Steps to take when your Income Tax Refund stuck

Unfortunately in our country, many honest tax-payers have pending income tax refunds. Whether it’s the Income Tax (I-T) department’s lethargy or the growing number of tax payers, delayed Income Tax refunds remain high on the list of complaints against the department. One of the challenges for any tax payer is getting a refund, because it is a lengthy and time-consuming process.

Ideally, once you file your Income Tax returns, the I-T department has to verify the information and any excess tax paid is supposed to be automatically processed and refunded. A cheque is supposed to be sent to the assessee’s address in four months. The amount can also be credited to his bank account (through electronic clearing system or ECS), if he has chosen the option.Income Tax Refund Stuck

The problem arises when the four-month period – as prescribed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes – stretches to, well, years.  The technical problems relating to our systems actually cause the delays. At times, wrong computation of tax or even an incorrect address can lead to delays.

Since high technology fails to live up to the promise of speedy refunds, you must resort to the good, old letter-writing art, and hope the postal route (a registered post) can make up for the technical snag.

But before you pick up the pen, you can go to the tax department, or NSDL-TIN (National Securities Depository Limited-Tax Information Network) websites. Alternatively, you could use the help desk of State Bank of India.

Here are a few things to do:

  • Any defective Income Tax Return  filing from your/I-T’s side has to be solved by a rectification letter. If the issue is cleared, you will get your pending refund.
  • If there are no defects, you need to write a letter, along with copies of returns, to your Assessing Officer (AO), informing him.
  • No response in 10 days? Write another one. This time, to the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax (A-CIT). Attach a copy of the earlier letter to the AO.
  • Write another letter to the Grievance Department, with copies of letters to both AO and A-CIT.
  • Sometimes, a visit to the officers concerned may help sort matters earlier.

Cases are normally sorted within a month. If not, approach the nearest I-T Ombudsman’s office. The Ombudsman will write a letter directly to the I-T Commissioner, seeking details of your case.

This measure works most of the time, with results within a month or three at the most. The Ombudsman has had a record of solving about 75-80 per cent of issues till date, says an officer from there in Mumbai.

Common Reasons for delay in Income tax Refund

1) Mismatch in TDS data –  If the TDS details in your form do not match the data with the Income Tax Department, expect your refund to be put on the backburner. Verify the TDS details online before submitting the form.

2) Wrong address –  Though direct credit of refunds has removed this problem to a large extent, there are still some taxpayers who give wrong addresses and then wait for refunds.

3) Missing bank account details –  You are supposed to give your bank account number and its MICR code for direct credit of refunds. If there is an error, your refund gets stuck.

4) Late submission of ITR V –  The return is not filed until the ITR V reaches the CPC in Bangalore. Don’t expect any refund if the ITR V has not been filed.

5) Large number of TDS entries  – If there are lots of TDS entries (some taxpayers can have up to 70-80 entries), your assessment may take a little longer. Obviously, the refund also gets delayed.

(Article Was last Published on 29.03.2012 and Republished on 04.07.2012 with Amendment)

(Republished With Amendments)

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  1. H VINOD KUMAR says:

    PAN No. AAEPH5615E I have filed IT RETURN THROUGH e-filing FOR AY 2020-21 ON 27-07-2020


    Have got resolved similar IT Refund issues smoothly. For income tax related matters , pl do touchbase to my id with details.

  3. Swapnil kadam says:

    Hi team,
    My TDS of year 2012 & 13 is pending in our Swargate office at 11(4) of 7984₹.Pan CEIPK1679H
    They are giving different excuses every time. I almost visited there more than 12 times.
    No body is helping me and talking initiative from their side.
    As per demand i have submitted all documents again which are cancel cheque, hard written letter,
    Form 16 and acknowledgement copy of ITR V.
    Please look into issue n help me to get my TDS back.

