Failure to file Income Tax Returns: Fine or Jail?

Yes, it’s time for the spying eye of the taxman! The last date to file your I-T returns for the year 2018-19 is July 31. It is most likely that date might get extended like the previous years. But what about in case of Failure to file IT Returns?

The exemption limit is Rs 5 lakh. But, if you have splurged Rs 2 lakh on a trip abroad or have electricity bills running up to Rs 1 crore a year, then you must file your income tax return.

Failure to file IT Returns would result in –

In case you miss the last date, the I-T returns can be filed even during 2019-20 (till March 31, 2020). But please note that you will have to pay a hefty fine for not filing within the due date.

For instance, if the I-T returns are filed by December 31 a fine of Rs 5,000 is levied and if it is filed on January 1 and March 31, 2020, a fine of Rs 10,000 is applicable. For people whose income is lesser than Rs 5 lakh, the fine is Rs 1,000.

Also, note that the penalties are not the only financial slaps! There is a lot more as interest on due taxes. You won’t be permitted to carry forward specific losses like capital loss or even loss under income from house property, to the following year.

You can be sent to jail in case you fail to file your income tax return. If the tax due is Rs 25 lakhs and above, then be prepared for a seven-year term.

file income tax on time
The different income tax return forms: which one must you file?

The different income tax return forms: which one must you file?

ITR 1 It is for those who have salaries, have incomes from house or interest; the total annual income is capped at approximately 50 lakhs.

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ITR 2 It is for people who earn from salary or pension; or income from rent; or foreign income; and for NRIs.

ITR 3 It is for those into a business.

ITR 4 This form is for taxpayers who have selected the presumptive income scheme under Sections 44AD, 44ADA, 44AE of the Income Tax Act.

ITR 5 This form is for firms, estates, trusts and endowments and not for individuals.

ITR 6 This one is for charities and religious bodies.

ITR 7 This form is for individuals or even companies which fall under Sections 139 (4A or 4B or 4C or 4D) of the Income Tax Act.


There are numerous websites which can help you in e-filing of I-T return. It is advised to clear the dues rather than paying a fine or spending time in jail.