How to file income tax returns for the previous years


Every year, the Government of India fixes 31st July as the deadline for filing income tax returns. Salaried individuals, businessmen, companies,and those operating partnership firms should file their ITRs (income tax returns) within this deadline. For auditable businesses and companies, the annual deadline for filing ITR is 30th September.

However, most of us miss out to file returns for various reasons. The government has given a provision for those of us who miss filing returns within the specified deadlines. For the current year, you can file returns for up to two previous years that you have missed out.

Unfortunately, you can file returns for beyond two years unless the IT Department asks you to do the same. When you file previous returns, you might have to pay additional interest charges (a penalty). These interest charges are allowed under Sections 234A, 234B and 234C.

How to file income tax returns for the previous years

Steps for filing income tax returns for the previous year are as follows

  • Open the website,
  • Login by registering with permanent account number (PAN).
  • View the form 26 AS or Tax credit statement. This form 26 AS should tally with TDS in form 16.
  • Download the income tax returns forms.
  • Choose the appropriate financial
  • Appropriate income tax return form should be downloaded.
  • Click on “calculate ”
  • After the calculation of the tax check the tax payable in the account.
  • After checking, pay the tax and complete the challan details.
  • Upon payment of tax click on “validate” and verify all the details.
  • After finishing the verification make an XML file of the same and save.
  • Once after saving the XML file upload the same in the upload panel.
  • After uploading you must digitally sign the form; if you have a digital signature click “yes” and if not, click “No”
  • After the whole process is completed the income tax return verification (ITR-V) should be downloaded.
  • The last step is to take a print out of the ITR-V and sign it in blue ink and submit the same within 120 days, to the IT department.

Penalty charges for late filing

Usually, you will be charged 1% interest for late filing of ITRs.  However, a brief idea about other conditions related to late filing is explained here:

  • For late filing – Rs.5000 as per Section 271F; Penalty as per Section 276CC is also applicable in rare instances
  • When the tax amount is less than 25lakhs – Imprisonment term of 3months to 2 years, as applicable
  • When the tax amount is more than 25lakhs – Imprisonment term of 6months to 7 years, as applicable

When you are filing returns for previous years, you have to do it with caution, because unlike current year’s returns, it is not possible to revise these previous returns.  File your returns on time to avoid these penalty charges and unnecessary, embarrassing situations in future. If you are not equipped to file your own returns, you can also take the help of auditors, tax consultants and other agents who are qualified to do the same. You might have to pay them a little extra, though, to get your job done.

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  1. Ali Imam says

    Hi Mohammad, very resourceful article. Much needed content for many taxpayers, especially the late bloomers. Keep on sharing, Thank you.

  2. Binod Jha says

    Thanks! For sharing Tax filling. I would suggest your article if anyone will have a problem with IT filing. Keep sharing such informative article with us!