Thus, in a case where the return is furnished voluntarily under section 139(1), the Income-tax Officer cannot proceed to make an ex parte assessment under section 144 without serving a notice under section 139(2) or, as the case may be, under section 148. Where, however, the defective return was filed in response to a notice under section 139(2) or section 148, the Income-tax Officer may straightaway proceed to complete the assessment ex parte under section 144 or issue a notice under section 142(1). [Section 139(2) is omitted now.]


    Some important facts on the filing of return


    1. As per Circular No. 639 dated 13-11-1992, where the last day for filing return of income/loss is a day on which the office is closed, the assessee can file the return on the next day afterwards on which the office is open and, in such cases, the return will be considered to have been filed within the specified time limit.


    This circular was relevant when return was furnished in paper mode since one had to physically visit the Income-tax office to submit the return. This has lost significance after the introduction of e-filing of return.


    2. A return filed under any of the provisions of section 139 is a voluntary furnishing of return though there is a mandatory requirement to file the return.


    3. An income-tax return filed which is unverified and unsigned is not a valid return in the eye of law. Such a return is an invalid return and thus cannot be revised or be treated as a defective return. [CIT vs. Dr. Krishan Lal Goyal (1984) 148 ITR 283 (P&H)]. Further, in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. CIT (1995) 127 CTR (Cal) 238: (1995) 213 ITR 862 (Cal) the Calcutta High Court has held that the non-signing of a return filed by the assessee would invalidate the return and no assessment thereon is called for and it cannot be said to be a defective return as the specific cases and circumstances indicating when/which return would be defective have been indicated in the explanation to section 139(9) and the Income-tax Officer cannot treat other cases and circumstances of deficiencies fatal to the return as being nearly defects in the return. Accordingly, the unsigned return was held to be invalid and not a case of mere defective return.




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