Aadhaar card is a 12-digit unique identification number having the biometrics records of Indian residents. The government has made it mandatory to link one’s Aadhaar number with bank accounts, mobile numbers, PAN card and other services. For a lot of services, the Aadhaar card is a mandatory KYC. As of now there are more than 10 services or records which have to be linked with Aadhaar number. Among them, the linking of PAN and Aadhaar number has been a matter of litigations and multiple extensions.
CBDT keeps on extending the last date to link the two records. Hitherto the deadline has been extended five times. Recently CBDT has extended the last date to March 31, 2019. If you are wondering that this extension would be a relaxation against the mandatory quoting of Aadhaar number in ITR, then the answer is an emphatic ‘No’. Let’s find out why?
Section 139AA of the Income-Tax Act, which came into effect from July 1 2017, requires every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar to quote Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID while applying for PAN or filing return of income. In other words, a taxpayer has to do two compliances – Linking of Aadhaar number with PAN and quoting of Aadhaar number in ITR. The government has extended the last date for the first requirement, i.e., linking of two records, but the second requirement is still valid and mandatory as of now.
You may have some queries with regard to Aadhaar-PAN linking, which we have tried to resolve through various FAQs answered below.
FAQ 1: Is it mandatory to quote Aadhaar in ITR?
Yes, it is mandatory for every person, who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar, to quote the Aadhaar number or Aadhaar Enrolment ID number in the ITR Form and application for allotment of PAN.
An exemption has been given to the following individuals from quoting the Aadhaar number or Enrolment ID in ITR:
1. An individual residing in the states of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya
2. A non-resident individual as per the Income-Tax Act
3. An individual whose age is 80 years or above
4. An individual who is not a citizen of India.
FAQ 2: In case of HUF, Partnership Firm and other non-corporate organisations, whose Aadhaar number is to be used for linking with PAN?
In case of HUF, the Aadhaar number of Karta shall be linked with the PAN card of HUF. In case of other non-corporate organisations, Aadhaar number of the principal person of the organisation shall be linked with the PAN card of the organisation.
FAQ 3: Is it mandatory for an NRI or a foreign citizen living in India to link the Aadhaar number with PAN?
No, it is not mandatory for an NRI or foreign citizen living in India to link the Aadhaar number with PAN. The income tax return does not show any error if the Aadhaar number field is left blank if the status of the taxpayer is ‘Non-Resident’ as a special exemption has been granted to NRI or a foreign citizen from quoting the Aadhaar number in ITR.
If an individual had obtained the Aadhaar while he was a resident in India and subsequently became a non-resident, then he would have an option to quote the Aadhaar No. in ITR. It is advisable for a taxpayer to mention the Aadhaar No. in ITR if he has the same.
An individual can apply for the Aadhaar card if he has resided in India for an aggregate period of 182 or more in 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment. Thus, a Person of Indian Origin or Foreign National can apply for Aadhaar only if they have been in India for 182 days or more.
FAQ 4: Is it mandatory to link Aadhaar number with PAN to file income tax return?
No, it is not mandatory for a person to link Aadhar with PAN so as to file the income tax return on or before July 31, 2018 as such linking can be done on or before March 31, 2019. As mentioned earlier, these are two different requirements. If Aadhaar No. is not mentioned in ITR, the utility shall show an error and e-filing website shall not accept the return. Without linking the two records, a resident person can file the return if he just mentions it in the income-tax return.
FAQ 5: Whether PAN will be treated as invalid if a person doesn’t link it with Aadhaar?
As per proviso to Sec 139AA(2), in case assessee fails to intimate the Aadhaar Number, the PAN allotted to the person shall be treated as invalid and the other provisions of this Act shall apply, as if the person has not been allotted PAN.
However, in the case of Binoy Viswam v. Union of India  82 taxmann.com 211, the Supreme Court partially stayed the operation of Proviso to Section 139AA(2). It held that if the assessee does not hold the Aadhaar number, then PAN should not be considered as invalid. However, if the assessee is holding the Aadhaar number, he must intimate it to the department.
