Response to defective return u/s 139(9) : Return filed without P&L and Balance Sheet

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Hiral Vakil

Defective Return
Income Tax Account
P&L Statement
Section 139(9)

Defective return notice is issued to the email id mentioned in filed ITR. The subject of the email is “Fwd: Communication under section 139(9) for PAN XXXXX5789X for the A.Y.20XX-XX”. The password to open the notice is your PAN in the lower case along with the date of birth in DDMMYYYY format. You can file a response to notice u/s 139(9) from your login on the Income Tax E-filing portal within 15 days.

What does return filed without P&L & Balance Sheet mean?

Individuals should maintain P&L and Balance Sheet under the following two conditions:

IT Department issues notice u/s 139(9) if return filed with P&L and Balance Sheet details and assessee files return is without it. Following are the common reasons for defect:

You can check the Schedule P&L and Schedule Balance Sheet in filed ITR to know the defect.


Aman is a general commission agent. And he earns commission income from different companies during FY 2018-19. In this case, his income falls under the head Business & Profession. And he is not eligible to opt for presumptive taxation scheme u/s 44AD. He did maintain P&L and Balance Sheet. But while filing his ITR for FY 2018-19, he forgot to fill details in Balance Sheet. In this case, he would receive defective return notice for return filed without P&L and Balance Sheet.

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How to File Response to defective return under section 139(9)

There are 2 steps to resolve defect and file a response with the Income Tax Department:

  1. Prepare a revised return,
  2. File response on Income Tax E-filing Website.

1. Prepare a revised return

  1. Look at Schedule P&L and Schedule Balance Sheet of filed ITR,
  2. Understand the defect mentioned in the notice,
  3. Download the latest ITR Filing Utility from Income Tax E-filing portal,
  4. Go to PART-A-GENERAL and fill the basic details OR Download the filed XML from your account,
  5. Go to Filing Status section under PART-A-GENERAL,
  6. Select 139(9) under Filed in response to notice u/s,
  7. Enter Date of Filing Original Return from notice,
  8. Add Receipt No. i.e, Original Return’s Acknowledgement Number,
  9. Enter Date of notice i.e, Date of Communication from notice,
  10. Fill details of P&L in Schedule P&L,
  11. Add details of Balance Sheet in Schedule Balance Sheet,
  12. Click on Re-calculate and check Computation in Part B – TTI,
  13. Make a payment of Amount Payable in Part B-TTI if required,
  14. Add details of challan paid under IT Schedule,
  15. Save the XML on your PC and proceed to file the response.
Response to defective return u/s 139(9) - ITR

In the above example, Aman can add details in Schedule P&L and Balance Sheet as per maintained P&L and Balance Sheet and file revised return along with a response to the IT Department.

2. File Response under section 139(9) on Income Tax E-filing Website

Following are the steps to file response:

  1. Visit Income Tax e-filing website

    Login to your account on the income tax e-filing website. Enter user ID (PAN), Password, Captcha Code and click on ‘Login’,Response to Defective Return u/s 139(9) Login

  2. Click on “View Returns/ Forms”

    Select “Income Tax Return” from the dropdownResponse to defective return View Return

  3. Click on “Ack No.”

    Next to date of filingResponse to defective return Ack. No

  4. Click on “e-File in response to Notice u/s 139(9)”

    Under downloads/status descriptionResponse to defective return e-file response

  5. Click on “Submit”

    Under Response to Notice u/s 139(9)Response to defective return submit

  6. If you agree with defect then select “Yes”. Select ITR Form from the dropdown list, upload the saved XML and click on submit.

    In Aman’s case, he needs to select Yes, select ITR-3 form dropdown, upload saved XML and click submit.Response to defective return Upload ITR

  7. If you don’t agree with defect select “No”. Add a remark and click on submit.

    For example, you can put remark that the details in P&L and Balance Sheet is submitted with ITR and click on submit.Response-to-defective-return_Disagree-with-defect


How to resolve error code 32 in a defective return notice?

Error code 32 means ITR is filed with income from business and profession but details in Schedule Balance Sheet is not filed. In such case you need to revise the ITR and add details in Schedule Balance Sheet.

What are the consequences of not filing a response to notice?

If a response is not filed within 15 days then filed ITR can be treated as an Invalid Return. Which means no return has been filed for that year. And thus you can end up with penalties for failure to file return in time.

Can I ask for an extension in a time limit of 15 days?

Yes. You can apply for extensions in the time limit to your AO. You can write a letter to your AO for an extension. And if your reason is accepted by AO then he can extend the time limit.

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