Section 139 of the Income Tax Act

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Section 139 of the Income Tax Act deals with late income tax returns filing. So, if an individual fails to file an income tax return in the given timeline, section 139 becomes applicable. Here we will discuss all the subsections of section 139 and various conditions related to this section and its subsections.

Different Subsections of Section 139 of the Income Tax Act, 1961

Various subsections of section 139 deal with different types of income tax returns that can be filed under it. A quick overview of these subsections is mentioned below:

Section 139(1) - Mandatory and Voluntary Returns:

This subsection of section 139 closely deals with mandatory and voluntary filing of the income tax returns by the taxpayers:

  • Mandatory Returns: The taxpayers who are needed to file mandatory income tax returns are mentioned below:
    • Any LLP or Limited Liability Partnership and unlimited liability partnership.
    • Any domestic, private, public, or domestic company.
    • Any individual whose total income is exceeding the tax exemption limit.
  • Voluntary Returns: If it is not mandatory for an individual to file an income tax return, then the income tax filed by that person is termed as a voluntary return. In this way, voluntary returns are also known as valid returns of the income tax.

Note: As per section 139(1C) of the Income Tax, some people are exempted from income tax filing. However, this is possible only when people of such classes fulfill some mentioned conditions, then the Central Government can grant them exemption of tax.

Section 139 (3) - Loss Return:

If a firm or company encounters loss, then section 139(3) deals with its income tax return.

  • If the incurred loses fall in any income under the head ‘Capital Gains’ or the head ‘Profits and Gains of Business and Profession’, then the income tax return should be filed before the due date provided under section 139(1).

Below are the heads that will not be affected by delayed income tax returns filing:

  • Any loss that is occurred by the unabsorbed property as mentioned in section 139(3).
  • Any loss incurred in the heads of ‘House and Residential Property’.

Section 139 (4) - Income Tax Return Late Filing:

This section deals with late income tax return filing. The provisions of this act are described below:

  • The taxpayers are eligible to file Income Tax Guide returns at later stages within 1 year from the completion of assessment year according to section 144.
  • The taxpayers who are filing an income tax return late may have to pay a penalty of Rs.5, 000 as mentioned under Section 271F of the Income Tax Act, 1961. However, there will be no penalty on returns that were not needed to be mandatorily filed according to Section 139(1).

Section 139 (5) - Revised Return:

This section deals with the revised income tax returns in the situation of any mistakes made while filing the initial income tax returns. The provisions of this section are:

  • If the initial or original income tax returns filed by the assessee or an entity according to section 139(1), then he/she is eligible to file a revised tax return within 1 year following the relent assessment year’s termination or before the conclusion or completion of the assessment, whichever takes place first.
  • Any late tax return is not eligible for revision. But, any loss of return which was filed under the mentioned due date as prescribed in Section 139(1) can be easily revised.

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

An individual whose income is received from the property that is occupied by a religious trust or a public charity and claims exemptions of tax under section 11 and 12 of the Income Tax Act are needed to file income tax returns, provided that the collected sum of income before the provisions as per section 11 and section 12 is beyond the basic allowed limit for the income tax exemption.

Section 139 (4b) - Political Party’s Return of Income:

A political party is needed to file the income tax return, but that the total income’s sum collected by that political party is beyond the basic allowed limit for exemption without taking any benefit mentioned under section 13A into consideration.

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

Section 139(4C) and 139(4D) deal with some specific institutions that claim privileges under the provision of Section 10. According to these sections, any institution is mandatorily needed to file its tax returns provided that the sum of income gained by the institution in question is more than the basic allowed exemption limit, without considering any other benefits of exemptions.

Section 139(9) - Defective Returns:

According to the provisions of Section 139 (9), an income tax return is considered as defective when some specific documents are not attached or provided with the income tax return. If an income tax officer considers any tax return defective, he/she informs the concerned taxpayer and the taxpayer is required to rectify all the defects within 15 days starting from the intimation day. However, this allowed period could be extended by the written request from the taxpayer. The defect is intimated to the taxpayer via a simple letter.

Section 139(4e):

This section of the income tax act is to furnish the income tax returns by businesses trusts that are not required to furnish the return for loss or profit following other provisions as per section 139 (4e).

Income Tax Filing - Due Dates

Section 139 of the income tax act has different sub-sections that consider various kinds of the income tax return filed by various individuals for late payments and other mistakes. Here are the due dates needed to file the income tax returns:

  • 31st July: Any individual who does not want an audit to be conducted for his/her account’s books are needed to file the income tax return by 31st July of every assessment year. The individuals who are considered under this are:
    • Any individual who is self-employed
    • An employee or a person who is paid with a wage
    • Any freelancer or consultant
  • 30th September: All the individuals who want an audit of their account books should file their income tax returns on 30th September n each assessment year. The list of individuals that might come under this section are:
    • Any professional or self-employed person
    • Any business entity
    • A consultant or working partner who is employed with a company and needs an audit to be performed on her/his books of accounts.
  • ITR 7 Form: The income tax department has made Form ITR 7 for institutions, entities, or individuals who want to file an income tax return under Section 139 (4a), Section 139 (4b), Section 139 (4c), and Section 139 (4d). The taxpayers are requested to match their tax value as collected, deducted, or paid amounts with Form 26AS. This form can be filed with the Income Tax department with any of the following manners:
    • Electronic filing with the use of digital signature
    • Filing a paper form
    • Furnishing income tax return which is bar-coded
    • Electronic transmission of data followed by submission of verification’s return in the Form ITR - V.

FAQs on Section 139 of Income Tax

Question 1: Mention the advantages of filing income tax return?

Answer: Mentioned below are the advantages of filing the income tax return:

  • A taxpayer can easily apply for loans.
  • It is an essential document for filing the visa.
  • If an income tax return is filed on time, then there no penalty is levied.
  • Returns help to carry forward the losses.

Question 2: Is it possible to file income tax manually?

Answer: No, there is no provision of filing income tax manually.

Question 3: Provide the list of different forms through which one can file an income tax return?

Answer: The category of a person according to Financial Year 2017 - 18:

  • HUF and Individuals - ITR 1, 2, 3, 4 (as per specific conditions)
  • Firm - ITR 4
  • LLP and other cases - ITR 5
  • Company - ITR 6
  • Political Party/ Trust / Specific Institutions/ Some Specific Institutions/ Investment Fund/ Business Trust - ITR 7

Question 4: What is the meaning of completion of assessment?

Answer: After successfully filing the income tax return, a department of income tax carries out the process of examination. This examination by the tax authorities is known as Assessment of Returns.

Question 5: Specify the URL where these forms are available

Answer: The income tax forms are available at the following website:

www dot incometaxindiaefiling dot gov dot in/downloads