Taxpayers can now link their Aadhaar number with their PAN details using an SMS-based facility, the Income Tax department said on Wednesday. An individual can send a text message to either 567678 or 56161 to link both unique identity numbers. People can also visit the official e-filing website of the I-T department, which was launched earlier this month, to link the two details.

Linking Aadhaar to PAN was made mandatory earlier this year for filing I-T returns. The rule however is not mandatory for Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Meghalaya and for those over the age of 80. Non-residents of India and non-citizens have also been exempted.

In an advertisement published in the national dailies on Wednesday, the I-T department said the two numbers should be linked in order to “seamlessly avail online, a world of income tax facilities”. People opting for a new PAN card have to mention their Aadhaar number on the application form, it said.

However, the SMS facility can only be used if the individual’s name mentioned on their Aadhaar and PAN cards are identical. In case of a mismatch, they will have to visit the website to link the two.

The Centre’s decision to link Aadhaar with various central schemes has drawn much criticism, and several 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 repeatedly 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.