Do I have to file ITR when I do not have any tax liability?

By Balwant Jain
The basic income tax exemption limit is Rs. 2.50 lakh for those below 60 years and is Rs. 3 lakhs for those between 60 and 80 years of age.

I am 45 and self-employed. My taxable income is around Rs. 4 lakh after deductions and exemptions.  Am I required to file my Income Tax return? 

As per the existing income tax laws, one is required to file an ITR if he either fulfils certain income criteria or even if he does not fulfil the income criteria but still has to file an ITR if he is covered under some non-income criteria. So based on income criteria, a person is required to file his ITR if his income from all the sources during a financial year exceeds the amount of basic exemption limit. The basic exemption limit is Rs. 2.50 lakh for those below 60 years and is Rs. 3 lakhs for those between 60 and 80 years of age. 

For those who have completed 80 years of age enjoy higher exemption limit of Rs. 5 lakh. Please note the amount of income to be considered here is income from all the sources before giving effect to various deductions available under chapter VIA or any exemptions available under the income tax laws.  

So in your case as your taxable income is Rs. 4 lakh which is below Rs. 5 lakh, the threshold limit, for availing the rebate under Section 87A, you will not have to pay any tax in respect of your income but still you will have to file your ITR. So payment of tax and filing of ITR both are different obligations so though you have no tax liability but you still have the obligation to file an ITR as per the existing income tax provisions. 

Balwant Jain is a tax and investment expert and can be reached on jainbalwant@gmail.com and @jainbalwant on Twitter. 


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