New IT Provisions on filing of ‘Updated Income Tax Return (UITR)’

Amendments proposed for a introducing new provisions in the Income Tax Act to allow filing of updated income tax return (ITR) by the taxpayers on payment of additional tax, within two years from the end of the relevant assessment year, to allow voluntary tax compliance by declaring any income missed in the earlier ITR, eventually resulting into reduction of litigation, vide Clauses 38, 39,41, 48, 64, 65 and 81 of the Finance Bill 2022 (budget 2022-23):

1. Section 139 of the Act is related to the provisions for filing of Income Tax Return by taxpayers.

2. Sub-section (1) of section 139 of the Act casts responsibility on the taxpayer to furnish a return within a definite time period or up to a particular date, that is, the due date which as per this section means:

(a) for an assessee who is a company or a person (other than a company) whose accounts are required to be audited under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force, it is 31st day of October of the assessment year;

(b) for an assessee who is required to furnish a report under section 92E, it is 30th day of November of the assessment year; and

(c) for any other assessee, it is 31st day of July of the assessment year.

Alternatively, sub-section (4) of section 139 of the Act facilitates filing of a belated return after the expiry of due date, if such return is furnished before 3 months prior to the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier. Similarly, sub-section (5) of section 139 of the Act provides the taxpayer an opportunity to revise the return filed under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) in case of any omission or wrong statement, after due date, which is to be filed 3 months before the end of the assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier. Hence, the object of section 139 of the Act is to give reasonable time to the taxpayer to file a correct statement of his income within the duration specified under the Act.

3. This provision provides an additional time of approximately 5 months to an individual assessee, 2 months to a company/auditable case and 1 month to an assessee who enters into an international transaction or specified domestic transaction respectively, in a financial year to file belated or revised return. This additional timeline for filing a revised/belated return may not be adequate when we factor in utilization of huge information and data available coupled with the “nudge approach” that motivates the taxpayer towards the desired objective of voluntary tax compliance, starting with filing of correct tax returns.

4. Hence, it is proposed to introduce a new provision in section 139 of the Act for filing an updated return of income by any person, whether he has filed a return previously for the relevant assessment year, or not. The proposal for updated return over a period longer than that is provided in the existing provisions of Income-tax Act would on the one hand bring use of huge data with the IT Department to a logical conclusion resulting in additional revenue realization and on the other hand, it will facilitate ease of compliance to the taxpayer in a litigation free environment.

5. Hence, it is proposed that the taxpayers may be given some more time under the Act to file particulars of their income for a previous year in an updated return. A payment of additional tax by persons opting to furnish their returns in the newly provided timelines is also required. It is proposed that an amount equal to twenty five percent or fifty percent as additional tax on the tax and interest due on the additional income furnished would be required to be paid. The following amendments to the Act are proposed for incorporating the above provisions:-

I) A new sub-section (8A) in section 139 is proposed to be introduced to provide for furnishing of updated return under the new provisions.

in section 139, –

(a) It is proposed to insert sub-section (8A) in section 139 of the Act to provide that:

(i) Any person, whether or not he has furnished a return under sub-section (1), sub-section (4) or sub-section (5), for an assessment year (herein referred to as the relevant assessment year), may furnish an updated return of his income or the income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under the Act, for the previous year relevant to such assessment year, within twenty four months from the end of the assessment year. Such return shall be furnished in the prescribed form and manner and shall contain prescribed particulars.

(ii) The proposed sub-section (8A) of section 139 shall not apply, if the updated return, is a return of a loss or has the effect of decreasing the total tax liability determined on the basis of return furnished under sub-section (1), subsection (4) or sub-section (5) or results in refund or increases the refund due on the basis of return furnished under sub-section (1), sub-section (4) or subsection (5), of such person under the Act for the relevant assessment year.

(iii) A person shall not be eligible to furnish an updated return under the proposed sub-section (8A) of section 139, if:-

(a) search has been initiated under section 132 or books of account, other documents or any assets are requisitioned under section 132A in the case of such person, or

(b) a survey has been conducted under section 133A, other than subsection (2A) of that section, in the case such person, or

(c) a notice has been issued to the effect that any money, bullion, jewellery or valuable article or thing, seized or requisitioned under section 132 or section 132A in the case of any other person belongs to such person, or

(d) a notice has been issued to the effect that any books of account or documents, seized or requisitioned under section 132 or section 132A in the case of any other person, pertain or pertains to, or any other information contained therein, relate to, such person. This provision is for the assessment year relevant to the previous year in which such search is initiated or survey is conducted or requisition is made and two assessment years preceding such assessment year.

(iv) Also, no updated return shall be furnished by any person for the relevant assessment year, where,

(a) an updated return has been furnished by him under the proposed subsection (8A) of section 139 of the Act for the relevant assessment year, or

(b) any proceeding for assessment or reassessment or recomputation or revision of income under the Act is pending or has been completed for the relevant assessment year in his case, or

(c) the Assessing Officer has information in respect of such person for the relevant assessment year in his possession under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 or the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 or the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 or The Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976 and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of his filing of return under the proposed sub-section (8A) of section 139 of the Act, or

(d) information for the relevant assessment has been received under an agreement referred to in sections 90 or 90A of the Act in respect of such person and the same has been communicated to him, prior to the date of his filing of return under the proposed sub-section (8A) of section 139 of the Act, or

(e) any prosecution proceedings under Chapter XXII have been initiated for the relevant assessment year in respect of such person, prior to the date of his filing of return under the proposed sub-section(8A) of section 139 of the Act, or

(f) he is a person or belongs to a class of persons, as maybe notified by the Board in this regard.

b) It has also been proposed to amend sub-section (9) of section 139 to provide that a return filed under the proposed sub-section (8A) of the said section 139 shall be defective unless such return is accompanied by the proof of payment of tax as required under the proposed section 140B.

