Submission of Return of Income [Section 139(1)]

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1. Who is required to Furnish Return of Income U/s 139(1) :

 According to section 139(1), the following persons are required to furnish return of income

(1) A company or a Firm 

1. Every company has to file a return in respect of its income or loss in every assessment year. Hence, the following companies are also required to file return of income even if there is no income/ loss:  

(a) a company whose entire income is exempt from tax e.g. company engaged in agriculture business. 

(b) a public limited company though incorporated but has not received certificate of commencement of business. 

(c) defunct company which is not yet liquidated 

(d) a private limited company which is incorporated but is in the process of setting up the business. 

(e) a foreign company, if it has some business connection in India or is operating in India whether such company is having income or not. 

2. Similarly, it shall be obligatory for the firm to file return of income in every case.

Submission of Return of Income [Section 139(1)]
Submission of Return of Income [Section 139(1)]

(2) A Local Authority,

if its total income during the previous year exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income tax; or 

(3) A Person (other than a Company or a Firm or a Local Authority), if—

(i) his total income or

(ii) the total income of any other person in respect of which he is assessable under the Income-tax Act, during the previous year exceeds the maximum amount which is not chargeable to income-tax. shall, furnish a return of his income or the income of such other person. 

Mandatory to File Return of Income

Further, the Finance (No. 2) Act, 2019 has inserted seventh proviso to section 139(1) so as to provide that a person shall be mandatorily required to file his return of income, if during the previous year, he— 

(i) has deposited an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding ₹1 crore in one or more current account maintained with a banking company or a co-operative bank; or 

(ii) has incurred expenditure of an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding ₹2,00,000 for himself or any other person for travel to a foreign country; or

(iii) has incurred expenditure of an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding ₹1,00,000 towards consumption of electricity; or 

(iv) fulfils such other prescribed conditions, as may be prescribed. 

1. In respect of Individual, HUF, AOP or  Artificial, Juridical person, filing of return of  income shall be compulsory if their total  income without giving effect to provisions of  section 54 or 54B or 54D or 54EC or 54F or  54G or 54GA or 54GB or Chapter VIA  relating to deduction u/s 80C to 80U exceeds  the maximum amount which is not chargeable  to income tax

2. Although it is mandatory to file a return of income only when the total income exceeds the maximum exemption limit but the law does not prohibit the assessee to file a return of income even if his total income does not exceed the maximum exemption limit. 

3. Any other person for the above purpose: 

An assessee, in addition to filing return of his own total income, is under an obligation to file a return of income of another person in respect of whom he is assessable. These words are perhaps intended to cover cases of representative assessees and legal representatives who are under a liability to be assessed on income beneficially belonging to other persons under sections 159 to 168 e.g.  guardian of a minor (if minor is separately assessed) lunatic or idiot, trustee of a trust, executor of an estate of a deceased person, liquidator of a company in liquidation.

Resident Person to File Return of Income in certain cases even though not required otherwise:

A  person, being a resident other than not ordinarily resident in India within the meaning of section 6(6), who is not  required to furnish a return under section 139(1) and who at any time during the previous year,—

(a) holds, as a beneficial owner or otherwise, any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located  outside India or has signing authority in any account located outside India; or 

(b) is a beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any entity) located outside India, 

shall furnish, on or before the due date, a return in respect of his income or loss for the previous year in such form  and verified in such manner and setting forth such other particulars as may be prescribed. 

However, in case of an individual, being a beneficiary of any asset (including any financial interest in any  entity) located outside India, the return of income shall not be necessary in a case where, income, if any, arising  from such asset is includible in the income of the person referred to in clause (a) above.

2. Due Date of furnishing Return of Income:

The return of income must be filed in a prescribed form/ specified computer readable media and verified in the prescribed manner, on or before the due date mentioned below: 

(a) where the assessee other than the assessee referred in clause (b) below is—   

(i) a company; or   

(ii) 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; or   

(iii) a working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited assessment year under this Act or under any other law for the time being in force, 
30th November of the assessment year
(b) in case of an assessee who is required to furnish a report of chartered accountant under section 92E relating to an international transaction or specified domestic transaction,30th September of the year
(c) in case of any other assessee,31st July of the assessment year

3. Central Government empowered to Exempt any Person from the requirement of Furnishing a Return of Income [Section 139(1C)] 

Although as per section 139(1) it is mandatory to file a return of income, but as per section 139(1C), the  Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, exempt any class or classes of persons from the  requirement of furnishing a return of income having regard to such conditions as may be prescribed is that  notification. 

