The first budget of the second term of Modi government is expected to set the tone for policymaking for the next five years. In her maiden budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman announced that the government will make PAN (Permanent Account Number) card and Aadhaar card interchangeable for the benefit of the citizens.
Sitharaman in her budget speech today announced that taxpayers can now file Income Tax returns using Aadhaar Card also. Thus the cards are now interchangeable. She stated, “More than 120 crore Indians now have Aadhaar card, therefore for ease of taxpayers I propose to make PAN and Aadhar interchangeable and allow those who don’t have PAN to file returns by simply quoting Aadhaar number and use it wherever they require to use PAN.”
Moreover, once the provision is in effect, after getting ratified by the parliament, the citizens can use their Aadhaar card for a wide variety of financial transactions, including, mutual fund investments, and buying gold, amongst others. Traditionally, a PAN card was necessary for conducting these transactions.
Presently, it is compulsory to quote PAN number for filing income tax returns, without which the tax cannot be filed. Last year, Aadhaar card was officially made mandatory for an application of a PAN card. Thus, an individual couldn’t apply for a PAN card without having an Aadhaar card. Since having an Aadhaar was anyway compulsory; PAN card was an added burden. The announcement has thus simplified the process of filing taxes.
This move is no doubt going to ease the process for the citizens and also improve tax compliance, especially for those who are filing tax for the first time. It can help save valuable time for the citizens, avoiding the added burden of applying for yet another identification card when the Aadhaar card is more than sufficient.