Defective Return under Section 139(9)


As per Section 139(9), an Income Tax Return is treated as a Defective Return if any of the following 8 documents is not attached with the Income Tax Return.

If the Income Tax Officer considers that the Return as a defective return, then he shall intimate the defect to the taxpayer and give him the opportunity to rectify the defect within 15 days from the date of such intimation. He can also extend the time period on an application made by the assessee.

The defect is intimated to the assessee by the Assessing Officer through a simple letter.

Defective Return if any of following Document is missing

1. A return in the prescribed form with all annexure, columns and statements duly filled in.

2. A statement showing the computation of the tax payable.

3. Proofs of tax, if any, claimed to have been deducted or collected at source and the advance tax and self assessment tax, if any, claimed to have been paid.

Provided that where return is not accompanied by proof of tax, if any, claimed to have been deducted or collected at source, the income tax return shall not be regarded as a defective return if:-

4. Report of Audit under Section 44AB or where the report has been furnished prior to the furnishing of the return, a copy of such report together with proof of furnishing of the report.

5. In case regular books of accounts are maintained by the assessee, then copies of:

  • Manufacturing Account, Trading Account, Profit & Loss Account or the Income and Expense Account and the Balance Sheet.
  • In case of partnership firm, the personal accounts of the partners.
  • In case of AOP/BOI, the personal accounts of the members.
  • In case of a proprietary concern, the person account of the proprietor.
  • In case of a partner of a firm, his personal account in the firm.
  • In case of a member of AOP/BOI, his personal account in AOP/BOI

6. Where the accounts of the assessee have been audited then copies of the audited profit & loss account, balance sheet and the auditor’s report.

7. In case where cost audit under Companies Act has been conducted, then the copy of such audit report.

8. Where the regular books of accounts are not maintained by the assessee, then a statement showing the amount of turnover, gross receipts, expenses and the net profit of the business or profession carried on by the assessee and the basis on which such amounts have been compted and also disclosing the amount of total Sundry Debtors, Sundry Creditors, Stock-in-hand, cash and bank balances at the end of the year.

Section 139(9)-Defective-Return

Relevant Points regarding Defective Return

If the taxpayer does not rectify the defective return within the period of 15 days or the extended time period, then the return shall be treated as void-ab-initio and it shall be deemed that the assessee has not filed the income tax return.

However, in case the assessee rectifies the defect after the period of 15 days or the extended period but before the completion of assessment, then the income tax officer may condone the delay and treat the income tax return as a valid return.

The income tax officer can treat the return as valid return even if it is a defective return. But, if the assessing officer considers that return as defective, then he is bound to intimate the defect to the assessee.

Date of Intimation means the date on which the letter specifying the defect is received by the assessee.

CA Karan Batra, the founder of this website is All India Rank 22 in CA Exams and is regularly featured in both TV and Print media as a leading tax expert. He is the author of 2 books and has vast experience of representing cases before the Tax Dept.