The income tax department recently announced an extension in the due date for linking PAN and Aadhaar for the eighth time, from 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020. The extension was issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) through the notification no. 107 of 2019 dated 30/12/2019.
Deadlines Announced in the Past
Initially, the income tax department issued a notification that stated income tax returns could be filed without linking PAN to Aadhaar until 5 August 2017. The deadline to link PAN and Aadhaar was extended from 31 August 2017 to 31 December 2017. Then, it was extended to 31 March 2018.
Further, it was stretched until 30 June 2018, 30 September 2019 and then finally to 31 March 2019. The due date to link PAN and Aadhaar was further delayed until 31 December 2019. Now, the latest notification says that those who haven’t yet linked PAN to Aadhaar can do so until 31 March 2020. The government has been announcing deadlines and there are seamless extensions for the same making the citizens go reckless about linking PAN to Aadhaar.
Why is Linking PAN to Aadhaar Important?
According to Section 139AA of the Income Tax Act, every person who is eligible to obtain an Aadhaar number on or after 1 July 2017 must quote it in the PAN application form and while filing income tax returns.
In another case, every person who has obtained their PAN card before 1 July 2017 and eligible to obtain Aadhaar number is supposed to intimate the number (or Aadhaar enrolment ID) to the prescribed authorities by the specified deadline issued by the Central Government. In case a person fails to intimate the same, the PAN allotted to such a person will be deemed inoperative. Though the definition of ‘inoperative’ has not been provided in the law yet.
Why Deadlines are Extended Repeatedly?
As stated earlier, there have been multiple deadline extensions in the past three years. The major reason for this extension is that a very small group of people have abided the regulations as specified in Section 139AA. The government would have gone ahead and invalidated the permanent account numbers of those individuals who have not linked it to their Aadhaar.
In reality, the number of people who have not linked PAN to Aadhaar is evidently higher than those who have linked. Therefore, the government has no other go and has been extending the deadline.
In addition to extending the due date, the government can conduct drives to create awareness among the public on the ways of linking PAN to Aadhaar. The public must be educated about the benefits of linking and the ease of doing the same with the help of technology.
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