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Revision/Reduction in Due Date/Time Limit for Revised and Belated Return, Defective Return u/s 139(9) provisions amended: Finance Bill 2021

revision-reduction-in-due-date-time-limit-for-revised-and-belated-return-defective-return-us-139-9-provisions-amended-finance-bill-2021

Union Budget 2021 has reduced the due date or time limit for filing belated or revised return of income from the existing due dates. The curtailment of due dates of filing of return is applicable for belated return u/s 139(4) and revised return u/s 139(5). An amendment is also proposed for notifying defects or defective returns in Section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (“Act”). 


Finance Bill, 2021 has amended section 139 to this extent.


Extending Due Date for filing return of income under section 139 in some cases


Section 139 of the Act contains provisions in respect of the filing of return of income for different persons or class of persons. The said section also provides the due dates for filing of original, belated and revised returns of income for different classes of assessee.



Sub-sections (4) and (5) of section 139 of the Act contain provisions relating to the filing of belated and revised returns of income respectively. The belated or revised returns under sub-sections (4) and (5) respectively of the said section at present could be filed before the end of the assessment year or before the completion of the assessment whichever is earlier. With the massive technological upgrade in the Department where the processes under the  Act are moving towards becoming faceless and jurisdiction-less,  the time taken to conduct and complete such processes has greatly reduced. Therefore, it is proposed that the last date for filing of belated or revised returns of income, as the case may be, be reduced by three months. Thus the belated return or revised return could now be filed three months before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. 


Sub-section (9) of section 139 of the Act lays down the procedure for curing a defective return. It provides that in case a return of income is found to be defective, the Assessing Officer will intimate the defect to the assessee and give him a period of 15 days or more to rectify the said defect and if the defect is not rectified within the said period, the return shall be treated as an invalid return and the assessee will be considered to have never filed a return of income. The Explanation to the sub-section lists the conditions in which a certain return of income shall be considered to be defective.  Representations have been received that the aforesaid conditions create difficulties for both the taxpayer and the Department, as a large number of returns become defective by application of the said conditions. This has resulted in a number of grievances. It has been represented that the conditions given in the said Explanation may be relaxed in genuine cases. Therefore, it is proposed that a proviso be inserted to the said Explanation empowering the Board to specify, vide notification that any of the above conditions shall not apply for a class of assessee or shall apply with such modifications, as may be specified in such notification. 


These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will accordingly apply to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.



For this purpose, Clause 32 of the Finance Bill, 2021 has amended Section 139 as follows-


Amendment of section  139.


32. In section 139 of the Income-tax Act,––


(a) ….


(b)  in  sub-section  (4),  for  the  words  “return  for  any previous year at any time before”, the words “a return for any previous year at any time within three months prior to” shall be substituted; 


(c) in sub-section (5), for the words “he may furnish a revised return at any time”, the words “he may furnish a revised return at any time within three months” shall be substituted; 


(d) in sub-section (9), in the Explanation, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:–

 

“Provided that the Board may, by notification in the Official  Gazette,  specify that any of the conditions specified in clauses (a) to (f) to the Explanation shall not apply to such class of assessees or shall apply with such modifications, as may be specified in such notification.”.


Amended Provisions of Section 139 Explained


Clause 32 of the Bill seeks to amend section 139 of the Income-tax Act relating to return of income. 


The said section provides for the filing of return of income for different persons or class of persons and time-limits for doing so. 


It is also proposed to amend sub-section (4) of the said section so as to provide that any person who has not furnished a return of income within the due date as per sub-section (1) of the said section may furnish a return for any previous year at any time within three months prior to the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier. 


It is also proposed to amend sub-section (5) of the said section so as to provide that a return of income filed under sub-sections (1) or (4) can be revised at any time within three months prior to the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.   


It is also proposed to insert proviso before the Explanation to sub-section (9) of the said section so as to provide that the Board may specify, by notification, that any of the conditions specified in clauses (a) to (f) of the said Explanation shall not apply to such class of assessees or shall apply with such modifications, as may be specified in such notification. 


These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will, accordingly, apply in relation to the assessment year 2021-2022 and subsequent assessment years. 



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