More than 34 million people filed their income tax returns (ITR) for assessment year (AY) 2018-19, till 31 July 2018, according to data available on income tax department’s e-filing website. The number must have increased by now with the due date to file ITR being extended to 31 August. If you are one of the people who have filed your return on time, but in the hurry to meet the deadline made a mistake while doing it, like mentioning an incorrect bank account or forgetting to disclose certain incomes, you need to file a revised return.
When you need to file a revised return?
If you discover any mistake or omission in the ITR you have filed, you are allowed to file a revised return under Section 139(5) of the Income Tax Act, 1961. “Returns can be revised to correct errors that might have happened in the earlier return filed or to include information that one inadvertently missed out providing earlier,” said Archit Gupta, chief executive officer and co-founder, Cleartax.in.
These mistakes can be omission or wrong reporting of any income or deductions, non-disclosure of assets and liabilities at the year-end in case income exceeds Rs50 lakh, non-disclosure of foreign income and foreign assets, filing of the wrong ITR form and so on. But each of these can be rectified in a revised return.
“Typically, in a rush to meet deadline(s), many taxpayers end up making some errors or omission while filing their tax returns. Mistakes might occur as a result of limited knowledge of the provisions of tax laws or due to lack of accurate information available at the time of filing the original tax return,” said Akhil Chandna, director, Grant Thornton India LLP.
Remember after an amendment in tax laws from the current AY, i.e., 2018-19, the window to file a revised ITR is open till the end of the relevant AY or before the assessment of return by the tax department, whichever is earlier. In other words, return filed for AY 2018-19 can be revised till 31 March 2019, or before the assessment happens, whichever is earlier.
“Mistakes might occur as a result of limited knowledge or due to lack of accurate information available at the time of filing… Filing a revised tax return may increase the chances of tax return being picked up for a detailed scrutiny assessment,” says Akhil Chandna.
Till last AY, i.e. 2017-18, returns were allowed to be revised till the end of one year from the end of the relevant AY. Therefore, a return filed for AY 2017-18 can also be revised till 31 March 2019, provided it was filed before the due date. Earlier a belated return (filed after the due date) was not allowed to be revised; now there is no such provision.
Consequences of filing a revised return
“There are no specific consequences of filling a revised return except that during the course of assessment proceedings, the tax officer may inquire about the reason of revised return,” said Sumit Maheshwari, partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.
While small changes like rectification of personal details or updating bank account details may not lead to any scrutiny by the taxman, significant changes from the income declared, or deductions or expenses claimed in the earlier return may be picked up by the department. “Filing a revised tax return may increase the chances of tax return being picked up for a detailed scrutiny assessment,” said Chandna.
“Returns can be revised to correct errors that might have happened in the earlier return filed or to include information that one inadvertently missed out providing earlier… The mode of filing and method of verification is similar to that for original return,” said Archit Gupta.
But if you have a genuine reason, there’s no need to worry. “One should be wary of reducing drastically the income offered to tax; else it may attract the department’s attention. However, as long as you have a genuine case and can justify your claim before the authorities; this is not a cause for worry,” said Gupta.
How to file a revised return?
“The mode of filing and method of verification for a revised return is similar to that for an original return. The only difference being the revised return will carry the changes proposed to be made and also details of the earlier return filed i.e. date of filing of earlier return and the acknowledgement number,” said Gupta.
There is no restriction on the number of times a return can be revised, provided it fulfils the stipulated criterion. However, one has to file the revised return in the same mode in which the original return was filed. That means if the original return was filed electronically, the revised return too has to be filed electronically. Similarly, if the original return was filed physically, the revised return should also be filed physically.
There is no separate form to file a revised return, but make sure you tick the space that specifies that this is a revised return. Also, mention the acknowledgement number of the original return. Once a revised ITR is filed, the original or the previous return is deemed to be withdrawn.