    Your”s faithfully,

  4. Anand says:

    Hello there! I have 2 refunds yet to be received for the Assessment year 2005-2006 and 2010-2011. I have tried going back again and again to get the refund but in vane. Is there an easy way of getting it back?



    no reply is sent for my email dated 24th sep 2014 pl expedite reply and get me the refund

    bhavani radhakrishna
    sbi a/c 10235497432 ifsc code sbin 0007981


    my request for it refund for the years 1998-99 to 2012-13 submitted on 23rd aug 2013 at ward-4(4)BANGALORE INCOME TAX OFFICE vide ask no 120230813007250 PAN NO ADUPK3025G is pending and no reply is received so far pl expedite action and refund the amount


  7. Paramesha says:

    Till 2004, I worked near Chennai in Govt office and used to pay income-tax thru manual submission at Chennai ITO. From 2004 to 2009 I worked abroad in United Nations. I returned to Mumbai in 2009 and manually submitted my TDS and tax-return to ITO, Mumbai. Subsequently, I utilized electronic submission of tax-returns. In 2009, I need to get tax-refund of roughly Rs. 40,000 as my normal salary was fixed very late in 2011 due to some delays at my office. I have the tax-return acknowledgement for the year 2009 which was submitted in due time. Whom should I approach for this tax-refund?

  8. Deepak says:

    I have been filling the IT returns for my family since this was introduced and have been getting the refunds since then very fast directly credited to the bank accounts.

    some one has mentioned use of RTI’s in case of no response from department. I have used RTI in many forums including police and it is a great tool to counter any delays on any account. In one case the police SI was suspended owing to my RTI filled with police department in West Bengal recently.
    I am requesting all to use the RTI in case you don’t get response from Govt., Local body, PSU, organisations who get aids fron central or state governments, police etc.

  9. balchabra rao says:

    i had filed my returns electronically i.e. e returns so that i may get my refund amount credited directly in my bank account within 3 months and no credit nor refund order has been received and one year has passed, i am waiting for my refund i would like to know why then the i t dept js giving false promises that if you file e returns then refund will be credited in the bank account..

  10. ram babu B.Com says:

    In fact these problems are to be highlighted by the Great Artistes like Amitabh, Rekha etc. etc. It is after serving the social cause they should be awarded Padma Awards. But they are receiving awards & rewards for not standing to any social cause.

    Had they been fighting for some social cause or the other ? is the need for Anna Hajare / Ram Dev Baba etc. etc., to start any movement.

    Instead of resorting to RTI ……….? these artistes / Press /Electronic Media why they do not speak / write / telecast about the corruption in Income Tax Dept. when they are telecasting about  corruption in every dept. including defence. 

  11. Duke Sekhon says:

    Well, for obvious reasons and the effort involved, a tax payer will desist from filling an R.T.I. against the I.T. Department even if large sums of money is held up for several years for a number of Assessment Years. In a situation like this, it is better to file your returns through a C.A., even though it would involve an extra expense apart from having to chase your C.A. to do the needful. Sadly enough, our whole system is ingrained in corruption and sloth; and having to deal with an innately corrupt dispensation at the helm of affairs makes matters worse for the suffering individual, who can at best grin and bear it. Our administration and the courts are known to move at a snail’s pace, if at all, in our much-celebrated democracy. Surendera M Bhanot has taken trouble to post a draft of what should be regarded an ideal model of R.T.I. Application in any given situation, which is most likely to fetch some sort of relief to a harassed individual at the hands of one or the other authorities. We are entitled to our bit of personal cynicism depending on individual perceptions and experiences. Nevertheless, in a hopeless situation, what Mr. Bhanot suggests is probably the best options available to one in this contest next to going to the courts. My due thanks to the gentleman!

  12. Shashikant G Goyal says:

    The income tax dept. id found to be sitting over the refunds for moths even after the order is dated, up to which date/month only the interest is allowed at a paltry rate of 6%. Even refunds issued to the assessee and/or adjustments are made against impugned demands are both belated. While they collect interest up to date of payment from the taxpayer, they avoid paying to the taxpayer by sitting over the refunds. The officers hatch eggs over the taxpayers’ refund it seems so.

  13. C Jyoti says:

    Thank you for republishing this piece. Whatever you do, the corrupt and inefficient department’s officers will NOT respond to your letters/rectification applications UNLESS YOU PAY BRIBE. Refunds from AY 2008-09 onwards are pending in the case of a retired Chief Income Tax Commissioner, so how can ordinary salaried/retired people get their dues without the settled practice? 


