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If a person has filed his return of Income u/s 139(1) of Income Tax Act 1961 i.e. within the due date of filing the return and if he subsequently finds that in the original return he has committed some mistake bonafidely then he can revise his return of income u/s 139(5) of Income Tax Act. Here below I am discussing provisions relating to revise returns.
Revised return should be filed only if the mistake is bonafide: Original return should be revised only if there is a bonafide mistake in the original return. The benefit of section 139(5) cannot be claimed by a person who has made false return knowing it to be false. Deliberate omission and false and fraudulent statements fall outside the purview of the provision as this view has been taken in K.M Bhatia (Quarry) V. CIT  193 ITR 379 (Guj.)
It is to be noted also that once a revised return is filed the original return stands withdrawn- Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd. V CIT  90 ITR 236 (All.)
Time period of filing the revised return: As per section 139(5), the revised return can be filed before the expiry of one year from the end of the relevant assessment year or before the completion of assessment, whichever is earlier.
Thus return of A.Y 2010-11 can be revised till 31st March 2012 or before the completion of the assessment whichever is earlier.
Revised return can be filed only if the original return was filed within due date: A return filed only u/s 139(1) can be revised i.e. only return filed within the due date as prescribed u/s 139(1) can be revised. A belated return filed u/s 139(4) can not be revised. Thus if a return is filed after the due date then it cannot be revised. This view has also been confirmed in Jagdish Chandra Sinha v. CIT 220 ITR 67 (SC).
A loss return filed within time can also be revised and in such case the loss as per the revised return can be carried forward as it was held in CIT v. Periyar District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd  266 ITR 705 (Mad.).
Return filed in response to notice u/s 148 can also be revised: Return filed in response to notice u/s 148 can also be revised, as it is provided u/s 148 that for such return all the provisions of section 139 shall apply.
It is to be noted that notice u/s 148 is issued for the assessment of the escaped income.
Whether any penalty can be levied u/s 271(1)(c) for corrections made in revised return?: Section 271(1)(c) of Income Tax Act provides penalty for concealment of Income and for furnishing inaccurate particulars in the return of Income. In view of this section the question arises in mind that if a person declares more income in the revised return than in the original return whether in such case any penalty u/s 271(1)(c) can be levied or not?
It is to be noted that if revised return is filed to correct a bonafide mistake then no penalty can be levied, otherwise it can be levied. It is seen that sometimes assessees tend to file revised return after search or survey; some case laws are provided here below to throw some light on it.
If the taxpayer has revised return after the survey and tribunal has found that the mistake in the original return was not bonafide then levy of penalty is justified- (2006) 283 ITR 254 (Mad)
It was held in (2006) 154 Taxmann 364 (P&H) that If some income was concealed in the original return and revised return disclosing such income is filed after the AO has unearthed such undisclosed income then penalty can be levied
If the asseessee after the search filed the revised return declaring higher income than declared in original one, to buy peace of mind and to avoid litigation then penalty cannot be levied as was held by Supreme Court in its decision reported as (2001) 119 Taxmann 433/251 ITR 9- (2007) 159 Taxmann 26 (P&H).
If the taxpayer has declared higher income in revised return of his own and there is nothing to prove that the taxpayer had concealed income malafidely then no penalty can be levied.-(2002) 123 Taxmann 318/256 ITR 133 (P&H).
Where the assessee has filed revised return before the issue of notice u/s 148 then no penalty can be levied as was held in (2002) 254 ITR 361 (P&H).
Conclusion: Return of Income should be filed within due date and with utmost care. If bonafidely some mistake still happens in the original return then the benefit of filing the revised return can be taken.
It is advisable that if any mistake has happened in the original return then revised return should be filed before any action on the mistake is taken by the AO to escape penalty u/s 271(1)(c).
AMIT BAJAJ ADVOCATE
Bajaj & Bajaj Advocates, Jalandhar