New Delhi, February 1, 2017

As with the presentation of the Union Budget 2017, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley made it easier for the small tax-payers, the budget has however proposed a fee for delayed filing of income tax return. If the income tax return is furnished after the due date but on or before the December 31 of the assessment year, there will be a fine of Rs 5,000 imposed. In other cases, there will be an imposition of a fine of Rs 10,000.

However, in a case where the total income does not exceed Rs 5 lakh, the Budget proposed that the fee amount shall not exceed Rs 1,000.

“In order to ensure that return is filed within due date, it is proposed to insert a new section 234F in the Act (I-T Act) to provide that a fee for delay in furnishing of return shall be levied for assessment year 2018-19 and onwards in a case where the return is not filed within the due dates specified for filing of return under sub-section (1) of section 139,” the memorandum for the Finance Bill 2017 said.

It specified two levels of penalty in this regard: “A fee of five thousand rupees shall be payable, if the return is furnished after the due date but on or before December 31 of the assessment year and a fee of ten thousand rupees shall be payable in any other case.”

Individuals having taxable income up to Rs 5 lakh can just fill up a simple one-page form for filing their tax returns.

“When too many people evade taxes the burden of their share falls on those who are honest and compliant. We are now tightening our noose around tax evaders and that money is coming to exchequer, so we are trying to reward the honest tax payers,” Jaitley said at the post-budget press conference.

In the Budget for 2017-18, the government has sought to lower the tax burden on small tax payers with income in the lowest slab of Rs 2.5-5 lakh by halving their tax rate to 5 per cent.

“The other aim was also that small taxpayers should get benefits and their purchasing power is increased. Those who are outside the tax net, we have incentivised that section and made it attractive for them to come under tax net by paying 5 per cent tax up to Rs 5 lakh income, filing one page ITR and no scrutiny,” he said.

To ease the compliance burden on small traders, Jaitley also proposed to increase the threshold limit for audit of business entities who opt for presumptive income tax scheme from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore.

[The Financial Express]