    Details of Bank Account Number required by you for issue of refund cheque  and /or MICR and Bank Account Number required for direct deposite to my bank account has been sent to you before March,2012 but I haven`t received it yet.

  15. srs says:

     following are the status of refunds (all year pertains to asst years prior periods towards excess amount of income tax (TDS) pending with Income tax Dept., Gurgaon for grant of refund.

    Income tax refunds pending
    Enclosed herewith proof of income return
    For corresponding asst. years
    2006-07 798.00
    2005-06 645.00

    2000-01 3036.00
    1998-99 1908.00
    1997-98 81.00

    total 6474.00

  16. rugram says:

    My experience has been different. After failing to get a refund on a rectfication application for which I had sent several reminders, I filed an RTI application couched in very polite language asking for the number, amount and date of refund order (for the rectification appliation), how it was despatched and from where it was sent to me, and when and whether the refund order was cashed. I also met the IT Officer who had then recently been posted there, he being perhaps the 6th IT Officer in that section in 3 years. He was very sympathetic and I got my refund (on rectification) in 3 weeks, along with interest.

    However, in another case of mine with the same IT Officer, he gave me a letter in writing that the relevant tax return was not traceable and that I could appeal to the JCIT. I met the JCIT and he said I could file the appeal but he too wouldnt be able to give a different reply. Considering the amount due in this second case and the labour/time involved in pursuing this case, I decided not to file an appeal and thus wrote off the refund due.
    I must thank for a write-up on using the RTI Act for claiming the refund – this write-up is still available in the archives of I think ultimately, the attitude of the IT Officer makes a lot of difference in dealing with RTI applications – maybe I was plain lucky!


    Sir , I am Central Govt servant. Due to wrong computation of Income Tax my office deducted Rs. 1000/- as TDS in the month of Oct. 2009. Although my income after rebate and saving was less than 1,60000/-. sir at the of filling the return I have mentioned it in the Saral From. Now I want to know how can I get the refund of the above mentioned amount.

  18. Rajkumar says:

    OOPs, so many quires against the department. May be one’s own experiences.
    Who wants the Refund order in hand? The middle man, who later on en cash it?
    The RO is now generated on line, nothing is to be done manually. The wrong income is the mistake of the filing of the ROI , e-return , in correct data field.
    The credits are the mistake of the Tax Deductor, who did not filed TDS return, or given incorrect info in the TDS return(That may be you), Some time the deductee (assessee) does not gives PAN to the deductor.

    There is not only one’s mistake / improper handling.

    Though thousands of refund orders were issued , without any hassle.

    Non-issuance of RO , only becomes reality when something incorrect is filled in.

  19. Vijaya says:

    Why are we putting up with this? Unfortunately, my experience with RTI is that it is a waste of our time and money. Usually, they just say they cannot find the records so please supply copies!!
    I noticed that none of the Babus sitting there had any knowledge of what they were doing except that they had to copy something from one register into another and put some rubber stamps etc. I dont know how they recruit such dumb people. Reservation or not, atleast these people should have some knowledge of what they are doing everyday. My bhajiwala can calculate faster and better than these idiots anyday. The worst is the attitude of these people. As if, they are royalty and we are beggars. We really need a Bollywood style hero to come and thrash these people into shape.

  20. TDS says:

    It appears that Mr. Surendera M Bhanot is either too naive or not aware of the functioning of the system of RTI-handling by the IT Deptt. With a totally non-functional Ombudsman just sitting idle, the moment an RTI application is filed by an assessee, a phone call comes to him enquiring as to whether this is the last time he would be filing his return and whether he is prepared to face the consequences of the RTI application. The higher officials like Jt. or Addl. CIT/CCIT, etc., DO NOT encourage petty assessees meeting/”pestering” them and the assessee is forced to ultimately go to the BABU sitting over the refund matter, without any fear of any action even by a nincompoof vigilance deptt full of known corrupt officers. It is the system, Mr. Surendera M Bhanot, it is not an IT Deptt-specific problem-the whole country’s admn. from the top most bureaucrats to the lowest who are now bonded to this inevitablr system. Like death, corruption is the ultimate reality/truth in India. The IT deptt., like the Police, Sales Tax. RTOs, CGHS, Govt. Hospitals, Municipalities, IAS, Customs, Excise, Railway, etc.-NONE cares for RTI or CBI or CVC, since rates are fixed. You must catch the right “CONTACT”.

