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IT returns — non-taxable persons have to file return

With reference to your answer in the Tax Forum in The Hindu dated August 21, under the title "Filing of income-tax return by senior citizens". Your answer would require modification for assessment year (AY) 2006-07, so that persons who have no tax liability only because of deduction under Chapter VI-A may still have to file income-tax return. You may draw the attention of this change of law from the current assessment year 2006-07 to the readers.

Tax Forum is obliged to V. Krishnamurthy, Chennai, a retiree from the Indian Revenue Service, for pointing out this change in law. A proviso inserted by the Finance Act, 2005, with effect from April 1, 2006, that is from assessment year 2006-07, provides that an individual or a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), having a total income before availing the benefit of exemption under Section 10A, 10B or 10BA or deductions under Chapter VI-A exceeding the maximum exempt amount, will have to furnish return on or before the due date in the prescribed form voluntarily.

In the result, though the one by six rule has been abolished from AY 2005-06, an individual or a HUF without taxable income may also have to file return, if they become non-taxable only because they are claiming deductions under Chapter VI-A. Deduction under Sec. 80C is one such deduction under Chapter VI-A.

Though the due date for filing such return would ordinarily in such case be July 31, the consolation is that the penalty of Rs. 5,000 under Sec. 271F for not filing a non-taxable voluntary return is leviable only if it is not so filed before the end of the relevant assessment year. It means that those persons who had failed to file return on July 31, can still file before March 31, 2007, without attracting penalty. The answer earlier given will now have, therefore, to be clarified and corrected.

All persons entitled to a minimum exemption limit of Rs. 1.85 lakh for senior citizens, Rs. 1.35 lakh for women or Rs. 1 lakh for others will have to file return, even if their taxable income does not cross the above exemption limits, if the income before deduction under Sec. 10A, 10B, 10BA or under Chapter VI-A of the Income-tax Act exceeds such limits.

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