The fields to mention the Aadhaar number and the Aadhaar enrollment number (i.e. Aadhaar application number along with date and time of application) are not marked as mandatory fields in ITR forms.
At the time of e-filing of Income Tax Return (ITR) for the Assessment Year (AY) 2019-20, Nishit Choudhury (name changed) couldn’t link his Aadhaar with PAN due to some discrepancy in data. So, he went ahead to e-file his return without quoting the Aadhaar number in the ITR-1 Form. Although the fields to mention the Aadhaar number and the Aadhaar enrollment number (i.e. Aadhaar application number along with date and time of application) were not marked as mandatory fields, Nishit, however, was unable to submit his return as the message ‘Aadhaar is mandatory to file return’ was coming up after clicking on the ‘Submit’ button.
Nishit, whose permanent address is in Jharkhand and currently working as an accountant in a company in Gurgaon, then realised that he has to mention his Aadhaar number in the ITR form despite the fact that it was not linked with his PAN, and he did so to submit the return successfully.
But the doubt was not clear – why the fields to mention Aadhaar number and Aadhaar enrollment number were not marked as mandatory fields, even as either of those were mandatory to file his return. Moreover, in states like Assam, only those people are eligible to apply for Aadhaar, whose name is there on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the issue is still not fully resolved, with the final NRC list is yet to come.
So, when asked how such people in states like Assam, who has not been able to apply for Aadhaar yet, would file their return, Surabhi Ahluwalia, Official Spokes Person of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said, “Exemptions to quote Aadhaar number in ITR forms were there for individuals from Assam and the exemption is still in place,” and she also asked to report the matters, in case taxpayers in Assam are facing any difficulty in submitting ITR without Aadhhar, so that the problems may be resolved.
Must Watch: How To File ITR-1 for AY 2019-20 in less than 15 minutes; Explained on Income Tax Portal
However, despite asking many people in Assam, who used to file their return, nobody could answer conclusively if Aadhhar was mandatory or not to file returns there, as the taxpayers who answered the question have got their Aadhaar and quoted the number in ITR.
When asked the question – why the fields to mention Aadhaar number and Aadhaar enrollment number were not marked as mandatory fields in ITR form, even as either of those were mandatory to file his return – Dr Suresh Surana, Founder of RSM Astute, said that the fields were not marked as mandatory fields, because not all individuals are required to quote their Aadhaar number.
Dr Surna further said that the following individuals who do not possess the Aadhaar number or the Enrollment ID are exempted from mandatorily quoting Adhaar:
1) An individual who is residing in the state of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir and Meghalaya.
2) An individual who is a non-resident Indian or NRI as per the Income Tax Act, 1961.
3) An individual of the age of eighty years or more at any time during the previous year.
4) An individual who is not a citizen of India.
So, the ITR utility automatically decides if Aadhaar is mandatory or not for an assessee on the basis of his/her date of birth, the state mentioned in address and the residential status of the assessee.
While only individual assessees are required to quote their Aadhaar number in ITR, but those, who fulfill any of the four conditions mentioned by Dr Surana, can file their ITR without Aadhaar.