Haven't received your tax refund yet? Validate your bank account first

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If you have not received your tax refund, there’s a high probability that you don’t have a pre-validated bank account. From this year onwards, the tax department has made it mandatory for individuals to link the bank account with their Permanent Account Number and also validate it, according to tax experts.

From this assessment year onwards, the income-tax department has said that it will issue e-refunds directly to the bank accounts of the assessees. “There could be other reasons for a taxpayer not receiving the refund. Failing to do pre-validation is the most common,” says Naveen Wadhwa, a chartered accountant with Taxmann.com. 

The other reasons for not getting the refund could be that you have not verified the returns or the claims made in the tax return do not match the information given.

Once an individual files his return, the tax department carries out an assessment and informs taxpayers of the result. This assessment primarily includes arithmetical errors, internal inconsistencies, tax calculation, and the verification of tax payment. The result of the assessment communicated to the taxpayer is called “intimation under Section 143(1)”.

If a taxpayer has not received the refund, he should check whether he has received this communication. The letter has details of the calculation done by the assessee and whether it matches the records with the tax department. If there is a refund you will see whether the department has made adjustments, or if there is any further demand. If you have not received the communication from the tax department, it could also mean that your assessment is not yet done.

If the intimation under Section 143(1) shows a refund, and you still have not received it, the issue could be with the pre-validation of the bank account. To link your bank account, you need to log into your e-filing account. The option to “pre-validate bank account” is available under the “profile settings”. If all your details — name, date of birth, and mobile number — with the tax department and bank match, the account is validated. If there’s a mismatch, and the taxpayer is unable to pre-validate account, he will need to get the details rectified in the records of either the bank or tax department.

According to tax experts, non-residents are facing more of such problems because the tax department does not accept international mobile numbers. Many a time non-residents provide the mobile number of their accountant or relatives to the tax department whereas the bank has an overseas mobile number. The details, therefore, doesn't match, and validation remains incomplete.

Another reason for not receiving the refund could be that the department has found issues with your returns, and it has sent a communication. “A taxpayer needs to log into his e-filing account and check if there's any communication from the tax department about the filed returns,” says Arvind Rao, a chartered accountant and an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India. Until the taxpayer addresses the communication sent, the department will not process the refund.

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