Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's Budget announcement to make Aadhaar number and Permanent Account Number (PAN) interchangeable for filing Income Tax Return (ITR) is likely to increase taxpayer base, say experts. As per the announcement, individuals who do not have PAN will soon be able to file their ITR just by quoting their Aadhaar number. In addition to this, those who do not have PAN can simply quote their Aadhaar number wherever PAN is mandatory to quote. PAN has so far been mandatory for filing Income Tax Returns. After Aadhaar was introduced, it became mandatory to link PAN and Aadhaar for this purpose.
According to Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO ClearTax, Aadhaar has wider coverage than PAN i.e. more Aadhaar cards are issued than PAN - so in terms of checking evasion it may serve better.
"Besides, people who have been facing issues due to name difference between PAN and Aadhaar will be relieved, so it is definitely a procedural relief for some. This is likely to increase the taxpayer base," he adds.
Amit Maheshwari, Partner of Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP seconds his thoughts.
However, using Aadhaar may also land up the government in complex privacy issues, adds Mr Gupta of ClearTax.
Presenting the first budget of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in its second term, Ms Sitharaman also said that Aadhaar card for NRIs with Indian passports will be issued after their arrival in India, without waiting for the mandatory 180 days. Ms Sitharaman said with a view to incentivising investment in GIFT City, the government also proposes several tax benefits.