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If you missed sending your Income Tax
Return verification form (ITR-V) to the authorities after electronically filing your return, and have claimed a refund, don’t lose hope. Although the law requires ITR-V to be furnished to the Central Processing Centre (CPC) in Bangalore within the stipulated time (else the tax return filed electronically, without a digital signature, would be treated as if it was not filed at all), a tax return filed electronically with a digital signature does not require filing of ITR-V.
Once the tax return has been filed electronically and ITR-V sent to I-t by the last date, the department acknowledges the receipt of ITR-V through an SMS or e-mail. Then, the taxpayer is notified once the return is processed, after which the refund process is initiated.
In certain cases, though the taxpayer may send signed ITR-V to CPC within the timeline, the tax return may not reach the CPC, and it is treated as invalid. As the ITR-V can be sent through speed post or ordinary post to a post box address in Bangalore, those sending by ordinary post can’t cite the dispatch details in support of their claim.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had earlier extended dates for filing of ITR-V for assessment year (AY) 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 (tax year 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, respectively). Such extensions were provided to all taxpayers who filed their returns electronically without digital signatures.
To address the grievances of taxpayers who filed their returns electronically and have not yet received refunds (on account of ITR-V not reaching CPC), the CBDT has issued a circular on February 10, 2014, extending the deadline for filing a fresh ITR-V to March 31, 2014. This relaxation has been given for returns filed for AY 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12, and only to those who had filed their returns electronically within the time allowed under the Act for the above mentioned three years.
As per the circular, the taxpayers may send a duly signed copy of ITR-V to the CPC before March 31, 2014, by speed post.
As per the Act, the returns should be processed and intimation issued to the taxpayer before the expiry of one year from the end of the tax year in which the return is filed. The timeframe has also been relaxed, and it has been directed that the return be processed within six months from the end of month in which ITR-V is received. The intimation of the processing has to be sent to the taxpayer as per the procedure laid down.
Interest on such delayed refunds may also be allowed only for the period the ITR-V is received and processed by the CPC.
In view of the above, the taxpayer can visit the official website of the Income Tax department's e-filing portal to check the status. In case the taxpayer’s ITR-V has not been received by CPC, no status would be displayed. In such a scenario, the taxpayer may avail himself of this opportunity and send a fresh copy of ITR-V to CPC by speed post to ensure it reaches by March 31, 2014.
A welcome step by the tax authorities, it may be the final opportunity for the taxpayers to resolve their grievances with respect to ITR-V for these three years.
The writer is director – Tax & Regulatory Services, EY. Views expressed are personal