Section 139 of the Act contains provisions in respect of the filing of return of income for different persons or class of persons. The said section also provides the due dates for filing of original, belated and revised returns of income for different classes of assessee.
Sub-section (1) of the section provides for the filing of original return of income for an assessment year. The Explanation 2 of the said section specifies the due-dates for filing of original return for different class of persons. The sub-clause (iii) of clause (a) of the said Explanation 2 provides that the due date for filing of original return of income for the partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under the said Act or under any other law for the time being in force shall be 31st day of October of the assessment year.
Belated-revised return period restricted up to 31st December
Sub-sections (4) and (5) of section 139 of the Act contain provisions relating to the filing of belated and revised returns of income respectively. The belated or revised returns under sub-sections (4) and (5) respectively of the said section at present could be filed before the end of the assessment year or before the completion of the assessment whichever is earlier. With the massive technological upgrade in the Department where the processes under the Act are moving towards becoming faceless and jurisdiction-less, the time taken to conduct and complete such processes has greatly reduced. Therefore, it is Proposed that the last date for filing of belated or revised returns of income, as the case may be, be reduced by three months. Thus the belated return or revised return could now be filed three months before the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of the assessment, whichever is earlier.
Defective Return will be treated valid in Some cases
Sub-section (9) of section 139 of the Act lays down the procedure for curing a defective return. It provides that in case a return of income is found to be defective, the Assessing Officer will intimate the defect to the assessee and give him a period of 15 days or more to rectify the said defect and if the defect is not rectified within the said period, the return shall be treated as an invalid return and the assessee will be considered to have never filed a return of income. The Explanation to the subsection lists the conditions in which a certain return of income shall be considered to be defective. Representations have been received that the aforesaid conditions create difficulties for both the taxpayer and the Department, as a large number of returns become defective by application of the said conditions. This has resulted in a number of grievances. It has been represented that the conditions given in the said Explanation may be relaxed in genuine cases. Therefore, it is proposed that a proviso be inserted to the said Explanation empowering the Board to specify, vide notification that any of the above conditions shall not apply for a class of assessee or shall apply with such modifications, as maybe specified in such notification.
Audit under section 92E
Further, in the case of a firm which is required to furnish report from an accountant for entering into international transaction or specified domestic transaction, as per section 92E of the Act, the due date for filing of original return of income is the 30th November of the assessment year. Since the total income of such partner can be determined after the books of accounts of such firm have been finalised, it is proposed that the due date of such partner be extended to 30th November of the assessment year.
Income Tax Return of spouses governed by Portuguese Civil Code
Section 5A of the Act provides for taxation of spouses governed by Portuguese Civil Code. On account of this provision any income earned by a partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited shall be apportioned between the spouses and included in their total income, if the section 5A applies to them. Since the total income of a partner can be determined after the books of accounts of such firm have been finalised, the due dates of partners are already aligned with the due date of the firm. Thus, the due date for filing of original return of income of such partner is 31st October of the assessment year. However, this relaxation is not there for spouse of such partner to whom section 5A of the Act applies. Therefore, it is proposed that the due date for the filing of original return of income be extended to 31st October of the assessment year in case of spouse of a partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force, if the provisions of section 5A applies to them.
These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2021 and will accordingly apply to the assessment year 2021-22 and subsequent assessment years.