Hence, PAN of a person will not be treated as invalid if it isn’t linked with Aadhaar number only in those cases where taxpayers don’t possess the Aadhaar number. The Apex Court has not given any relief in other cases.
FAQ 6: How to link Aadhaar number with PAN?
If your Aadhaar number isn’t yet linked with PAN card, then every time you login on e-filing portal, you shall be shown a pop-up message asking you to link the Aadhaar number with PAN. Use the link given in the pop-up window to link the Aadhaar with PAN.
Alternatively, you can also follow the following steps to link Aadhaar number with PAN:
1. Login to e-filing portal https://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in
2. Go to ‘Profile Settings’ and click on ‘Link Aadhaar’
3. Enter your ‘Aadhaar number’, ‘Name as per Aadhaar’ and click on ‘Link Aadhaar’. In case you Aadhaar Card is carrying just year of birth, then you have to check on the option on ‘I have only year of birth in Aadhaar Card’
4. You are also required to give consent to validate Aadhaar details with UIDAI in order to complete the process of linking.
5. If the details as per PAN and Aadhaar card are the same, the linking shall be done automatically and a pop-up message will inform you that your Aadhaar card has been successfully linked to your PAN card.
If your PAN is not registered at the e-filing portal, you just need to visit the e-filing portal http://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in and select the option to ‘Link Aadhaar’ under ‘Quick Links’ section on the homepage. Enter your ‘Aadhaar number’, ‘Name as per Aadhaar’ and click on ‘Link Aadhaar’.
FAQ 7: What are the different modes to link Aadhaar Number with PAN?
The government has prescribed the following modes to link Aadhaar number with PAN:
Send SMS to 567678 or 56161 from your registered mobile number in the following format:
UIDPAN<SPACE><12 Digit Aadhaar Number><SPACE><10 Digit PAN>
For E.g., UIDPAN 123456789000 EPOPE1234E
By visiting the website of the PAN service providers (i.e., http://www.tin-nsdl.com or http://www.utiitsl.com). Click on the button ‘Link Aadhaar to PAN’ which will direct you to the income-tax website.
By visiting directly the e-filing website (i.e., http://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in).
c) Paper mode:
File one page Form along with minimal fee with the designated PAN centre. Copies of PAN card, Aadhaar card are to be furnished.
FAQ 8: How to link Aadhaar number with PAN if there is a minor mismatch in the name?
Earlier, the Income-Tax Dept. was allowing linking of Aadhaar number with PAN if there was a minor mismatch in the name appearing in PAN and in Aadhaar card. The identity of taxpayers was verified by sending One Time Password (OTP) to the mobile number registered with UIDAI.
However, with effect from 01-12-2017, UIDAI has discontinued the practice of verifying the user’s identity with OTP. Therefore, Aadhaar number cannot be linked with PAN if there is any mismatch in the name as per records of Aadhaar and PAN. Taxpayers are required to rectify either of the documents, PAN or Aadhaar, so as to complete the process of linking these two records.
FAQ 9: What could be other reasons for failure in liking of Aadhaar Number and PAN?
There are certain reasons due to which a taxpayer might not be able to link his Aadhaar number with his PAN. Some of the reasons are:
a) Phone number of the taxpayer is not updated in the Aadhaar database: Taxpayers cannot link their Aadhaar number with PAN if their phone number is not updated in the Aadhaar database. In this case taxpayers are required to visit the Aadhaar Facilitating Center to update their phone number in the Aadhaar database.
b) Gender Mismatch: In case of gender mismatch, taxpayers won’t be able to link Aadhaar with PAN. In this case, taxpayers are required to get the gender corrected either in Aadhaar database or in PAN database.
c) Date of birth: Aadhaar won’t be linked to PAN in case there is a mismatch in the date of birth of the taxpayer. However, taxpayers whose Aadhaar card contains only the Year of Birth and it matches with the PAN records, linking of these two documents would not be difficult.
(By CA Naveen Wadhwa, DGM, Taxmann.com and CA Dipen Mittal, nanager, Taxmann.com)