Common reasons for the delay in an income tax refund

Do you want to understand how the income tax refund process works in simple words? Or have you been waiting for your refund? Don’t worry we will help you out by explaining to you this simple process without throwing in any technical jargon and sections like 194da of income tax act. It’s not uncommon that many of us account filed our ITR before the deadline and are expecting that we should have received the income tax refunds by now. However, if you haven’t then there could be numerous reasons behind this.  

While you could go and apply for an income tax refund process it would be beneficial for you to know about the possible reasons behind the delay. So if there is something missing from your end you would take care of our good diseases justify your delay then you will know when to expect a refund.

  1. Processing incomplete

One of the most common reasons for the delay is that the income tax department has not yet processed your ITR. 

You will get a refund only once the ITR department processes your ITR and the income tax department confirms that the processing is complete and that you are eligible for a refund

However, it income tax department reached the conclusion that you are not eligible for a refund you won’t get a refund and you might see it as a delay.

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The other scenario is that the processing is complete and the income tax department has recognized you as eligible for getting a refund but you still haven’t received it. To confirm if your refund is in the pending status category you need to go to the NSDL website or the income taxes e-filing website.


Following are steps to check the refund status

  1. On the NSDL website
  • Go to the NSDL website
  • enter your pan card number
  • select the assessment year
  • enter the captcha correctly
  • Click on submit
  • a pop-up message will show the status of your refund

2. On the e-filing website:

  • Go to the income tax e-filing portal and log in
  • Navigate to the e-File option
  • Click on income tax returns
  • Then choose View filed returns and view details

Based on your situation you will get one of the following three options:

  1. The refund was issued along with the payment mode, the amount refunded and the date of the refund
  2. Refund Failure along with the reason for the failure
  3.  Refund kept on hold with a link to pay off the outstanding demand

If there is a failure you will need to raise another request to issue the income tax refund on the same portal.

However, if the pop-up message shows ‘no records found’ then means the income tax department has not processed your request and is yet to issue the details. In this condition, your income tax refund pending process is technically incomplete and there is nothing you need to do from your end.

3. Error in pre-validation

One of the most common reasons for the delay is an error in the pre-revalidation of your bank account. Or there is an error in linking PAN to your bank account

4. Pending outstanding demand 

If there are outstanding demands which are pending from the financial years that have gone by then it could lead to a delay in your income tax refund. This is because in case of an outstanding demand pending the income tax refund is adjusted based on the pending amount.


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