4. New Scheme to facilitate submission of Returns through Tax Return Preparers [Section 139B] 

For the purpose of enabling any specified class or classes of persons to prepare and furnish returns of income, the Board may, by way of notification, frame a scheme providing that such persons may furnish their returns of income through a Tax Return Preparer authorised to act as such under the scheme. 

This scheme is not applicable for a company or a person who is required to undergo a ‘tax audit’ or ‘audit under any other law’.

It has been further provided that the Scheme framed under the said section shall specify the manner in which the Tax Return Preparer shall assist the persons furnishing the return of income, and shall also affix his signature on such return. 

It has also been provided that a Tax Return Preparer may be an individual other than a person referred to in  section 288(2)(ii) or (iii) or (iv) or an employee of the specified class or classes of persons, who has been  authorised to act as a Tax Return Preparer under the proposed Scheme. In other words, the following persons are not authorised to Act as Tax Return Preparer 

— any officer of a scheduled bank in which the assessee maintains a current account or has regular dealings. 

— a legal practitioner; or 

— a-chartered accountant. 

The Scheme notified under the said section shall provide the manner in which a Tax Return Preparer shall be  authorised, the educational and other qualifications to be possessed, and the training and other conditions required  to be fulfilled, by a person to act as a Tax Return Preparer, the code of conduct for the Tax Return Preparer, the  duties and obligations of the Tax Return Preparer, the manner in which the authorisation may be withdrawn, and  any other matter which is required to be or may be specified.

5. Mandatory to File Return before due date if Certain Losses are to be Carried Forward [Section 139(3)] 

If a person has sustained a loss— 

— under the head “Profits and gains of business or profession” or 

— under the head “Capital Gains” 

— and claims that such loss or any part thereof should be carried forward under section 72 or section 73 or section 73A or section 74 or section 74A, 

then he may furnish a return of loss within the time prescribed under section 139(1) and all the provisions of this Act shall apply as if it were a return under section 139(1). 

It is not mandatory to file a return of loss (except in case of a company or a firm) as there is no taxable income.

However, as already discussed under section 80 in case of ‘Set off and carry forward of losses’, losses cannot be carried forward unless the return of loss is submitted on or before the due date1 mentioned under section 139(1) and it is duly assessed. If the return of loss is not submitted or is submitted after the due date, losses cannot be carried forward.

6. Various “Return Forms” for filing Return of Income

ITR FormsSubject
ITR-1
(i.e., SAHAJ)
For an individual who is resident and ordinarily resident (total income does not exceed Rs. 50 lakh) having income from salary/one house property (not being brought forward loss or loss to be carried forward)/income from other sources (not being loss and not being winning from lottery/income from race horses)
ITR-2For an individual/HUF where the total income does not include income under the head business or profession
ITR-3For an individual/ HUF having income under the head business or profession
ITR-4 (i.e., Sugam)For an individual/HUF/firm (other than LLP) deriving business income and such income is computed in accordance with special provisions referred to in section 44AD, 44ADA or 44AE
ITR-5For firms, AOPs and BOIs or any other person (not being individual or HUF or company or to whom ITR-7 is applicable)
ITR-6For companies other than companies claiming exemption under section 11
ITR-7For persons including companies required to furnish return under section 139(4A)/(4B)/(4C)/(4D)
ITR-VWhere the data of the return of income in Forms ITR-1, ITR-2, ITR-3, ITR-4 and ITR-5 transmitted electronically without digital signature

7. Mode of ‘Submission of Return of Income’ as follows–

Various Mode of Submission of Return of Income are given in Table Format.

PersonConditionsMode of Furnishing Return
Individual / HUFCase 1 – Accounts are required to be audited under HUF section 44ABElectronically with digital signature
Case 2- Return is submitted in ITR-1 or ITR-4 and the individual/HIJF satisfies at least one of the following two conditions-

>> the individual was born before April 2, 1937; or

>> the total income of the individual/HUF does not exceed Rs. 5 lakh and no refund are claimed in the return of income
>> Electronic mode given in Case 3; or

>> Paper format
 Case-3 – Any other CaseReturn can be submitted by using any one
of the following electronic modes –

(A) Electronically under digital signature;
or

(B) Transmitting the data in the return
electronically under electronic verification code; or

(C) Transmitting the data in the return
electronically and thereafter submit tin the verification of the return in
Form ITR-V
CompanyCase 4- Any companyElectronically with digital signature
Person required to Furnish Return in ITR-7Case 5 – Political PartyElectronically with digital signature
Case 6 – Any other caseElectronic mode given in Case 3
Firm, LLP or any Person (not mentioned above) required to Furnish Return in ITR-5Case 7- Accounts are required to be audited under Section 44ABElectronically with digital signature
Case 8- Any other caseElectronic mode given in Case 3

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