Reduced Tax Refunds for Taxpayers-Know Why?

If you have filed your ITR for the FY 2020-21 and have received income tax refunds of a reduced amount than claimed, then you are not alone. Many taxpayers have received lower tax refunds this year. This is not due to some mistake in return filing but an error in the income tax portal. 

This year, in June 2021, the income tax department launched a new income tax portal. The government recently launched an Annual Information Statement (AIS) on this new portal, which is all set to replace the existing Form 26AS. AIS contains comprehensive information of specified high-value transactions, advance tax, self-assessment tax, demand/refunds, pending/closed proceedings, etc., along with tax deducted and tax collected details. The income tax department will use this AIS to pre-fill the ITR returns to simplify filing. 

It is observed that the refund amount credited in the taxpayer’s account is the same as reflected in the pre-filled data retrieved from the AIS. The government had advised considering the amounts reflected in Form 26AS over AIS in case of any discrepancy. This is because AIS is a newly launched feature, and till it is entirely functional, Form 26AS would be a more reliable source. 

Ideally, the income tax department should consider the TDS amount reflected in Form 26AS at the time of processing of ITR. However, the portal only picks up the data from the pre-filled returns, resulting in lower refunds. It is expected that the government will address this glitch as soon as possible. 

The finance department has extended the due date to file the returns due to difficulties faced on the new portal. The last date to file the return for individual taxpayers not covered under audit is the 31st of December, 2021.

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