The Income Tax department has extended the deadline for filing returns by individual taxpayers for FY 2019-20 by a month till December 31. The move aims to provide relief to the taxpayers on account of COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals who need to be audited, the Income-Tax Return filing deadline has been extended by two months till January 31, 2021.

Earlier, the government in May has extended the deadline for filing ITR for FY2019-20 from July 31 to November 30.

The CBDT said the deadlines have been extended in order to “provide more time to taxpayers for furnishing”.

What if an individual fails to file ITR?

Unless the government further extends the deadline, the tax department may levy a minimum penalty equal up to 50 per cent of the tax which could have been avoided.

In some cases, the government holds the power to prosecute an individual and put the culprits behind bars for not filing their income tax return. As per the current income tax laws, a person who is found guilty may be sent to prison for a period of minimum three years to a maximum of seven years.