Notice for Defective Return

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Notice for Defective Return

An income tax return is considered to be defective if it is not filed in accordance with the requirements of Income Tax Law. If a taxpayer has filed a defective income tax return, the taxpayer will be issued with a notice under section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act. The taxpayer must then duly rectify the defective return within a period of 15 days from the date of issue of notice. In this article, we mention the procedure for responding to notice for a defective return.

When Notice for Defective Return is Issued?

Notice of defective return can be issued with respect to the following scenarios:

  • If the returns are not filed in the prescribed format provided by the Income Tax Department.
  • Non-filling of any mandatory fields in the income tax return.
  • The disparity between the name which is specified in the income tax return and that of the PAN Card has been observed by the Income Tax Department.
  • Failure in submitting necessary evidence of tax in specified circumstances like claim over deduction or collection of tax, payment of advance tax and so on.
  • Filing of returns without payment of tax.
  • Filing of returns in ITR-4 instead of ITR-3. Returns must be filed in ITR-3 if presumptive income is less than 8% or 6% of gross turnover or receipts.
  • Failure to attach a statement which depicts the computation of tax liability.
  • Non-submission of audit reports, in cases requiring tax audit.
  • Non-submission of books of accounts which are maintained, or failure to maintain the required books of accounts
  • Failure to submit copies of the audited profit and loss account, balance sheet and auditor’s report.
  • Failure to submit copy of audit report with the tax return.
  • If the books of account are not maintained regularly, non-submission of Annual Gross receipts of business or profession, gross profit, pertinent expenses and the net profit of the business or profession.
  • If the books of account are not maintained regularly, non-disclosure of the amount of total Sundry Debtors, Sundry Creditors, stock-in-hand and closing balance.


The Income-tax department has facilitated the rectification of errors through its Income Tax E-filing Portal. You can respond to a notice of defective return by following the procedures listed below:

Step 1:- Login to the e-filing portal of the official Income Tax e-filing website.

Step 2:- Under e-file, select “e-file in response to Notice u/s 139(9)”

Step 3:- Choose the name of the form along with the relevant assessment year.

Step 4:- Click submit after entering the Acknowledgement Number.

Step 5:- Fill in the communication reference number, CPC date, receipt date and certification PIN specified in the notice.

Step 6:- Browse and attach the required XML.

Step 7:- Click on submit.

After necessary validations, the screen will depict a success message.

Consequences of Non-Response

If the default is not addressed within the stipulated time, the Assessing Officer is entitled to consider the return as invalid. This means that the concerned taxpayer would have to forego some of the exemptions and deductions, which will be coupled with the levy of penalties on a higher scale. Moreover, losses cannot be carry forwarded to set it off against future income. Taking these factors into consideration, it is advised that the taxpayer should be prompt in responding to such notices. Taxpayers should note that from 1st April 2018, the penalty for not filing income tax return has increased to Rs.5000 for returns filed between 1st August to December 31 which was due on 31st July and Rs.10,000 for returns filed after 31st December.

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Post by Sreeram Viswanath

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