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What to do if the income tax refund is delayed?

Updated on :  

08 min read.

It is recommended not to delay filing your income tax returns. This is because the earlier you file returns, the sooner you get the refund if any. As time passes, there will be more number of returns to be processed for the income tax department. This is how your refund can be delayed. However, there can be other reasons for not receiving the refund as expected. Read through to know more about the reasons and the action you must take.

What to do if you have not received the refund yet?

Step 1: Visit the income tax e-filing portal and log in with user ID, password, and date of birth/date of incorporation.

Step 2: Click on the ‘View e-filed Returns/Forms’ tab and select the ‘Income Tax Returns’ option from drop down and submit.

Step 3: Click on the acknowledgement number relevant to the assessment year for which you want to check the refund. For example: If you want to check the refund of financial year 2016-17 then click on the acknowledgment number of the assessment year 2017-18.

Step 4: The status of your returns will be displayed in a new window along with the information such as assessment year, mode of payment, and the reason for refund failure if any.

The taxpayer can also visit the tin-nsdl website (https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/oltas/refundstatuslogin.html) to check the income tax refund status.

The refund status will be displayed after you enter the PAN, relevant assessment year and the captcha code in the above link.

What are the possible refund statuses?

The refund status can be one of the following:

  • No e-Filing has been done for this assessment year
  • Not determined
  • Refund paid
  • No demand no refund
  • ITR processed refund determined and sent out to Refund Banker
  • Refund unpaid
  • Demand determined
  • Contact Jurisdictional Assessing Officer

Reasons why the refund hasn’t reached you and how to handle it

There can be many reasons for your refund not reaching you. Here is a table of reasons and the action plans you need to follow in each of those cases.

Reasons why the refund is not doneAction Plans
IT department needs additional documentation to process your refund request.Contact the assessing officer immediately via telephone or post and submit the documentation requested.
Get an acknowledgement from the officer on the same.
Refund request rejected. As per the IT department, you owe them taxes.You may receive a notice from the department stating the outstanding tax amount. 
In this case, check all your documents and recalculate the tax liability and refund receivable.

If the figures you have filed in the returns form is correct, file a rectification supporting your claim.

If the returns filed is found to be incorrect, pay the outstanding tax demanded by the department within the time limit mentioned in the notice.
Refund request found to be incorrect as per the IT department. Hence, the refund is rejected.If the department thinks your refund request is incorrect, a notice will be issued to you explaining why they think it is incorrect.

Even if you receive the notice, you can file a rectification to support your claim.
Forgot to include a deduction you are eligible for.If the IT department has not started to process your returns, you can go ahead to revise your returns and add the missed out deduction you are eligible for.
Bank account details provided to the IT department while filing returns has changed.If the bank account details have changed, communicate the latest account number and MICR code to your assessing officer. 
The assessing officer will convey this information to the bank and ask to update the money transfer process.
Refund request under process. The delay could be at 2 levels:

1. The IT department is taking time to process your request.

2. The IT department has already processed but there is a delay at the bank’s end.

1. Make sure that you have sent the ITR-V within 120 days from the date of e-filing.

2. If not, you have to revise your returns and send the new acknowledgement to CPC, Bengaluru.
Filing returns on a physical form and not online.Processing physical filing forms takes time. Wait for the IT department to reconcile the paperwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the income tax refund delayed?

For FY 19-20, CBDT has informed that due to upgradation of software for faster processing, refunds are delayed.

My income tax refund went to my old address and got returned. How to get Income tax refund now?

First you need to update your address on the income tax efiling portal and then submit a refund reissue request. For placing a refund reissue , please log on to income tax efiling, select the My account tab from the top menu bar and click on “Service request “ from the drop down. Select request type as “new request “ and request category as “ refund reissue” . Enter assessment year, PAN, CPC acknowledge number, refund sequence number (will be available in ITR V). Further select the mode of refund issue and update the correct account number. Please refer to the intimation received u/s 143(1) on mail for details like CPC reference number or refund sequence number.

My income tax refund is not processed. How do I escalate this?

If you have filed your income tax return and not received income tax refund within a reasonable time, first confirm if you have verified your income tax return online or offline. ITR filing is incomplete and is not processed till it is e-verified. In case ITR V is verified, you can follow up with CPC on their helpline numbers 1800 103 4455 (or) +91-80-46605200 from Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. In case of refunds of previous years, you need to write a letter to the Assessing officer of your jurisdiction stating reasons for delay / non receipt of refund.

When will we get an income tax refund?

Refunds are issued within 20-45 days after processing of ITR by the CPC department of income tax.

Related articles:

Process to claim income tax refund
How to claim TDS refund

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