Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has deactivated a total of 11.5 crore PAN cards for not being linked to Aadhaar cards. The deadline for linking PAN with Aadhaar expired on June 30, earlier this year.
There are 70.24 crore PAN card holders in India, and among them, 57.25 crore have had their PAN cards linked with Aadhaar.
While the Aadhaar-PAN linking is automatic for new applicants at the application stage, existing PAN holders who were allotted PAN on or before July 1, 2017, were “mandatorily” asked by CBDT to link PAN and Aadhaar. The inability of 11.5 crore citizens to do so has led to the deactivation of their cards.
CBDT shared this information in response to an RTI filed by Madhya Pradesh-based activist Chandra Shekhar Gaur. The RTI reply emphasised that under sub-section (2) of Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, it is mandatory for every person who has been allotted a PAN to “intimate his Aadhaar number”.
“This linking of PAN and Aadhaar was required to be done on or before a notified date, failing which PAN becomes inoperative,” the RTI reply further said.
Further, Section 234H provides that where a person who is required to link his PAN with Aadhaar fails to do so on or before a notified date, he shall be liable to pay a fee. In this case, CBDT has imposed a penalty of Rs 1,000 to enable reactivation. All these implications were laid out by CBDT in a circular dated March 30, 2023. The deadline for linking PAN and Aadhaar was also extended to June 2023 to ensure compliance.
“The cost of getting a new PAN card is Rs 91 excluding the Goods and Services Tax. Then how can the government impose a 10-fold fine for getting the PAN card reactivated? Also, how will people whose PAN cards have gotten deactivated file income tax?” pointed out Gaur.
“Government should rethink and extend time limits for at least a year for linking PAN with Aadhaar,” he added.