II) A new section 140B has been proposed to provide for the tax required to be paid for opting to file a return under the proposed provisions i.e. sub-section (8A) of section 139 of the Act.

I. Where no return furnished earlier: where no return of income under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) of section 139 has been furnished by an assessee, he shall before furnishing the return under sub-section (8A) of section 139, be liable to pay the tax due together with interest and fee payable under any provision of the Act for any delay in furnishing the return or any default or delay in payment of advance tax, along with the payment of additional tax. The tax payable shall be computed after taking into account the following:-

(i) the amount of tax, if any, already paid as advance tax;

(ii) any tax deducted or collected at source;

(iii) any relief of tax claimed under section 89;

(iv) any relief of tax or deduction of tax claimed under section 90 or section 91 on account of tax paid in a country outside India;

(v) any relief of tax claimed under section 90A on account of tax paid in any specified territory outside India referred to in that section; and

(vi) any tax credit claimed to be set off in accordance with the provisions of section 115JAA or section 115JD.

Such updated return shall also be accompanied by proof of payment of such tax, additional tax, interest and fee.

II. In the case of an assessee, where, return of income under sub-section (1) or sub-section (4) or sub-section (5) of section 139 (referred to as earlier return) has been furnished by an assessee, he shall before furnishing the return under sub-section (8A) of section 139, be liable to pay the tax due together with interest and fee payable under any provision of this Act for any delay in furnishing the return or any default or delay in payment of advance tax, along with the payment of additional tax, as reduced by the amount of interest paid under the provisions o the Act in the earlier return,. The tax payable shall be computed after taking into account the following:-

(i) the amount of relief or tax, referred to in sub-section (1) of section 140A, the credit for which has been taken in the earlier return;

(ii) tax deducted or collected at source, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XVII-B, on any income which is subject to such deduction or collection and which is taken into account in computing total income and which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(iii) any relief of tax or deduction of tax claimed under section 90 or section 91 on account of tax paid in a country outside India on such income which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(iv) any relief of tax claimed under section 90A on account of tax paid in any specified territory outside India referred to in that section on such income which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(v) any tax credit claimed, to be set off in accordance with the provisions of section 115JAA or section 115JD, which has not been claimed in the earlier return.

The aforesaid tax shall be increased by the amount of refund, if any, issued in respect of such earlier return.

The updated return, furnished under sub-section (8A) of section 139, shall be accompanied by proof of payment of such tax, additional tax, interest and fee.

III) The additional tax, payable at the time of furnishing the return under sub-section (8A) of section 139, shall be equal to twenty-five per cent of aggregate of tax and interest payable, as determined in sub- paragraphs I or II above, if such return is furnished after expiry of the time available under sub-section (4) or sub-section (5) of section 139 and before completion of period of twelve months from the end of the relevant assessment year. However, if such return is furnished after the expiry of twelve months from the end of the relevant assessment year but before completion of the period of twenty-four months from the end of the relevant assessment year, the additional tax payable shall be fifty per cent of aggregate of tax and interest payable, as determined in sub- paragraphs I or II above.

It is also clarified that for the purposes of computation of “additional income-tax”, tax shall include surcharge and cess, by whatever name called, on such tax.

IV) It is further provided that notwithstanding anything contained in the Explanation 1 to section 234B, in the cases where an earlier return has been furnished, interest payable under section 234B shall be computed on an amount equal to the assessed tax or, as the case may be, on the amount by which the advance tax paid falls short of the assessed tax, where, “assessed tax” means the tax on the total income as declared in the return to be furnished under sub-section (8A) of section 139, after taking into account the following:

(i) the amount of relief or tax, referred to in sub-section (1) of section 140A, the credit for which has been taken in the earlier return;

(ii) tax deducted or collected at source, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XVII-B, on any income which is subject to such deduction or collection and which is taken into account in computing such total income and which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(iii) any relief of tax or deduction of tax claimed under section 90 or section 91 on account of tax paid in a country outside India on such income which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(iv) any relief of tax claimed under section 90A on account of tax paid in any specified territory outside India referred to in that section on such income which has not been claimed in the earlier return;

(v) any tax credit claimed, to be set off in accordance with the provisions of section 115JAA or section 115JD, which has not been claimed in the earlier return. The aforesaid tax shall be increased by the amount of refund, if any, issued in respect of such earlier return.

V. where no earlier return has been furnished, the interest payable under section 234A shall be computed on the amount of the tax on the total income as declared in the return under sub-section (8A) of section 139. Further, interest payable under section 234C, where an earlier return has not been furnished, shall be computed after taking into account the income furnished in the return under sub-section (8A) of section 139 as the returned income. At the same time, for the computation of additional tax above, the interest payable shall be interest chargeable under any provision of the Income-tax Act, on the income as per return furnished under sub-section (8A) of section 139, as reduced by interest paid in the earlier return, if any. However, the interest paid in the earlier return shall be considered to be nil if no earlier return has been furnished.

VI. In view of the proposed sub-section (8A) of section 139 and new section 140B, consequential amendments in section 144, section 153, section 234A and section 234B and 276CC have also been made.

These amendments will take effect from 1st April, 2022. 71995

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