Individuals having PAN will have to link it to their existing 12-digit biometric Aadhaar number from July 1, a government notification said. Aadhaar number or Aadhaar enrolment ID will also have to mandatorily quoted while applying for permanent account number (PAN), which is a must for filing tax returns, opening of bank accounts and financial transactions beyond a threshold.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley through an amendment to tax proposals in the Finance Bill for 2017-18 had made Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and provided for linking of PAN with Aadhaar to check tax evasion through use of multiple PAN cards. The Supreme Court had earlier this month upheld the
validity of an Income Tax Act provision making Aadhaar mandatory for allotment of PAN cards and ITR filing, but had put a partial stay on its implementation till a
Constitution bench addressed the issue of right to privacy.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the revenue department has notified amendments to the income tax rules dealing in PAN application, which will come into effect from July 1, 2017. The department said "every person who has been allotted PAN as on July 1, 2017, and who in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 139AA is required to intimate his Aadhaar number... to the principal director general of income tax (systems) or DGIT (systems)". Besides, it entrusted principal DGIT (systems) or DGIT (systems) with specifying the format and standard along with procedure for verification of documents filed with PAN
application or intimation of Aadhaar. As many as 2.07 crore taxpayers have already linked their Aadhaar with PAN.
There are over 25 crore PAN card holders in the country while Aadhaar has been issued to 115 crore people. Referring to the Supreme Court ruling, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the apex policy-making body for the I-T department, had then said the linking of Aadhaar and PAN will be a "must" for filing of income tax returns (ITR) and obtaining PAN from July 1.
The apex court order had only given a "partial relief" to those who do not have an Aadhaar or an Aadhaar enrolment ID, and the taxman, hence, "will not cancel" the PAN of such individuals, it had ruled. "Only a partial relief by the court has been given to those who do not have Aadhaar and who do not wish to obtain Aadhaar for the time being, that their PAN will not be cancelled so that other consequences under the I-T Act for failing to quote PAN may not arise," the CBDT had said.
While Aadhaar is a biometric authentication issued by the UIDAI, PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number alloted by the I-T department to individuals and entities.