You must file your tax return with utmost care to avoid any errors or omissions. But if a mistake does creep in, you still have an opportunity to rectify it.
Taxpayers are usually careful and exercise due diligence while filing income tax (I-T) returns. But sometimes in a rush to file their tax returns within the due date of 31st July (extended to 05th August this year), they end up making mistakes. Some of the common mistakes while filing the (I-T) returns are unclaimed deductions or an income not reported or reported incorrectly. One’s contact details or the bank account given for the refund of taxes could also be wrong. However, if you have filed your return within the due date, then you need not worry as you can revise your return.
A major reason why taxpayers have to revise their returns is that they are not aware of the recent changes in tax rules, which result in incorrect filing of returns. For example, according to the latest tax laws, “this year the taxpayer whose income exceeds Rs 50 lakh per annum had to file a declaration about his/her assets and liabilities. However, only a few taxpayers might have reported this due to their ignorance. In such cases, they still have an opportunity to rectify their mistake by filing a revised return,” says Vaibhav Sankla, Director, H&R Block India.
Who can file revised returns?
Of the many advantages of submitting your I-T returns timely, the most important is that it can be revised. Only those IT returns may be revised which have been filed within the due date. However, “to make your revision process smooth, it’s better not to verify a return – if that has been filed online — you wish to revise. That is because once a return is verified, the Income Tax Department begins processing it. Therefore, correct your errors when you notice them, review your return properly and submit your revised return. You can then verify the revised return,” informs Archit Gupta, founder and CEO, cleartax.com.
So if you notice any error in your tax return after filing it, you better file a revised return correcting the error to avoid any penalty. Income tax laws allow the taxpayers an opportunity to correct the error or omission in their returns by submitting a revised tax return under Section 139(5).
“The provision clearly states that any person who has filed the original tax return on or before the due date can file a revised tax return before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year, or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier. For example, if a person has filed his original return for the financial year 2015-16 within the due date, then he can file a revised return before March 31, 2018 or before the completion of the assessment of the particular financial year, whichever is earlier,” says Nitin Baijal, Director, BMR & Associates LLP.
One good news is that starting the next AY 2017-18, the Income Tax Department has allowed revision of belated returns (returns which are filed after the due date) as well.
How many times can you revise your return?
Let’s consider an example to understand this. If you have filed your tax return for FY 2015-16 on or before 5th August, 2016, then you can file a revised return any number of times up to 31st March 2018. “Though one can revise one’s tax return any number of times, but the facility should be used sparingly as it may increase the chances of your return being selected for scrutiny, especially if it is resulting in large refunds for you. Revision is allowed only if the omission was unintentional, but if you deliberately file a false return, then you will be liable to be imprisoned under Section 277 and the offence will not be condoned by filing a revised return. Further, you may also have to pay 100 to 300 per cent of tax due as penalty for concealing income,” says Sankla.
According to him, in case the revision of original return results in some taxes payable, you may have to pay the interest under Sections 234C & 234B (levied for non-payment of advance taxes), but you will be saved from the interest under Section 234A (levied for non-filing of tax return within due date). You can pay such interest and taxes through Challan No. 280. Also make sure that you enter the details of such challan in the revised return, else it will be considered a defective return owing to additional tax payable.
How to file a revised return?
For filing the revised return, you will be required to enter the acknowledgement number and the date of filing of the original return in the revised form. If you are filing a revised return more than once, then at first and every subsequent revision you will have to enter the acknowledgement number and the date of filing relating to the original return only. You can file a revised return online or through physical mode.
You can revise a return online only if you have filed the original one online and have the 15-digit acknowledgement number of the original return sent to you by the I-T Department. “Your return can be revised with any of the e-filers, irrespective of whether you filed your original return with them or not. Incorporate the omission in your return, then review and check all the fields, including those where there was no change. If the changes result in a tax due, you must pay this tax before submitting your return,” says Gupta.
Verifying your returns
A revised return filed online must be verified. You can verify it via several methods provided by the IT department including netbanking or Aadhaar OTP (One-time Password). You can also send the physical ITR-V to CPC, Bangalore. However, remember to send the ITR-V of the revised return. ITR-V is sent as an attachment by the I-T Department to your registered email ID after you successfully upload/file your return online.
It is always in your best interest to file your original I-T return with utmost care, avoiding the chances of any error or omission. You can, however, still use the opportunity provided by law to rectify mistakes in your return, if any, before it is too late.