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Notice for defective return u/s 139(9)

Updated on: 13 Sep, 2022 01:46 PM

Before we begin let us first understand what is defective return and when is the notice for defective return u/s 139(9) issued?
It often happens that while filing income tax returns we omit things or commit some mistakes. These mistake(s) make your return “defective” and you’re issued a notice of defective return u/s 139(9). Section 139(9) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 states that when a return is found defective, the A.O. gives you a period of 15 days to correct the mistake. The return can be considered defective for one or many reasons as stated below.

Common errors that can make your return “defective”?

  • Not filling the annexure, statements and columns in the income tax return that must be duly filled wherever required. For example, while claiming deduction u/s 80G, the details in its schedule are not filled or wrongly filled.
  • Tax together with interest, if any is paid before filing the return and all the details relating to it is not filled. For example, BSR code, Date of challan should be correctly filled.
  • Tax actually paid does not match with the tax payable in the income tax return or taxes are not paid in full.
  • While filing ITR 4, total presumptive income is shown less than 8% or 6 %of gross turnover or receipts as the case may be then in that case ITR 3 should have been filed.
  • The Gross receipts is not mentioned in the Profit & Loss A/c Or the Gross receipt or income u/s 44AD is shown more than Rs. 2 Crore in ITR 4.
  • If you have filed your return u/s 44ADA with the gross receipt more than 50 Lakhs without Balance sheet and Profit & Loss, then notice will be received for filing ITR-3 with audited B/s and P&L Statement.
  • Where you’re required to maintain regular books of account such as Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statement, but they have not been filled in the return while filing it.
  • Tax deducted has been claimed as a refund, but no income details are provided in the return.
  • No income details has been provided in ITR but details regarding taxes paid have been provided.
  • Gross income as referred to in 26AS has not been considered in the respective heads of ITR.
  • When the books of accounts have been audited but a copy of the audit report and audited financial statements have not been filled in the return while filing it.
  • Name mismatch between PAN and Income Tax Return.

What shall I do after receiving notice u/s 139(9)?

Once you’ve been served with notice of defective return u/s 139(9), then you must correct your return by revising it within 15 days from the receipt of notice by the Income Tax Department. You can also apply for extension by writing an application to the Assessing Officer (A.O.) requesting an extension of the deadline of filing a revised return. Practically, it is seen that even a taxpayer rectifies the defect after the expiry of fifteen days but before the assessment is made, the Assessing Officer may condone the delay and treat the return as a valid return.

What will happen if I don’t do anything after receiving notice for defective return u/s 139(9)?

Your defective return will be treated as a non-filed or invalid return. This means the Income Tax Department will consider it as if you’ve not filed a return for the year. Consequently, your refund will also not be processed by the Income Tax Department, if any.

How to give a response to the Notice u/s 139(9)?

Step 1:
Click on pending actions on the dashboard and then on e-proceedings.


Step 2:
If you have not received any notice, you will see No e-proceedings records


Step 3:
If there is any proceeding, you will see it in your pending actions. Click on ‘view authorised report.’

defective return u/s 139(9)

Step 4:
Click on ‘Notice/ Letter pdf’ to view the notice.

defective return notice u/s139(9)

defective return notice u/s139(9)

Step 4 (A):
After you have viewed your notice, click on submit response.

Return u/s 139(9) and mention date

Step 5:
After you have clicked on submit response, you will see a response page where you will have to agree or disagree with the notice.

defective notice is raised by CPC

Step 6:
If your response is ‘agree,’ you will see a screen where you will have to provide response for the said defect.

defective notice is raised by CPC

Step 6 (A):
If you disagree with the notice, you can select disagree in the given column.

selecting  Return u/s 139(9)

Step 7:
Now, if you have selected agree, you can submit your response either offline or online on the portal.

Assessee Remarks

Note: The offline mode is available for ITR 1 and ITR 4 only at the moment

Assessee Remarks

Can I withdraw the response made to defective notice u/s 139(9)?

Earlier it was possible to withdraw your response submitted to defective return notice under section 139(9). But this functionality is no more available. Hence, now you cannot withdraw the response made, instead you can update or view the same.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q- How do I resolve error code 311 in a defective income tax return?

Error Code 311 appears when return has been filed under the head of income from business and profession and the balance sheet has not been filed by the assessee. In this case assessee should revise his return and file all the relevant information.

Q- How do I respond to a notice under section 139(9) with error code 38 from the Income Tax Department?

This error occurs if tax payable in return filed is more than the tax paid. To resolve this error, the tax should be paid in full with interest to the Income-tax department in revised return.

