• Filing tax returns for previous years

Can Tax returns be filed for prevous years if not filed
Asked 4 years ago in Income Tax from Bangalore, Karnataka

You can file upto 2 years only.


Ankit Jain


Ankit Jain
CA, New Delhi
32 Answers
3 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

Yes Tax Return can be filed for last 2 previous years.

Anuj Jain
CA, New Delhi
1 Answer

Not rated

As per Section 139(4) of the Income-tax Act, where a return is not filed within the due date of filing the return, the same can be filed as a belated return within 1 year from the end of the Assessment year.

For Example, for the Financial year 2013-14,(Assessment year 2014-15), the belated return can be filed upto 31st March 2016.

As of today , the following returns can be filed :-

1) For the Financial year 2014-15- Regular return on or before 31st July for Non Audit cases and on or before 30th Sep 2015 for Audit case returns.

2) For the Financial year 2015-16 - Belated return can be filed on or before 31st March 2016.

If you have opted for efiling, only these two returns can be filed as of now.

However , if you are doing a manual filing, apart from these two returns, previous years returns can also be filed manually. The same shall be LODGED by the Income-tax Department. Meaning, the returns will not be processed.

B S Sridhar
CA, Chennai
43 Answers
20 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

In my view If the return is not filed as per section 139(1) of The Income Act (within due date of filing returns) then the tax payer can file the return within 1 year from the end of assessment year.

For e.g. return for Financial Year 2012-13 can be filed till 31st March 2015 and for the Financial Year 2013-14 return can be filed up to 31st March 2016.

If the tax payer wants to file the return of preceding to previous years then as per income tax act return of the preceding years e.g. for F.Y. 2011-12 filed now, is generally called “time barring”. Further many tax payers manually submit the preceding 2 or 3 previous years return to complete their remaining responsibilities. However, whether to consider these returns or not is the discretion of the department. Income tax department may decide whether a penalty is to be imposed or not for such type of return. So tax payer should avoid filing a late return.

Thus as far as your query is concerned we submit that you can file the returns for 3 years together but time barring filed returns are subject to acceptance by the department.

Shyam Sunder Modani
CA, Hyderabad
1408 Answers
110 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0



Vijay Kapoor
CA, Delhi
14 Answers
1 Consultation

3.8 on 5.0

Dear Sir,

As per Section 139(4) of the Income-tax Act 1961, where a return is not filed within the due date of filing the return, the same can be filed within a period of 1 year from the end of the Assessment year.

So assuming in your case, the Assessee who needs to file his Income Tax Return is a non audit assessee the due date for filing the Income Tax Return is 31st July of the next year for which the Return is to be filed.

So considering the above mentioned rule a person can file only past two years Income Tax returns, which in your case would be for F.Y. 2013-14 & F.Y. 2014-15.

I would also like to bring to your notice that time barred notices are again not advisable as it involves Penalty, Offering your case for scrutiny and unnecessary harassment to the client. So it is advisable if you take an expert's opinion on a case to case basis before filing time barred returns.

Thanking You.


CA Rohit R Sharma


P.S. Hello Sridhar Sir, I Think there is some typo error in the years mentioned by you in your 2nd case.

Rohit R Sharma
CA, Mumbai
2104 Answers
92 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

The words "previous year" under Income Tax Act means the financial year in respect of which the income is to be assessed. The Income Tax return for the financial year 2014-15 has to be filed within the due dates, as applicable to the classes of assessees, during the financial year 2015-16, which is called " assessment year" relevant to the previous (financial) year 2014-15.

If the return is not filed within the due date, then it can still be filed as "belated return" on or before the 31st March succeeding two years from the end of the previous year. Thus the return for the previous year 2014-15 can be filed as a belated return on or before 31st March 2017.

As a corollary, the return for the financial (previous) year 2013-14, can be filed as a belated return on or before 31st March 2016. The return for the financial (previous) year 2012-13 and earlier cannot be filed now.

Normally the need for filing returns voluntarily for the previous years beyond the time allowed even for belated return arises when there is a claim for refund, which could not be claimed for some genuine reasons. In such case, the refunds can be claimed u/s 119(2)(b) of the Income Tax Act, subject to fulfillment of conditions specified there under.

There is tax liability but return is not filed for some reason or other. As the time limit is over even for filing of belated returns, there cannot be voluntary filing of returns. The Income Tax Department has powers to issue notices u/s 147/148 requiring the assessee to file returns, if in its opinion, income has escaped assessment, even if a return is filed and assessment is completed. There are time limits for issue of notices u/s 147/148, depending upon the quantum of the tax liability and the maximum time limit is 6 years from the end of the relevant assessment year. If the assessee genuinely wants to disclose his income for the past years whether he filed return or not, he can request his assessing officer to issue notice u/s 147/148 to enable him to file his return. By doing so, he can get sympathetic consideration in levy of penalty and prosecution.

Generally the need for filing returns for 3 years arises, when a person wants to take loans (mainly housing loans). Returns can be filed for the last two years by efiling. The return for 1st year cannot be filed voluntarily because it is time barred. The practical solution in such a case is to e-file the return, indicating that the return is filed in response to notice issued by the Income Tax Department. The return gets uploaded and acknowledgment gets generated. This should be sufficient evidence for the filing of return for the first year also. As the tax is also paid, if applicable, the return may get processed by referring to the jurisdictional ITO, in which case, the assessment proceedings may be taken up u/s 143(3), depending upon the facts of the case.

B Vijaya Kumar
CA, Hyderabad
891 Answers
67 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Income tax returns can be filed online for AY 14-15 only. You can stil file a manual return for AY 13-14. If there is a specific notice which the assesse has received, returns for older years can also be filed. You can contact 9385292917 for doing the needful.

Shashank Surana
CA, Chennai
60 Answers
4 Consultations

4.3 on 5.0

A person can file only 2 returns of the year ended 31-03-2014 & 31-03-2015. But a person can show his income less than Rs. 2 lacs for the year ended 31-03-2013 & prepare ITRs just for loan purpose & this ITR is no need to file with IT DEPARTMENT.

In this way only 3 years ITRs are ready for Loan/visa etc etc purpose.




Shiv Kumar Agarwal
CA, Delhi
297 Answers
63 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

One can file a belated return within 2 years from the end of financial year i.e. within one year from the end of Ass. Year. You can now file ITRs for AY2014-15 and AY2015-16 only.

Anil Bedi
CA, New Delhi
10 Answers

Not rated

Yes you can file for the Financial year 2013-14 as of now and 2014-15 after some time as the forms get available.

But before this year you can not file the previous year return because it is time barred.

Kavit Dilip Gadhia
CA, Mumbai
35 Answers

4.6 on 5.0

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