How to correct defective return against notice u/s 139(9) from the Income Tax Department

I recently got a defective return notice u/s 139(9) from IT department for my ITR – AY 2017-18. A return is considered to be defective when there’s an error with calculations or tax paid vs tax liable or details supplied.

The error may be very small but still, It is considered as defective and you get a notice from IT department explaining the error and probable resolution. All you have to do is correct the ITR and e-File in Response to Notice u/s 139(9) But there are few things to take care of while correcting the return. Let’s check it out.

e-file in response to 139(9)

I’m explaining this article with respect to notice that I received but Its almost the same for every notice u/s 139(9)

Notice Details

The error description and probable resolution mentioned in the notice.

defective return u/s 139(9)

Error description

The provisions of Section 44ADA not applicable to the taxpayer. The nature of business code in Sch NOB is not a profession, and the income disclosed under Section 44ADA income is more than zero. Hence the provisions of Section 44ADA is not applicable to the taxpayer. Error code 89

Probable resolution

The provisions of Section 44ADA is applicable only to Professionals with nature of business codes of 601 to 607. Taxpayer is requested to furnish correct Return Form type,i.e.ITR- 3 or ITR- 5 as applicable. If the Income has been disclosed under incorrect Section, the correct Section of the Schedule BP may be filled. If the Nature of Business code entered in the Return filed is not correct, the correct nature of business Code may be entered in the Sch NOB and the Corrected Return may be filed.

Actual Error

I’m a freelancer providing technical services So I opted for presumptive taxation u/s 44ADA and filed ITR-4 which is also applicable to professionals with receipts less than 50 lakhs. 50% of the receipts are considered as taxable income under this section. No additional expenses can be claimed.

The error was in the Schedule BP where Nature of business/profession is mentioned. I had selected Software development agency as the nature of business with code 0711.

If you are eligible u/s 44ADA and filing ITR4 then make sure to select appropriate nature of business code which is between 601 to 607. In my case, It is 607 – Professionals – Others. So I changed the code and filed the return in response to Notice u/s 139(9)

Filing return u/s 139(9)

  1. Download ITR offline utility from Income tax offline-utilities page. Java utilty looks better than Excel utility.
  2. Use your previously filed xml to prefill data (Prefill > select xml file). Make corrections as per your notice but make sure not to change any other details apart from errors.
  3. Select 18 – u/s 139(9) in “Return filed under section” field. and Original in “Whether original or revised return?” field. This is not a revised return!
  4. Enter original acknowledgement number which is found in your Form-V. Enter date of filing of original return
  5. Finally enter the Notice number and date of notice and generate XML

corrected return u/s 139(9)

What is Notice number under section 139(9) in ITR

Notice number is nothing but Communication reference number received in the notice. Few users are reporting that their notice number is more than 23 numbers but the utility allows only 23 numbers. In that case, remove CPC part in the reference number and use it.

Submitting return in IT portal

Login to portal. Go to e-File > Response to Notice u/s 139(9) > Open the notice > select Yes in “Whether you agree the defect” field > upload xml and submit.

efile defective return

Wraping up

There may be a delay in IT portal to show up your notices in e-file in response to 139(9) section. Wait for 2 to 3 days and It’ll show up.

If you have and questions or feedback, comment below.

Author: Ranjith kumar

A CA student by education, self-taught coder by passion, loves to explore new technologies and believes in learn by doing.

14 Thoughts

    1. You would have generated an XML while submitting the return first time right? Didn’t you save it somewhere on your PC? If you didn’t save then download the pre-filled XML from IT portal – My Account > Pre-filled XML. But this XML will have only limited details like Personal information and TDS. You can download previously filed XML from IT portal – My Account > View E-filed returns > click on acknowledgment No. > click on XML

  1. Hi Ranjith, I also received similar notice. Is it ok to keep the date and place same on the sheet “Taxes Paid and Verification”. I mean should the date be changed to Oct 2017 or it can remain as July 2017.

    Also I generated XML from the Excel file that I had saved in the month of July 2017.


          1. I have already submitted keeping same date i.e. July. Do you suggest rectifying again or wait for income tax authorities to revert.

          2. I was told that It shouldn’t be a big deal as long as the date of filing the original return is mentioned correctly in Filing status section. So just wait and see what happens.

  2. Hi Ranjith,
    Thank you for info on your post
    How do I get the orignal xml for correction
    Originally, I filled the return by Preparing and Submitting Online return without XML
    Please advise
    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Anil Mehan

    1. Hi Anil,

      You can download original XML from IT portal – My Account > View E-filed returns > click on acknowledgment No. > click on XML

      Can you explain how did you submit online return without XML?

  3. Thank you so much for this write up Ranjith.

    I got similar notification that my ITR was defective and needed to file a return u/s 139(9) for the same. From the defective mail that I received from IT return site, I was able to figure out that I filed my freelancing income under 44ADA which is wrong. I should have filed that under 44AD.

    The biggest challenge I faced was to generate the XML which was the only option given for filing the response. The Excel utility shared here saved me from all the overhead and it helped to generate the XML and I was able to successfully submit the response as well.

    1. Hi Hariharan,

      What was the business code chosen by you. As per this blog of Ranjith, a freelancer can choose business code “607 – Professionals – Others” and can still file under section 44ADA . Is it possible to share some more thoughts around how you concluded that in your case section 44ADA was not applicable.


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