Is it mandatory to link Aadhaar with income tax returns?

Finance Act 2017 has inserted Section 139AA in the Income Tax Act which states that any person who is eligible to obtain an Aadhar card must obtain the same and map it to the PAN card before filing returns.

Jun 02, 2019 08:06 IST India Infoline News Service

The debate on the privacy of data and the need to link the Aadhar with PAN is finally settled by the Supreme Court. While linking your Aadhar for mobile phone connections and bank accounts is not mandatory, Aadhar linking with PAN is mandatory for filing tax returns. In fact March 31, 2019 was the last date for this linking, which is now, extended to September 30, 2019. The bottom-line is that you cannot file your IT returns this year without linking PAN with Aadhar. In fact, going ahead, your PAN could get frozen and past refunds held up if you do not link your PAN and your Aadhar.
 
Mandatory quoting of Aadhar in your Income Tax Return
With a view to tracking leakage of incomes, the Aadhar and PAN are now required to be mapped. A lot of smaller expenses cannot be mapped by the PAN card and also it is hard to track flows of people who are not filing returns. Mapping of PAN with Aadhar ensures a much better audit trail.
 
Finance Act 2017 has inserted Section 139AA in the Income Tax Act which states that any person who is eligible to obtain an Aadhar card must obtain the same and map it to the PAN card before filing returns. In case people do not have an Aadhar Card, they can apply for an Aadhar card and quote the enrolment number and update the PAN at a later stage. The cut off date of March 31, 2019 applies to all those who were allotted PAN prior to July 01, 2017. Not quoting your Aadhar Number in the IT returns is a valid ground for rejection.
 
There is some confusion about the Supreme Court ruling on the Aadhar case and whether it is still mandatory. In fact, some litigants had questioned the constitutional validity of Section 139AA, inserted in the Finance Act 2017. In its Judgement, the Honourable Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 139AA. However, the Supreme Court did offer some relief. While mapping Aadhar to PAN would continue to be mandatory under Section 139AA, the PAN number will not become invalid just because it is not mapped to Aadhar. However, this mapping will be a pre-requisite for filing your tax returns.
 
That settles the debate – how to go about mapping
  • Coming from the Supreme Court, it surely settles the debate about the need to map your Aadhar to PAN. It is mandatory for filing your returns. How do you go about mapping your Aadhar to your PAN card?
  • The simplest way to map Aadhar with PAN is online through your Income Tax Login. Once you login into the IT website, you must first check the status of your mapping in the Profile Settings. If you are not yet mapped, then you just need to mention your Aadhar number in the IT secured area. Ensure that your name in the IT record and the Aadhar record match. The UIDAI will send you an OTP to your registered mobile and once that is inputted, your Aadhar is mapped. Income Tax does not insist on a perfect name match and small differences are acceptable in mapping.
  • If you are not yet registered with the Income Tax website, you can also map from the Income Tax home page by quoting your PAN number and Aadhar Number. Here, it is mandatory that your names must match precisely. That is why going through the login section may be a better idea.
 
You can also link Aadhar with PAN by sending an SMS to the PAN Service provider (NSDL or UTI-ITL). Send the message to 567678 or 56161 in the following format:
UIDPAN<SPACE><12 digit Aadhaar><SPACE><10 digit PAN>

Lastly, you can also link your Aadhar and PAN manually by filling up the mapping Annexure. You can visit any of the service centres of NSDL or CDSL with original documents for verification.
 
Government has recently extended the due date for PAN – Aadhar mapping from March 31, 2019 to September 30, 2019. Make the best of this extension and get Aadhar compliant.

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