The Income Tax Department on Thursday launched the facility to link Aadhaar with Permanent Account Numbers on its e-filing website, PTI reported. The government wants to make it a prerequisite to file Income Tax returns. The option can be found on the homepage.
“After verification from the UIDAI [Unique Identification Authority of India], the linking will be confirmed,” the I-T Department said in an advisory. “In case of any minor mismatch in the Aadhaar name provided, Aadhaar OTP [one time password] will be required.” The OTP will be sent to the person’s registered mobile number and email address. One does not need to register on the e-filing website to use the facility.
The Centre’s decision to link Aadhaar with PAN has drawn much criticism, and several Aadhaar-related petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court. A petition against making Aadhaar mandatory for IT returns is still pending before the bench of Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan. The Supreme Court has time and again said that Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory and its use should only be strictly voluntary.
Despite that, the government has been pushing to make Aadhaar a must for several welfare schemes, facilities and initiatives. The latest was the government’s decision to use the Finance Act 2017 to make Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns. It has also been made mandatory for applying for PAN with effect from July 1, 2017.