Q- Why does my ITR status suggest, “no further action required as the latest return is taken for processing”?

It means that return is error free and all the defects have been removed and is taken up for processing.

Q- How do I pay my remaining income tax after receiving notice u/s 139(9)?

To pay the remaining income tax u/s 139(9) of the Income Tax Act, 1961:

  • Pay taxes online as you pay for self assessment taxes.
  • File your revised return and generate XML for the same.
  • Then login to the income tax portal.
  • Go to e-file dropdown and select e-file response u/s 139(9).
  • Browse XML generated in the response
  • And revised return and response under section 139(9) is filed

Q- Invalid returns u/s 139(9), can I file it again as fresh return for that AY?

Notice u/s 139(9) is issued when return is found defective and a period of 15 days is provided to the assessee to resolve the same, however if assessee fails to do so, the return is considered as defective and treated as return has never been filed. If the assessee wants to file return later, then he can do so by filing belated return ,
But the last date for belated return is the end of the relevant assessment year. For example, ITR of FY 2020-21 can be filed last upto 31.03.2022.

Q- How can I resolve an error code 89 in defective return notice received u/s 139 (9)?

Error code 89 occurs when return has been filed under section 44ADA but nature of business does not qualify as profession.To remove the error, one should file the revised return correcting the nature of business/profession under which income has been reported.

Q- In response to 139(9) I have filed a revised Income Tax Return. Do I need to respond to 139(9) also separately

Normally, Compliance can be submitted with the Disagree option stating that Return has been Revised. Still the action might differ depending upon your case which can further be assisted by our Tax Experts.

Q-I have received notice u/s 139(9). My Form 26AS shows additional pension income received from the Army. Please let me know if it is taxable? I am currently receiving Form 16 for another job.

Pension received from the armed force is fully exempt if the lump-sum amount of pension is received. However, if the periodical pension is received from the armed forces then it is fully taxable. Further, lump sum pension received by family members of armed forces is fully exempt. Hence, you can reply to the notice accordingly. To know more about the taxability of pension, Read here.

Q- What is section 139(9) of the income tax act?

In case incomplete or wrong information has been furnished while filing income tax return then, notice under section 139(9) is issued to the assessee. You are given a time period of 15 days to reply to this notice.

Q- When is a notice under section 142 issued by the income tax department?

The income tax department can issue you notice u/s 142(1) if

  • You have not filed your income tax return for the relevant assessment year or
  • You have filed the income tax return but Assessing Officer requires to submit some information or documents to the income tax department.

You should file such a return within the given time period in notice or furnish such documents and information as sought by the Assessing Officer.

Q- What is a unique number or document identification number in notice u/s 139(9)?

While submitting a reply to notice u/s 139(9) you are required to quote a unique reference number which is the Document Identification Number mentioned on your notice.

notice u/s139(9)

Q- What is error code 202 in income tax return notice u/s 139(9)?

While giving a response to notice u/s 139(9) error code 202 is widely seen. This code means the total receipts shown under all heads of income in ITR is less than the gross receipts coming in your Form 26AS.

Q- What is error code 332 of income tax?

Error Code 332 in defective return communication u/s 139(9) means the balance sheet or profit and loss account details have not been furnished with ITR. In case you have currently filed ITR on a presumptive basis, response to this notice can be made by giving clarification for your action taken. Otherwise you are required to file the revised return in form ITR3.

Q- What are the consequences of invalid return/defective return u/s 139(9)?

The various consequences of not responding to defective return communication u/s 139(9) are

  • Your return can be invalidated
  • Penalties & interest may be levied
  • You might attract excess tax liability
  • Loss of income tax exemptions, deductions, and carry forward losses
  • May attract litigations

Q- How can I resolve an error code 97 in defective return notice received u/s 139 (9)?

Error code 97 occurs when a taxpayer has selected the wrong ITR form which is not applicable to you. To remove the error, one should file the revised return with the correct form applicable.

Q- How can I resolve an error code 85 in defective return notice received u/s 139 (9)?

Error code 85 occurs when a taxpayer has not filled the information related to financial particulars of business. To remove the error, one should file the revised return with the correct form applicable.

CA Abhishek Soni
CA Abhishek Soni

Abhishek Soni is a Chartered Accountant by profession & entrepreneur by passion. He is the co-founder & CEO of Tax2win is amongst the top 25 emerging startups of Asia and authorized ERI by the Income Tax Department. In the past, he worked in EY and comes with wide industry experience from telecom, retail to manufacturing to entertainment where he has handled various national and international assignments.


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