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139(9) – How to Respond to a Defective Return Notice?

Updated on :  

08 min read.

It is natural to make a mistake or two when you do something you don’t do often or are not used to doing – like filing income tax returns. Sometimes we may miss entering certain information.Sometimes there could be an error.In such cases, your return is considered as a ‘defective return’ and the income tax department will issue a notice of defective return as per Section 139(9) to rectify the errors.These mistakes, if not rectified in time, can lead to not-so-pleasant repercussions.In this article,we shall talk about situations which render your return as defective and how to deal with the notice issued by the IT Department.

Situations in which notice for defective return will be issued

The Assessing Officer may consider the below-mentioned reasons, errors or omissions to issue a notice of defective return under section 139 (9):

1. Incomplete ITR-In case income tax return is incomplete, or there is an omission of details in the annexure, statements and columns which are mandatory. For instance, while claiming deduction under section 80D, its schedule details are not filled or wrongly filled.

2. Missing information on taxes-Taxes paid, but their details are missing in the income tax return. Details of taxes paid like TDS / TCS / advance tax or self-assessment tax should be mentioned while filing the income tax return.

3. TDS claimed but corresponding income not offered for tax-If you have earned interest income from term deposits and tax has been deducted by the bank, both interest income and tax deducted should be reported in the tax return. However, if TDS has been claimed but interest income has not been reported in the tax return you may receive a defective notice. While filing return through Cleartax portal, there is an option to upload 26AS, so as to negate this defect from the very beginning.

4. Related to books of accounts– If books of accounts are to be maintained, incomplete submission or non-submission of books of accounts including trading account, Profit and Loss account / Income or expenditure account, Balance sheet, Personal capital account (proprietor, partners, AOP, BOI), etc. as prescribed by the law will lead to defective return notice.

5. Related to Income Tax Audit– If an audit is required to be done under section 44AB, the complete audit report, including profit and loss account, Balance sheet, auditors report, should be submitted. In the absence of these documents or submission of an incomplete audit report, you may invite a defective return notice.

6. Related to Cost Audit-If the entity has to mandatorily conduct ‘Cost Audit’ under the Companies Act, 1956, and fails to submit its details, then the return filed will be considered as defective, and notice may be issued.

7. Related to Presumptive Taxation-If regular books of accounts are not required to be maintained or if the return is filed under the provisions of presumptive income, you may receive a defective return notice if the computation of the taxable income is less than the prescribed rate of 8% or 6% of the turnover / gross receipts. Also, in such cases, non-disclosure of details related to sundry debtors, sundry creditors, stock and cash in hand will lead to notice. For instance, gross receipts not mentioned in the Profit and Loss account, or the amount mentioned is more than Rs. 2 crore is ITR 4, will lead to a notice of defective return.

8. Unpaid taxes-Partial payment of taxes against liability or if taxes paid but the amount does not match the tax payable in the income tax return, the department may issue a defective return notice.

9. Incorrect details in ITR– ITR filed is incorrect in terms of the turnover/ income limit or not applicable for the reported head of income as prescribed. Such return filed will be considered as defective, and notice shall be issued.

10. Mismatch in the name-The name mentioned on the income tax return does not match with the name on the PAN card.

How to respond to a defective return

If the Assessing Officer considers the return filed to be defective, then notice of defective return shall be sent and the assessee will have an opportunity to rectify the defect within a period of fifteen days from the date of receipt of such notice. This AO may consider to further allow an extended period on the ground of application.

Step 1: You must revise your return addressing the defects the Income Tax Department has pointed out within a period of 15 days from the receipt of intimation order under Section 139(9).

Step 2: You can seek an extension by writing to your local Assessing Officer if you fail to revise your income tax return within 15 days.

If the defect is not rectified within a period of fifteen days or the extended days allowed,the original return will be treated as an invalid return. This means it will be considered as if no income tax return has been filed.

How to revise your income tax return in response to the notice

Step 1: Open the income tax e-filing website and log in to your account with user ID and password.

Step 2: Click on ‘Pending Actions’ tab and select the option ‘E-Proceedings’. A list of defective return and other notices will be displayed which are pending for your action.

Step 3: You can click on the ‘View Notices’ button to download the PDF of the notice.

Step 4: Click on the button ‘Notice/Letter Pdf’.

Step 5: You can now view the notice issued by the assessing officer under Section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act. You can click ‘Download’ to save a PDF of the notice.

Step 6: To submit the response, click on the ‘View Notices’ button of the relevant Defective notice u/s 139(9) in the e-Proceeding dashboard.

Step 7: You can view the error description for which the defective notice u/s 139(9) is issued by the assessing officer. You can click on the ‘Provide Response’ button to respond to the defect details.

Step 8: If you don’t agree with the errors,click on the ‘Disagree’ option and provide the reason for disagreement in the text box given below.

Step 9: If you agree with the error details, select ‘Agree’ option and select mode of response as ‘Online utility’. You will be required to file the complete income-tax return online just like a normal ITR. You can do so through the ClearTax platform.

You also have the option to file your ITR using the ‘Offline Utility’. You need to mention the document identification no./reference number and the date of communication while filing ITR through offline utility. Complete the ITR filing by uploading the JSON file.

Make sure you are correctly addressing the error due to which return was considered defective.

Step 10: Click on the ‘Continue’ button and you will be redirected to make a declaration for the submission of response.

Step 11: Now click on the ‘Proceed to e-verify’ button to e-verify your response for defective notice u/s 139(9). You can e-verify by any of the methods.

(iii)You will see a confirmation message with an acknowledgement number on the screen upon successfully uploading as below.

In a nutshell, responding to a defective return notice is not time-consuming anymore like earlier thanks to the technological advancements. If you choose to file your returns with ClearTax, not only is the process quick, but we will also ensure that you do it in an error-free manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have received a defective return notice under section 139(9), within how many days should I respond to the notice ? Can I ask for extension of notice?

You have respond to notice with in 15 days form the date of such notice. You can ask for extension of further 15 days by writing to your local assessing officer.

What happens if I do not respond to the defective return notice ?

You if don’t rectify the return within 15 days or extended time, your return will be considered as invalid and treated as if you have not filed your return.

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