Taxpayers will now have the option to identify themselves as transgenders while applying for a Permanent Account Number. The Central Board of Direct Taxes amended Income Tax rules on Monday, saying that application forms would now have three check-boxes for gender – male, female and transgender.

The changes became effective on Monday. The notification was issued under the Sections 139A and 295 of the Income Tax Act.

Applicants could earlier choose only between male and female while filling the form to get a Permanent Account Number. However, they also have the option to choose transgender when they register for an Aadhaar card. Because of this, some transgender people had reported problems getting the two identity documents linked.

On March 28, the Supreme Court asked the Centre for help with a petition filed by a transgender person, who said she has been unable to register her start-up because of a mismatch in the genders mentioned on her Permanent Account Number and Aadhaar cards.

Reshma Prasad, an activist and entrepreneur from Bihar, had asked the court to direct the government to introduce a third gender option for PAN card registrations. She said she had to enrol for PAN as a man since the Income Tax Department’s systems do not provide a third gender category.

“Individuals from the transgender community were facing hassles in obtaining a PAN card and this problem was further magnified as Aadhaar had the third gender category but not PAN,” an unidentified CBDT official told PTI after Monday’s notification. “Hence, the transgenders were not able to link their PAN with their Aadhaar due to this anomaly.”

The Centre has extended the deadline for citizens to link their Aadhaar number with PAN to June 30. Taxpayers use PAN to file their tax returns, and it can also be used as an identity proof.