Not linked Aadhaar-PAN? This time it may cost you

(This story originally appeared in on Apr 12, 2021)

If you are among a handful of taxpayers who haven’t linked your Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar, it’s high time you do it.

On March 31, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had again extended the deadline to link the two IDs until June 30, citing requests from taxpayers.

Senior tax department officials, however, said this is the last extension as the government has now armed itself with powers to levy a penalty against those who are non-compliant.

The amendment, which was moved by finance minister Niramala Sitharaman in the last Finance Bill, has proposed a fine of up to Rs 1,000 against those who are in default of the requirement for intimation of Aadhaar number.

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While the government had mandated linking of PAN and Aadhaar a few years ago for better tracking of financial transactions, several taxpayers have not complied with the requirement, prompting the government to now arm itself with powers to levy a penalty.
The government had made it mandatory to link Aadhaar and PAN for filing returns and there were some court rulings which offered an escape to some of the individuals who had challenged the move.

In fact, one of the key objectives of linking of Aadhaar and PAN was to do away with duplicate PAN.

Over the last few years the government has made it easier and quicker to get a PAN, using Aadhaar, again a move aimed at ensuring that people do not get away without their high-value financial transactions getting captured.

The data is then tallied with the tax returns filed by the individuals and in recent years it has resulted in tax authorities also sharing information with the taxpayer to enable him/her to pay dues.

Expansion of the tax base by capturing data of individuals and entities not paying taxes or making inadequate disclosures is a key thrust area for the government.

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