When is penalty for filing late I-T return waived off?

Some genuine reasons for not filing on time could be a serious illness or injury suffered by the assessee or a family member.

* This refers to the story on filing tax returns online (Why you Should e-File, 9 July). It is true that this facility has made filing taxes very convenient, but taxpayers are not aware of the nitty-gritties. For instance, one may not know of his ward/circle or how to carry forward a capital loss. I think this takes away from the advantages of e-filing.
Bal Govind, Noida

As the case studies in the story indicated, many people avoid filing their returns online because they are not confident about doing it accurately. The concern is valid, but it is worth the extra care as taxpayers end up learning a lot about their finances. Even though there are experts to look after every aspect of personal finance, it is imperative that people have some knowledge, and hence control, over their finances. Online filing is a good way to start.

* In the story on special situations related to tax filing (What if..., 9 July), you have mentioned that the assessee has to pay a penalty for filing a late income-tax return if the assessing officer is not convinced that the reason for delay is genuine. Could you list some valid reasons for waiving the penalty?
Amrita Krishnan, Madurai

Some genuine reasons for not filing on time could be a serious illness or injury suffered by the assessee or a family member, which prevented him from attending to daily affairs. An accident or death in the family and an outstation or foreign posting are other valid excuses.

* It was a revelation that group purchases of houses can result in substantial discounts (Clubbing Key to Unlock Deals, 9 July). If I become a member of a society to avail of this benefit, will I be bound by its rules and regulations while selling the house?
Bhupendra Sharma, Delhi

If the society negotiates with the builder for group discounts, you will not be bound by its rules and regulations as the sale agreement will be executed between the builder and each member separately, even as each member of the society is given the same discount. A society’s by-laws will affect the sale of property only if the society has got the project built or has taken over the entire project from the builder.

* Your latest technology section (Before you Buy, 9 July) was enjoyable and informative. A lot of people opt for gizmos loaded with features that are rarely used. However, while buying such expensive electronic products, many consumers pay more because they do not want to buy a high-end version after a few years when they might need a particular feature. Isn’t upgrading the gadget or buying a new one more costly in the long run?
Rocky Singh, Pune

Not necessarily. Given the rapid innovation in technology, gadget lives have become very short. So, by the time you need a specific feature, it may have become obsolete or an upgraded version might be available. It is also likely that a gadget with the same feature becomes cheaper.