It was earlier announced that the assessees who filed returns after July 31, 2018, which was the deadline, must pay a fine of Rs 5000.

I-T Department extends deadline for filing returns to Aug 31 2018 PTI
news I-T Returns Thursday, July 26, 2018 - 19:23
Written by  IANS

In a relief for salaried tax payers, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Thursday extended the date for filing Income Tax Returns (ITR) by one month till August 31. The earlier deadline for filing the returns was July 31.

"The due date for filing of income tax returns for Assessment Year (AY) 2018-19 is July 31, 2018 for certain categories of taxpayers. Upon consideration of the matter, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) extends the due date from July 31 to August 31 in respect of the said categories of taxpayers," an official statement said.

The categories for which the deadline has been extended are (1) assessees other than corporate-assessees, (2) non-corporate assessees whose books of accounts are required to be audited, (3) working partner of a firm whose accounts are required to be audited and (4) assessees who are required to furnish a report under section 92E (International transactions).

As per government records, around 6.84 crore income tax returns were filed during FY 2017-18, compared to 5.43 crore filed during FY 2016-17. The number is expected to rise further this year.

Even in 2017, the deadline was extended but till August 5 given the difficulties faced by taxpayers owing to the high traffic in the income tax website and several users complaining the website to be unresponsive. Additionally, the government had introduced a unique pin code for those sending Income Tax Return acknowledgment documents via post.

According to financial experts, filing an ITR other than legitimising one's earnings helps to claim a refund.

Even though it is not compulsory to file a return if the total income is below taxable limit, it is beneficial to do so. An ITR is the best document of proof of income. The process also makes one eligible for loans, since the ITR of the three years immediately preceeding the current year is what banks require to judge the capacity of the borrower to repay the loan.

The documents required to file ITR include PAN card, bank account details, Form 16, Form 26AS and proof of investments.