1. What is a Defective or Incomplete Return
Where the Assessing Officer considers that the return of income furnished by the assessee is defective, he may intimate the defect to the assessee and give him an opportunity to rectify the defect within a period of 15 days from the date of such intimation. Such time may be extended by the Assessing Officer on an application made by the assessee.
If the defect is not rectified within 15 days, or the extended time so allowed, as the case may be, the return filed by the assessee shall be treated as invalid return and the consequences of the same will be as if no return has been filed by the assessee. However, if the assessee rectifies the defect even after 15 days, or the extended time, but before the completion of assessment, the Assessing Officer may condone the delay and treat the return as a valid return.
2. When a Return of Income is Defective ?
A return of income is regarded as defective in the following cases—
(1) Return Form has not been duly Filled -
All items in income-tax return form (i.e., ITR-1 to ITR-7) must be filled in the manner indicated in the return form. If any schedule of the relevant form is not applicable in the case of an assessee, it should be scored across as “.... NA....” If any item is inapplicable, one should write “NA” against it. One should write “NIL” to denote nil figure. No column or row should be left blank. Otherwise the return may be liable to be held defective or even invalid.
(2) Return of Income without Self-Assessment Tax -
Section 139(9) provides that the return of income shall be regarded as defective unless the tax together with interest, if any, payable in accordance with the provisions of section 140A has been paid on or before the date of furnishing of the return. This provision has been amended by the Finance Act, 2016 from the assessment year 2017-18. After this modification, a return (which is otherwise valid) would not be treated as defective merely because selfassessment tax and interest payable in accordance with the provisions of section 140A, have not been paid on or before the date of furnishing of the return.
3. Defective or Incomplete Return of Income due to Annextures , Statements , Accounts etc. -
Under section 139(9), a few statements, reports, proof of pre-paid taxes, accounts, etc. should accompany the return of income, otherwise the return will become defective. However, it is not possible to attach any certificate or report or computation or final accounts with new incometax return forms. Likewise, it is not possible to attach proof of pre-paid taxes (like tax deducted/collected at source, advance payment of tax, self-assessment tax). The assessee should, therefore, retain these certificates, report, computation, final accounts, proof of pre-paid taxes with him. These may be furnished whenever the Assessing Officer wants to examine them in assessment proceedings or otherwise. Return of income will not become defective because of non-fulfilment of this requirement.