Personal Finance

Why your refund is delayed

K Venkatasubramanian | Updated on October 12, 2014


Look for mismatches between Form 16 and Form 26AS

You have been waiting for your tax refund for about a year now. But there seems to be no sign of getting the cheque or a credit directly to your bank account.

Clearly, there must have been an inadvertent error or a mismatch somewhere in the process of filing returns as generally refunds are expected to reach you within a year of filing returns in the normal course. Here we look at the important reasons for delays in getting your dues. Steps to be adopted to receive your refund are also suggested.

Mismatch of taxes paid

One of the main reasons for a delay or even a denial of refund is non-reconciliation of taxes paid according to your TDS statement (26AS) and the Form 16 which your employer gives you.

One reason why this happens could be because your employer may not have deposited the tax deducted from your salary with the IT Department; sometimes, there may have been an error in the PAN details too.

This may also happen with banks that give out the Form 16A showing tax deducted at source on the interest component of your deposits. In both cases, you may have assumed that you have paid more taxes than was due.

The income tax authorities take the details in 26AS as the final version and would accept only tax credits reflected there. It is thus very important to check the details in Form 26AS before filing your returns. You must quickly inform your employer or your bank to correct the details before you file your returns.

There could also be delays due to mistakes on the part of the person filing refunds.

Errors in giving your bank account number, or incorrect MICR or IFSC codes can lead to the refund not reaching you or being credited into the wrong account. Not updating your latest residential address is another important reason why the refund may not reach you.

Although the rules have been tweaked from this year onwards towards doing away with cheques, for refunds above ₹25,000, the rules say that you will receive cheques instead of direct credit of the amount in your account. So, if a refund from earlier years has not yet reached you, it could also be due to non-updation or a wrong address. Remember, cheques these days are valid only for three months from the date of issue.

Finally, the process of filing income tax is complete only after you have sent the physical copy of ITR V form to the central processing centre in Bangalore.

You can log in to the income tax website and cross-check whether the IT department has received your ITR V. Only then will your returns be considered for processing.

Steps to quicken refunds

If beyond one year of filing, you still do not receive your refund despite filing error-free returns, you must write in with all the relevant details to your assessing officer. Any issue of rectification in TDS can also be brought to the assessing officer’s notice. If you do not hear from the officer within a couple of weeks, you can move to authorities higher than the assessing officer.

If you still do not receive any convincing reply, then you can file a right to information (RTI) request with the Income Tax Department. You can ask for the name of the person assessing your returns, the reason for the delay, requirement for any additional documentation and the person’s full contact details. Remember, you are entitled to your refund even if you file your returns after the due date. Of course, there would be an interest penalty.

Published on October 12, 2014

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