There is good news for taxpayers as the income tax department has extended the deadline to link PAN with Aadhaar by 4 months to December 31. The department had earlier said that tax returns filed without linking of Aadhaar and PAN would not be taken up for processing unless the two were linked by August 31, 2017.
This is a huge relief to those who had filed their income tax returns (ITR) by the due date of August 5, 2017, but were not able to link their PAN with Aadhaar by August 31, 2017.
The Income Tax department and the Unique Identification Authority of India, two agencies that issue PAN cards and Aadhaar cards, have so far issued over 25 crore PAN cards and more than 115 crore Aadhaar cards respectively.
The revenue department will notify December 31 as the due date for linkage. This comes at a time when the government has granted a similar extension for the furnishing of Aadhaar for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.
The relaxation in the linkage deadline comes in the backdrop of the Supreme Court recently ruling overwhelmingly in favour of privacy right. The nine-judge bench of the SC in its order had said right to privacy was part of right to life enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, thus making privacy a fundamental right.
The verdict has raised several questions over government's series of mandates regarding the 10-digit, biometric-based Aadhaar card, wherein quoting the document number has been made compulsory for accessing various social welfare schemes.
Also, the Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the government’s decision on Aadhaar and has posted the matter for next hearing in November.
The government has made linking of Aadhaar with PAN compulsory for filing income tax returns. It has also made quoting the 10-digit unique identification number for availing a slew of services including accessing benefits of social welfare schemes, among them Direct Benefit Transfer is most popular among the consumers. DBT deposits subsidy money directly into consumers' savings bank accounts, thus narrowing the room for pilferage.