So you haven't got your income tax refund yet?
Paying tax is a pain! Filing your annual return correctly within the due date is a bigger pain. And the biggest pain of them all is to wait endlessly for that tax refund that is rightfully yours.
Having been a good citizen and having complied with the law of the land dutifully, you are right in expecting that you are treated fairly by the department.
And the least courtesy that they can show towards a diligent tax payer like you is to refund his money quickly and in a hassle free manner.
While your complaint is fully understandable, an objective analysis of the situation would help.
Steps that the Income Tax department has taken
Sensitive to the agony of the tax payers, the Income tax (IT) department has taken a few steps to make life easier for the tax payer. Here’s a look.
Refund Banker Scheme: Introduced in 2007, SBI, Mumbai, is mandated to handle the refunds centrally and the amount may be credited to your bank account through RTGS/ECS or sent by cheque. This has simplified the process and also quickened it.
Facility to check the refund status: The department has enabled you to check online, the status of your refund. You may visit https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/oltas/refundstatuslogin.html
Centralised return processing: Earlier, the returns were processed at the local IT office and refunds were issued from there. Now the same is mostly being carried out at the Centralised Processing Centre (CPC), Bangalore, and refunds arranged from there. This has resulted in streamlining of the return processing and refund process.
How to avoid delays
Well, not all the blame for the delayed refunds lies with the department. You, at your end, can take a few steps to avoid or minimize the delay.
Ensure taxes are correctly credited to you: Quite often, the tax payments claimed by you may not match with the records of the department.
You can verify all your TDS and advance tax payments from your Form 26AS, which can be downloaded from https://www.tdscpc.gov.in/en/taxpayer-home.html.
Periodical reconciliation of the same and immediate steps to set right any differences would ensure full credit of your taxes.
Ensure the correct account number: If the wrong account number is mentioned in your return, your refund may get delayed as result.
Submit ITR V on time: Ensure that the acknowledgement (ITR V) for submission of your tax return has been forwarded to the CPC within the specified time. Unless this is done, your tax return may be considered as not filed.