Income Tax Refund below 50,000 to be processed faster
If you have an income tax refund to claim for the assessment years 2013-14 and 2014-15, then there is a reason for you to cheer. The Central Processing Centre at Bangalore and other field formation of the Income Tax Department have been instructed to hasten the refund process for those who have a refund amount below Rs 50,000 to claim.
“Central Board of Direct Taxes has issued directions to its field formations to expedite the issue of pending refunds below Rs. 50,000 for assessment years 2013-14 and 2014-15 in all such cases which have not been selected for scrutiny,” states the notification issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes on December 7, 2015.
A return can be selected for scrutiny during the time period extending up to the end of six months, starting the end of financial year in which the return was filed. So, if you filed your returns on July 15, 2015, then your return can be called for scrutiny up to the end of September 30, 2016, which is six months after March 31, 2016 (the financial year in which you filed returns).
Pending refunds not just lead to hardships for individuals, but also lead to high-interest outgo for the Income Tax Department.
As on November 2015, a total of 3.41 crore returns were filed electronically, as per the Income Tax e-filing portal. Though official estimate of the amount of refund pending is unavailable, a report by Press Trust of India states that Rs 5400 crore worth of refunds are pending. Of these, Rs 659 crore worth of refunds are pending on 2.07 lakh returns for the Assessment Year 2013-14, while a bulky Rs 4,837 crore worth of refunds are pending against 12.90 lakh returns for the Assessment Year 2014-15.
This is the second such initiative on improving the refund machinery during the year. In June 2015, the Central Board of Direct Taxes communicated that the department is striving to process returns and give out refunds within 10-15 days of filing returns.
The CBDT Chairman has also indicated that the department is in the process of putting in place a mechanism wherein all refunds are directly diverted to the bank accounts, thereby eradicating the grievances related to misplacement of refund warrants or cheques due to change in location of the taxpayer, erroneous address etc.
Though several initiatives are being undertaken to reduce the timeline between return-filing and refunds, tax filers must always ensure that they avoid a scenario where additional tax is deducted. So, one should fill Form 15G and 15H if one doesn’t fall under the income bracket that is chargeable to tax i.e. more than Rs. 2,50,000. Planning on tax-saving investments should be an activity at the start of the year so that last minute investments don’t lead your employer to deduct high taxes only to be claimed as refunds later.
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