The government has indicated to the Supreme Court that it is willing to extend this deadline to March 31, 2018. The official said that in the event of the apex court upholding the government position of making linking of PAN with Aadhaar mandatory and agreeing with the proposed deadline, a 3-6 month grace period would be given to allow all taxpayers to do the linking. As of November, 13.28 crore out of 33 crore PANs have been linked to the 12-digit Aadhaar, he said.
"The linking exercise is aimed at eliminating duplicate PAN cards which are being used by unscrupulous elements to avoid paying due taxes," the official said. Not linking PAN with Aadhaar even after the grace period will render the PAN invalid, he said. "We can give 3 to 6-month window after December 31 for the linking," he said.
Last month, the government had told the court, which is hearing petitions against making Aadhaar linking to bank accounts, mobile phone numbers and others mandatory, that it is willing to extend the deadline to March 31, 2018.
This year, the government made the quoting of Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns (ITRs) as well as obtaining a new PAN. "The duplicate PAN cards are the ones which are creating a major danger to the economy. They are the ones who are using this duplicate PAN for opening bank accounts and then they are transacting and they are not filing returns. So we need to worry about them," the official said.
Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says that every person having PAN as on July 1, 2017 and eligible to obtain Aadhaar, must intimate his Aadhaar number to the tax authorities.
The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the government's decision on Aadhaar and has said it may consider setting up a constitution bench to hear pleas challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes.
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