New Delhi: After the Supreme Court this week unanimously ruled that individual privacy is a fundamental right, a lot of people must be worrying about its implications –particularly on the use of the world's largest biometric ID card programme –Aadhaar and its mandatory linkage with PAN.
The government had mandated linking of PAN with Aadhaar by the extended deadline of August 31.
Elaborating on this, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey has said that tax payers will have to link their PAN with Aadhaar by the stipulated deadline, which is this month-end, as the Supreme Court verdict on privacy has no bearing on the requirement.
"There also, linking of PAN to Aadhaar is mandated by an amendment in income tax act...The linking will continue under that act and law. There is no change", Pandey said.
The requirement for Aadhaar being quoted for availing government subsidies, welfare schemes and other benefits will also continue unhindered for now, he told PTI.
The biometric identifier is currently required for services ranging from getting subsidised cooking gas to opening bank account and obtaining a new phone number.
Chetan Chandak, Head of Tax Research, H&R Block, India, told Zee Media that till the supreme court decides on the issues “whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy of an individual” there is no change in the current situation.
“Though this judgement has raised big questions on government’s decision to make Aadhaar mandatory for various financial transactions, welfare schemes, PAN application, processing of tax returns, etc,” Chandak said.
Therefore the income tax department’s decision mandating linking of their PAN with Aadhaar byAugust 31, 2017 still holds good and the returns will not be processed unless the PAN is linked with Aadhaar.
Those taxpayer who wish to file the tax return immediately but have not linked their PAN and Aadhaar as yet will have to quote either their Aadhaar or Enrollment ID in their tax return without which they will not be able to file the tax return and delaying the tax return further may lead to paying additional interest on the tax dues.
Further as per the existing situation their return and consequent refunds will not be processed if they don’t link their PAN and Aadhaar by 31st August. So it is in the interest of an honest taxpayer to be compliant with current law.
“But if one has serious concerns on privacy related issue and if he doesn’t wish to apply for Aadhaar or quote it in his tax return he can wait till the supreme court decides on the validity of Aadhaar. But one should carefully analyse the related tax consequences before he does so,” Chandak added.