If you are a Merchant Navy professional, you might be wondering whether you need to file an income tax return or not. Theoretically, if your income from India is less than INR 2.5 lakh, you may not need to file a return. However, there are several practical reasons why you should still file a return.
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For instance, many countries require you to show your income tax return to get a visa. Plus, if you miss filing a return, you may face legal issues and penalties in the future.
There are several conditions under which you must file an income tax return, even if your income is less than INR 2.5 lakh. For example, if you have high-value transactions like buying or selling property or mutual funds worth over INR 10 lakh, or if you spend over INR 3 lakh on a credit card bill, you need to file a return. These conditions can change from year to year, so it’s best to stay updated on the latest filing requirements.
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Merchant Navy professionals need to be especially vigilant as they are often away from India for extended periods. However, unlike most other NRIs, Merchant Navy professionals are expected to return to India after their stint at sea. As such, they cannot afford to ignore the income tax department’s rules and regulations.
If you don’t file your return on time, the income tax department can issue a notice of up to 14 years in the past. In such cases, if you don’t have proper documents to support your claim, you may have to pay taxes and penalties based on the department’s assessments.
To avoid such a situation, it is best to file a return, even a nil return. The cost of filing a return is minimal – just INR 2,500 plus GST. Filing a return ensures that you stay compliant with the income tax department’s rules and regulations, and avoid any future legal issues.
As a Merchant Navy professional, it is essential to file your income tax returns on time, even if your income is less than INR 2.5 lakh. By filing a return, you not only comply with the law but also avoid future legal and financial issues.