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Can I File ITR for Last 3 Years Now?

Haven’t filed your taxes for the last 3 years? Worried about the consequences? Wondering Can I File ITR for Last 3 Years Now? In this read, we will discuss possible solutions for those stuck in a similar situation.

Simply put, filing your income tax return (ITR) is a process of informing the government about the income you have earned during the fiscal year in question (1 April to 31 March of every year). The ITR is a consolidated document, which consists of your income, total tax payable, liabilities and tax refunds for the financial year. ITR should be filed before the deadline in July every year. In this blog, lets discuss in detail about whether Can I File ITR for Last 3 Years Now?

For example, for the financial year 1 April 2020 – 31 march 2021, a taxpayer should file their ITR by July 2021. Similarly, there are different ITR forms and one should know which ITR they should file. To know which ITR form is applicable to you, get in touch with our tax advisors. 

Can I File ITR for Last 3 Years Now in One Year?

Before diving into this topic let us clarify the difference between a financial year and an assessment year. For instance, if the financial year we are taking into consideration is  1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021, the Income tax calculator earned during this financial year becomes taxable in the assessment year which ranges between 1 April 2021 – 31 March 2022. Here the deadline is 31 July 2021 for salaried/self-employed/contract employees and 30 September for companies, working partners etc. This is the structure prescribed by the income tax department that must be followed by every taxpayer while filing the tax return.

But this structure is not a rigid one and is subject to a few exemptions. Usually, the government will extend the deadline for some months as multiple problems can be faced by the taxpayers while filing the tax returns. In case you have missed the extended deadline fixed for filing your ITR, you can still file your ITR with a penalty through a ‘Belated Return’ which was first introduced in the Finance Act of 2017.

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Belated Income Tax Return

  • As per section 139(4) of the income-tax act, 1961, if any individual fails to file the income tax returns within the due date, he can file a belated return with the penalty prescribed by the income tax department.
  • This belated return can be filed at any time before the end of the corresponding assessment year or before the completion of assessment by the tax authorities whichever is earlier. This scheme has been made applicable from the assessment year of 2017-2018. (i.e.) from the financial year of 2016-17. 
  • This can be explained further with an example: the income tax return due date for the fiscal year 2017-2018 was 31 July 2018 and 30 September 2018. If a taxpayer fails to file the ITR on time for any reason, he has the option of filing a belated tax return before the end of the corresponding assessment in income tax, i.e. before 31 March 2019.

How to File ITR for Previous Years

Filing Income Tax Returns (ITRs) for past years may seem daunting, but following a systematic approach can simplify the process:

  1. Determine Eligibility: First, establish if you can file a belated return. Typically, belated returns can be filed before the end of the assessment year subsequent to the missed year.
  2. Gather Documents: Collate relevant income and tax deduction proofs, including Form 16, bank statements, and other necessary receipts.
  3. Choose the Correct Form: Ensure you pick the right ITR form, based on the nature and sources of your income.
  4. Compute Penalties and Interest: For late filing, calculate penalties and any interest on outstanding tax payments.
  5. E-Filing: Use the official Income Tax Department’s portal. Upload the necessary details, verify, and submit the ITR.
  6. E-Verify: After submission, e-verify the return using Aadhaar OTP, EVC, or other approved methods.
  7. Seek Professional Help: If uncertain, consult a tax expert to guide you through complexities.

Remember, even if late, it’s imperative to complete the process accurately to avoid future complications.

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Why to Avoid Delaying ITR Filing?

Filing your Income Tax Return (ITR) is not just a statutory obligation but also a prudent financial practice. Here’s why one should avoid delaying this task:

  1. Penalties and Interest: Missing the ITR deadline can lead to substantial penalties and interest, adding an unnecessary financial burden.
  2. Loss of Interest on Refunds: If you are eligible for a refund, any delay could mean losing out on the interest that the income tax department pays on refunds.
  3. Limited Revision Time: A timely filed return can be revised within a stipulated time. Delay means a shorter window for any corrections.
  4. Potential Legal Repercussions: Consistently delaying or ignoring ITR filing can put you under the taxman’s radar, potentially leading to legal consequences.
  5. Impact on Credit Score: Timely tax compliance reflects financial discipline which can be considered by credit agencies, possibly influencing your credit score.
  6. Loan Processing: Many financial institutions check ITR receipts for loan approvals. A delayed ITR can cause unnecessary hiccups.

Remember, punctuality in tax matters not only saves money but also ensures peace of mind. Procrastination can be costlier than you think!

Points to Be Noted

  • Under section 234A of the Income Tax Act –, if the assessee has filed a belated ITR, then he is liable to pay the tax along with 1% interest per month
  • Similarly, the taxpayer should pay the prescribed penalty with the belated ITR
  • If the return filed is after the assessment which later gets canceled, then the return will be considered valid
  • As per the Finance Act, the belated ITR can also be revised, which means that any mistakes made while filing the income tax return can be fixed
  • If a taxpayer is not liable to pay any taxes, then he is exempted from paying the interest and penalty for belated ITR but only if he files it before the end of the corresponding assessment year.


What is the penalty for not filing ITR for 3 years?

The penalty for not filing ITR for three years depends on the amount of tax owed. Additionally, interest may be charged on the outstanding tax amount. Note that you may even land in jail for a maximum of seven years.

How do I file my last 2-year ITR?

To file your last 2-year ITR, you can visit the Income Tax Department's e-filing portal and select the relevant assessment year. You can then fill in the required details and submit the ITR form online.

How do I get my last 3 years tax return?

You can get your last 3 years tax return by logging in to the Income Tax Department's e-filing portal and selecting the relevant assessment year. You can then download the ITR-V form and verify it using your Aadhaar card or net banking credentials.

Can I file an income tax return for the last 5 years?

Yes, you can file an income tax return for the last 5 years, provided you have not already filed the returns for those years. You can file the returns online using the Income Tax Department's e-filing portal.

Can we skip ITR for a year?

No, it is not advisable to skip filing ITR for a year, even if you have no taxable income. Failing to file ITR can lead to penalties and legal consequences. It may also affect your credit score and loan eligibility.

What happens if I file my ITR wrong?

If you file your ITR incorrectly, the Income Tax Department may issue a notice for tax evasion or incorrect filing. You may be required to pay additional taxes, penalties and interest on the outstanding tax amount.


It’s crystal clear that for the question “Can I File ITR for Last 3 Years Now” is Not Possible. If you want to file income tax returns for the financial year 2017-18, the last date for filing the belated ITR has already passed on 31 March 2019. For the financial year 2018-19, the last date for filing your belated return with penalty has also passed on 31 March 2020. Similarly, for the financial year 2019-20, the last date for filing your belated return with penalty has also passed on 31 March 2021.

Now that you know how important it is to file your income tax returns on time, consider placing your tax filing hassles in the more-than-capable hands of Vakilsearch, India’s trusted taxation experts.

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