There is a lot of buzz over the future of PAN or Permanent Account Number, which has so far been mandatory for filing Income Tax Returns, after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said PAN and Aadhaar have been made interchangeable.
Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Chairman, Pramod Chandra Mody has cleared the air by saying that the PAN is "certainly not dead" and the recent Budget announcement of interchangeability of the two databases is an "additional facility" to ensure their linkage, which is now mandatory under the law.
"This is a wrong way of looking at the issue. PAN is certainly not dead. PAN is very much alive. It is just a question of providing an additional facility to the taxpayer that if he is not quoting PAN and only has Aadhaar, his filing and processes do not get affected," Mody said.
The CBDT chief also clarified that a fresh PAN will be allotted to a person who files IT returns with only Aadhaar by the taxman will "suo motu" as part of a new arrangement to link the two databases.
"In cases where Aadhaar is being quoted and PAN is not there, we could possibly think on the terms of allotting a PAN to the person (who is filing income tax return)," he told PTI in an interview.
Presenting the first budget of the Modi government in its second term, Sitharaman had proposed to make PAN and Aadhaar interchangeable and allow those who do not have PAN to file Income Tax returns by simply quoting their Aadhaar number.
Linking of the two databases is now compulsory and backed by law, the CBDT boss said.
While Aadhaar is issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to a resident, PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number allotted by the tax department to a person, firm or entity.
Both the I-T department and the UIDAI have linked their PAN and Aadhaar databases, so having the latter's data will enable the taxman to get vital identity information of the individual to simply allot a new PAN without any hassle and quickly, the experts said.?
Currently, while over 120 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued in the country, about 41 crore PAN numbers have been generated. Out of these, 22 crore PANs are linked with Aadhaar.
With PTI Inputs