CA Durgesh Pandey
We had filed the return of one of our client which had small amount of refund (below ₹.25000/-). However after processing of the return we have received a failure of the credit of refund proceeds. As per communication received from CPC- Bangalore the said failure was on account of erroneous IFSC code. On verification of the IFSC code mentioned in the ITR and the xml file uploaded whilst filing the return we found no error.
The matter further interested us and we sought clarification from CPC-Bangalore. On inquiry with CPC Bangalore on the toll free number provided, we were informed that the system at CPC accepts the IFSC code only in upper case. Our refund was rejected for the mere reason that we had mentioned the IFSC in the lower case in our ITR. However we have filed for re-issue of refund request with the necessary changes
On further investigation we found that the Income Tax department does not publicises the usage of ONLY upper case characters in keying in IFSC codes while filing of returns. Further no banks in India make distinction while transferring money as to whether the information punched in is in upper case or lower case.
We studied the “Report of the Technical Committee to Examine Uniform Routing Code and Account Number Structure” dated 16th Jan 2013 to RBI, the report is silent on the case of the IFSC codes. However the report explores the usage of uniform account number with respect to global pattern use of ‘IN’ as country code identifier. The reports debates usage of IBAN –International Bank Account number vs the present account numbering and identification system(IFSC).
The report clearly specifies that there shall be no difference in upper and lower case alphabets for usage in IBAN. If the same logic is extended to IFSC the case of the character should not be an issue whilst processing the payment/transfer requests.
In any case the Income Tax Department is requested to implement a small routine in its schema and the templates which shall automatically convert the lower case alphabet to upper case or at least informing the inappropriateness of the lower case IFSC to the tax payer while filing of the Income Tax Returns.
But till that time beware to write the IFSC code in upper case for prompt processing and credit of the refund.
(Autor is a CA in Practice from Ahmadabad)