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Section 139 of Income Tax

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Section 139 of Income Tax

Section 139 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 deals with late filing of income tax returns. If any individual defaults in filing income tax return within the specified deadline, Section 139 will be applicable. In this article, we briefly discuss the several sub-sections under Section 139 of the Income Tax Act which is related to the non-submission of an income tax return by the assessee within the prescribed time limit.

Subsections of Section 139 of Income Tax 

Section 139 consists of various subsections which deal with different types of Income tax returns. These subsections are as follows:

Section 139(1) – Mandatory and Voluntary Returns

Section 139(1) deals with the mandatory and voluntary filing of income tax returns by the taxpayer:

Mandatory Return

The following taxpayers are required to file a mandatory income tax return are listed below:

  • Any private, public, foreign, domestic company.
  • Any Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) and unlimited liability partnership.
  • Any total individual income is exceeding the exemption limit.

Voluntary Return

If the filing of income tax return is not mandatory for an individual, then the income tax filed by that individual will be termed as a voluntary return. Voluntary returns are also considered as valid returns of income tax. Taxpayers should note that within the meaning of Section 139(1c), the notified categories of people are exempted from filing income tax returns. If these classes of people fulfil the prescribed conditions, the central government is empowered to grant them the relevant tax exemptions.

Section 139(3) – Filing Income Tax Return in Case of Loss

Section 139(3) deal with tax returns in case of loss incurred in a company or firm.

If losses are incurred in any income under the head “Profits and Gains of Business and Profession” or the head “Capital Gains”, then income tax return must be filed before the due date mentioned under section 139(1).

The following heads mentioned below will not be affected by the delayed filing of income tax return:

  • Any loss occurred under the heads of “House and residential property”.
  • Any loss occurred by the unabsorbed property as mentioned under section 139(3).

Section 139(4) – Late Filing Income Tax Return

Section 139(4) deals with the late filing of the income tax return. Its provisions have been described below:

  • The taxpayer can file late income tax returns within one year from the end of the assessment year as per Section 144.
  • The taxpayer with late filing of income tax returns may incur a penalty of Rs 5,000 as specified under Section 271F. However, no penalty shall be levied on returns that were not required to be mandatorily filed as per Section 139(1).

Section 139(5) – Revised Return

Section 139(5) deals with a revised income tax return in case of any mistakes while filing the original income tax returns. The following are its provisions:

  • If the original or initial income tax return was filed by the assessee or entity as per Section 139(1), the taxpayer can file a revised income tax return within one year following the termination of the assessment year of relevance or prior to the completion or conclusion of the assessment, depending on which takes place sooner.
  • A late income tax return cannot be revised. However, any loss return that was filed within the prescribed due date as mentioned in Section 139(1) can be revised.

Section 139(4a) – Income Tax Return of Charitable and Religious Trust

Any individual whose income received from the property occupied by a public charity or religious trust and claims tax exemptions under Section 11 and Section 12 of the Income Tax Act are compulsorily required to file their tax returns, provided that the sum of the income collected prior to the provisions under section 11 and Section 12 is beyond the basic limit allowed for an exemption.

Section 139(4B) – Return of Income of a Political Party

Any political party will be required to mandatory file its tax returns provided that the sum of the income collected by the party is beyond the basic limit allowed for exemption without taking into consideration any benefits mentioned under Section 13A.

Section 139(4C) and (4D)- Claiming Exemption under Section 10

Section 139(4C) and Section 139(4D) deals with specific institutions who claim privileges as per the provision of Section 10 of the Income Tax Act 1961. These sections state that an institution is mandatorily required to file its income tax returns provided that the sum of the income collected by the institution in question is beyond the basic limit allowed for exemption, without taking into consideration any other exemption benefits.

Section 139(9) – Defective Returns

As per the provisions under section 139(9), the income tax return is defective when specific documents are not attached to the income tax return. In case the return is considered defective by the tax officer, then the concerned taxpayer will be informed by him and be allowed to rectify the defect within 15 days starting from the day of intimation. In the request from the taxpayer through an application, the allowable period could be extended. The assessing officer intimates the taxpayer about the defect through a simple letter.

Due Dates for Filing Return

Section 139 contains various sub-sections that deal with different kinds of returns filed by different individuals related to late payments and mistakes. Hence, the due dates for filing their income tax returns are prescribed below:

July 31st    

Any individuals who do not need an audit to be conducted for their books of account are required to file income tax returns by July 31, of every assessment year. This includes the following individuals are specified below:

  • A person or employee who is paid with a wage.
  • Any self-employed individual.
  • Any consultant or freelancer.

September 30th

All individuals who require an audit for their books of account must file their tax returns on September 30th of each assessment year.
The following individuals might come under this category:

  • A business entity.
  • A self-employed person or professional.
  • A working partner employed with a firm or a consultant who requires to have an audit performed on his accounting book.

Form ITR 7

Income Tax Department made Form ITR 7 is applicable for all individuals, institutions and entities who require to file a return under Sections 139(4a), 139(4b), 139(4c) and 139(4d).
Taxpayers are suggested to match the tax values as collected, paid or deducted amounts with Form 26AS, the Tax Credit Statement.
ITR-7 could be filed with the Income Tax Department by any of the following manners:

  • Filing in a paper form.
  • Filing electronically using a digital signature.
  • Electronically transmitting data followed by Submission of Verification of return in the Form ITR-V.
  • Furnishing a return that is bar-coded in order to ensure that the information is transmitted in a secure manner

Section 139(4e)

This section is for furnishing return for income by business trusts which are not needed to furnish the return for profit or loss following some other provision under section 139(4e).