CA Sumit Grover

Vide Finance Act, 2012, section 143(1D) was introduced in income tax act which prohibited processing of income tax returns in case notice u/s 143(2) has been issued (i.e. scrutiny cases).

Ambiguity arose as to whether the said sub-section applies to those cases as well wherein refunds have been applied in the returns, however the same has been issued notice for scrutiny assessment.

Now, vide instruction no. 01/2015, it has been clarified by CBDT that the returns involving refunds, also fall under the purview of the said sub-section,

Hence, processing of returns for refunds can’t be undertaken wherein the said case has been selected for scrutiny.

The said instructions have been  reproduced below for reference-

Government of India

Ministry of Finance

Department of Revenue

Central Board of Direct Taxes

North Block, New Delhi,

Instruction No.1/2015

Dated -13th January, 2015

Subject: – Clarification regarding applicability of section 143(1D) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 -reg.

Sub-section (ID) of section 143 of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (‘Act’) provides that where a notice has been issued to a taxpayer under sub-section (2) of section 143 of the Act, it shall not be necessary to process the return in such a case.

2.      Some doubts have been expressed, in view of the words “shall not be necessary”  used in the said sub-section, as to whether this provision permits processing of returns having a  refund claim, where notice under section 143(2) of the Act has been issued.

3.        The matter has been examined by the Board.  Sub-section (1D) of section 143 of the Act was introduced by the Finance Act, 2012 with effect from 01.07.2012. The purpose of introduction of this sub-section has been stated in the Explantory Note to the Finance Act as under:

“Under the existing provisions, every return of income is to be processed under sub-section (1) of section 143 and refund, if any, due is to be issued to the taxpayer. Some returns of income are also  selected for scrutiny which may lead to raising a demand for taxes although refunds may have been    issued earlier at the time of processing.

It is therefore proposed to amend the provisions of the Income-tax Act to provide that processing of return will not be necessary in a case where notice under sub-section (2) of section 143 has been issued for scrutiny of the return.”

Thus, in cases where an unprocessed return is selected for scrutiny, the legislative intent is to prevent the issue of refund after processing as scrutiny proceedings may result in demand for taxes on finalisation of the assessment subsequently.

4. Considering the unambiguous language of the relevant provision and the intention of law as discussed above, the Central Board of Direct Taxes, in exercise of the powers conferred on it under section 119 of the Act hereby clarifies that the processing of a return cannot be undertaken after notice has been issued under sub-section (2 ) of section 143 of the Act. It shall however, be desirable that scrutiny assessments in such cases are completed expeditiously.

5.     This may be brought to the notice of all concerned for strict Compliance.

6.     Hindi version to follow.

(Rohit Garg)

Deputy Secretary to Government of India

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4 responses to “No processing of returns for I-T refund if selected for Scrutiny”

  1. g k nair says:

    Taxing the true tax payer by witholding of refund is not correct. Further, after issue of notice under section 143(2) it take more than a year for the Assessing Officer to complete the assessment. There is no guarantee that the assessment will result in tax demand. So withholding refund till completion of assessment is absolutely unnecessary and against national interest as the government will have to pay interest on the withheld refund for the above period. I think this may be screw work of vested person in the finanance ministry.

  2. Rajneesh Jain says:

    What about refund, after completion of scrutiny ?

  3. spg says:

    Let govt pay 18% interest on refund withheld.

  4. anand says:

    Withholding of refund because the case is selected for scrutiny is not correct. Assessing officers take unduely long period for completing the assessment after scrutiny. Secondly if after the scrutiny assessment still the assessee gets refund the Govt. has to unnecessarily pay interest to the assessee.

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