59. Processing of return within the prescribed time and enable withholding of refund in certain cases.
59.1 Before amendment by the Finance Act, 2016, the provisions of sub-section (1D) of section 143 of the Income-tax Act specify that the processing of a return shall not be necessary, where a notice has been issued to the assessee under sub-section (2) of the said section.
59.2 The said sub-section was amended vide Finance Act, 2016 and it was provided that with effect from assessment year 2017-18, processing under section 143(1) of the Income-tax Act is to be done before passing of assessment order.
59.3 In order to address the grievance of delay in issuance of refund in genuine cases, a proviso has been inserted in section 143(1D) of the Income-tax Act specifying that the provisions of the said sub-section shall cease to apply in respect of returns furnished for assessment year 2017-18 and onwards.
59.4 However, to address the concern of recovery of revenue in doubtful cases, a new section 241A has been inserted in the Income-tax Act to provide that, for the returns furnished for assessment year commencing on or after 1st April, 2017, where refund of any amount becomes due to the assessee under section 143(1) of the Income-tax Act and the Assessing Officer is of the opinion that grant of refund may adversely affect the recovery of revenue, he may, for the reasons recorded in writing and with the previous approval of the Principal Commissioner or Commissioner, withhold the refund up to the date on which the assessment is made.
59.5 Applicability: These amendments take effect from 1st April, 2017 and accordingly apply to returns furnished for assessment year 2017-18 and subsequent years.