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NRI, RNRI, Expat, Seafarer

Have you receive a love letter from the Income Tax Department for Non-filing of your Income Tax Returns?

If yes, read on, and if no, then also read on as in case you are a Non-Filer, you may receive a Notice soon. The Income Tax Department (ITD) is on an overdrive to nab tax evaders and one of the trigger points and red flags are the people who are not filing their Income Tax Returns year on year. The ITD has sent more than 10 lakh Notices already to Non-Filers and is in the process of sending a total of close to 25 lakh Notices. A large section of the Notices is to NRI’s.

What will happen when I have taxable Income, but do not file my income tax return?

Having taxable income and not filing income tax return can put you in trouble with the Income Tax Sleuths. Be prepared to welcome notices from Income Tax Department along with fines and penalty. The consequences of non-filing of return are:

Notice u/s 142(1) which requires you to file your return if you have not filed it before the due date. if you fail to comply with this notice then it may result in:

  • Best Judgement Assessment u/s 144 and/or
  • Penalty of Rs. 10,000 u/s 271(1)(b) and/or
  • Imprisonment with or without fine u/s 276D

Notice u/s 148 for furnishing return within the period as mentioned in the notice. A penalty of Rs. 5,000 u/s 271F may be imposed when you file belated return i.e. return after the due date. A penalty of minimum 100% to maximum 300% of the amount of tax for concealment of income u/s 271(1)(c). Interest u/s 234A keeps on mounting at the rate of 1% per month/ part of the month till the time you file your return. Also, you'd be required to pay interest u/s 234B and 234C, both at the rate of 1% per month/ part of the month if you've not complied with the advance tax provisions at the time of late filing of return.

How to reply to non-filing of Income Tax Return Notice?

In most of the cases, the IT department sends notices by emails or by SMS. You can respond to the notice through your income tax e-Filing Account. There is no need of personal presence in this matter. Below are the step by step guidelines on how to respond to the notice; Login to your e-Filing account at with your user name and password. If you do not have a login id password, you may have to register yourself first. Click on ‘Compliance Menu Tab’. Here you can view information about your non-filing status.

What Happens After you File Income Tax Return?

If there is no more additional tax payable or refundable or there is no adjustment resulting in a change in loss claimed during the year, then Intimation u/s 143(1) will not be sent to you and Income Tax Return Acknowledgement will be deemed as Intimation u/s 143(1). No intimation shall be sent after the expiry of 1 year from the end of F.Y in which return is made. However, it's practically observed that Intimation u/s 143(1) is issued even if there's no discrepancy. Apart from the above intimation, you can be issued different notices under Income Tax Act like notice for defect in your return, income escaping notice etc. In some cases, your income tax return can even be selected for Income Tax Scrutiny which is the thorough examination of your income tax return wherein you might be asked to submit proofs of the income, expenses, investments and losses as declared by you in your return.

Have not filed ITR for past two years. Can I file now?

​​​​Among reasons given by people who missed filing returns in the past is they did not know they were supposed to file tax returns. Others say they were on a sabbatical and not earning, and hence the gap in their ITRs. Or they were so busy that they simply forgot to file. Some of these defaulters may have received a notice from the tax department. Others shy away from making amendments as they feel a correction will call for scrutiny and fetch a notice.

When should you Ask for an Expert’s Advice?

Not every Notice received from the I-T department needs an intervention from a certified Chartered Accountant. If the intimation is about simple matters like deduction amount or TDS mismatch, mathematical error, and likes, the taxpayer can respond to the I-T Notice on your own. But when the Notice is regarding serious matters like scrutiny or reassessment u/S 148, it is advisable that you seek a professional’s help. Hiring a CA to respond to your tax Notice on your behalf would be costly but the issue will be resolved in a timely and correct manner.​




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