The most prevalent and significant government action to redistribute money among people is taxation. It is an effort to use a progressive taxation system to distribute the cost of economic growth. To lessen the burden of taxation, the government has numerous measures whereby credits are given to taxpayers in the form of refunds when they complete their income tax returns (ITR).
However, many people become anxious at the mere mention of taxes and notices from the Income Tax Department. But there's nothing frightening about it. When you do something you don't do frequently or aren't used to doing, like submitting income tax forms, it's normal to make a few mistakes.
The I-T Department frequently sends letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, forgetting to input specific data or any other discrepancy can lead to a ‘defective return’ notice.
What is a defective return?
Your return is regarded as a "defective return" under certain circumstances when you miss out on a piece of information or enter wrong data. In such case, the I-T Department will issue a notice of defective return in accordance with Section 139(9) to correct the inaccuracies.
According to Section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act of 1961, you have 15 days to make the necessary corrections when the A.O. finds a discrepancy in your return. These errors, if not corrected on time, might have adverse implications.
When can your return be termed defective?
The department could issue a notice of a defective return if taxes are partially paid against an obligation or if they are paid but the amount does not match the tax payable on the income tax return.
Secondly, you might get a notification from the I-T Department if your income tax return isn't complete or if information in the necessary columns, declarations, or annexure is missing.
If the bank deducted tax from your interest income from term deposits, you must declare both the interest income and the tax in your tax return. You could get a defective notification, though, if TDS was claimed but interest income was not included in the tax return.
Additionally, if an audit is needed under section 44AB, the full audit report, including profit and loss account, balance sheet, and auditors report, must be submitted. You run the risk of receiving a defective return notice if you fail to provide these documents or if you submit an incomplete audit report.
Furthermore, if taxes are paid but their specifics aren't included in the income tax return, you may receive a notice. When completing an income tax return, specific information on taxes paid, such as TDS, TCS, advance tax, or self-assessment tax, should be included.
How to respond to a defective return notice?
Step 1: Visit the Income Tax Department website to get the ITR Form.
Step 2: Choose the option "In response to a notification under Section 139(9) when the originally filed return was a defective return" on the income tax return.
Step 3: Enter the reference number, which may be found on the notice, the acknowledgment number, and the original return filing date.
Step 4: Finish filing the income tax return, making any necessary corrections.
Step 5: Create the XML file, then post it to the Income Tax Department website.
Step 6: Under "e-File," choose "e-File in response to notification u/s 139(9)," and then upload the corrected XML using the notice's password.
Step 7: Upon successful upload, a confirmation message and an acknowledgment number are shown on the website.
Your ITR for the relevant assessment year will be regarded as invalid if you fail to reply to the income tax notice for a defective return. In this situation, the tax office will assume that you have not submitted your return and will not process your refund if any. Hence, it is advised to clearly respond to the notice following the aforementioned steps.