  21. Surendera M Bhanot says:

    Even after the letters, if no action is taken, then another quick remedy is to file a RTI Application with the PIO of the ITO from where your refund is to be processed and ask for the following information:

    Please file RTI Application with the PIO of the concerned Public Authority [COLOR=”Red”][B]via Speed Post[/B][/COLOR]. While filing RTI Application detailing the problem being faced by you and quoted therein your all previous references of letter/telephone/personal visits to the office of the Public Authority and ask for the following information (Please use all or some points as suited to you. Point No. 6-9 below is essential for quick and positive action):

    01. Inform me the day to day action taken on my various requests made earlier (give date wise detail of your letters/visits/phone calls).
    02. Inform me the time needed as per law to finalize the required action.
    03. Inform me latest status of your request.
    04. A. Provide me the certified copies of the
    a. File Notings relating to this matter from DD/MM/YYYY to DD/MM/YYYY.
    b. Day-to-day moment of File relating to this matter from DD/MM/YYYY to DD/MM/YYYY. (Now, in a decision involving the EPFO, IC SG has clearly ruled that the day to day movement of the file has to be given in the format asked for www.…14_M_37059.pdf
    05. Inform me reasons for the delay
    06. Inform me Name & Designation of the officers/Officials responsible for taking action on your request.
    07. Inform me Name & Designation of the officers/Officials responsible for causing delay on your request.
    08. This application may also be treated as a Notice u/s 80 CPC and the action taken thereunder may also be inform to me in due course.
    09. I have paid fee for the purpose. I am a consumer. The delay is a deficient service. Moreover I am being harassed. What compensation is proposed to paid to me. if Nothing, This may please be treated as a Notice under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    10. Inform me the manner in which the PA is proposing to compensate you for the mental agony and deficient service.
    11. Any other point on your mind (Think Hard).


    Here’s the web address of the Helpline of the President of India’s Secretariat where you can file and/or upload your grievance and later on view the status of the same. You may also file an online complaint to the President of India’s Secretariat at http://

    The grievances arising out of unsatisfactory response or No response from the Ministry/Department concerned will be taken up by the PG officers of DAR&PG who will take up the matter with the Ministry/Department concerned for close monitoring and expeditious redress. You can lodge your complaints for all ministries of central government and state governments at the following link http://

    Most probably your work will be done with a quick pace, which you would had never expected under normal circumstances.

    You will find necessary help for filing the RTI Application by clicking the ”[B]Home[/B]” or “[B]RTI Guide[/B]” button at the top of www.

    Also please use the customized Google search bar located at the top of this page and search for “[B]Income Tax Refund[/B]”, etc. and you may get a/many threads.

    Surendera M. Bhanot
    Mob: 919-888-810-811
    [email protected]

  22. Tira.T says:

    The plea of the IT officers on this issue is totally bogus. Even today, refunds are to be meant to be “collected in person” after eithe the Admn. Officer/OS in the office of CCIT/CIT/Addl. or Jt. CIT/ACIT/AO, or the AO himself makes a call to the tax payer-depending upon the level of officer to whom the tax payer has made his request fot issue of the “long pending” refund. And the “standard minimum rate of exchange” (SMRE) is 25%, in terms of the present level of inflation. NOT one CCIT/CIT has the courage to touch the erring officer/official, not even the CBDT or its master-the Revenue Deptt. the administration sections of which are regularly abd extremely well oiled on daily basis by the all-powerful CPI-M led IT unions. Without parting with the “mandatory” SMRE, there is NO possibility of getting delayed refunds (always deliberately witheld) along with interest which, in any case, is given only to the very powerful and influential people alone. The oldest age of a pending refund can never be less than 30 years! Let the CBI/CAG prove tis wrong-if the records are still maintained/available.

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