ITR deadline extended to 5 August, Aadhaar-PAN linking last date now 31 August
New Delhi: The income tax (I-T) department on Monday extended the last date for filing tax returns by five days to 5 August due to the last-minute rush that slowed down the e-filing portal, bringing relief to many taxpayers.
The department said in a statement that the deadline was extended in view of the difficulties faced by taxpayers.
Since Monday morning, the incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in portal slowed due to heavy traffic which made it difficult for many taxpayers to link their Aadhaar numbers with the permanent account number (PAN) and file returns. The department attributed the difficulty in logging in to the e-filing portal to “last-minute rush and panic”.
Taxpayers now have time till 31 August to link their Aadhaar number with PAN. For the time being, it would be sufficient to quote Aadhaar or the acknowledgement number received while applying for it on the income tax e-filing website.
“The actual linking of PAN with Aadhaar can be done subsequently, but any time before 31 August 2017. However, the returns will not be processed until the linkage of Aadhaar with PAN is done,” the statement said.
Aadhaar, the 12-digit biometric identification number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), has been made compulsory for both obtaining PAN as well as for filing tax returns from 1 July. The idea is to check tax evasion by using bogus PAN cards. Unlike other identity numbers, biometrics-based Aadhaar establishes the identity of a person beyond doubt. Besides, Aadhaar-linked bank accounts allow the tax department to verify whether the assets and expenditure of people correspond to their reported income.
Eventually, the tax authority will be able to zero in on all those PANs which are not linked to any Aadhaar number. “Those PAN card holders probably are the ones who have something to hide,” said a tax official, who asked not to be named.
However, some people are not able to link the two because of technical reasons. The tax authority on Monday acknowledged complaints that some taxpayers were not being able to link the two because of different names being reflected in PAN and Aadhaar databases.
“Taxpayers, especially married women, are facing difficulty in linking their PAN with Aadhaar,” said Naveen Wadhwa, deputy general manager-R&D, at Taxmann, a service provider to taxpayers.
The tax department has reworked the return forms for financial year 2016-17, with enhanced reporting requirements. The revised return forms require an assessee to disclose if cash deposits of Rs2 lakh or more were made during the demonetization period from 9 November 2016 to 30 December 2016. Several deposits made during this period in different banks aggregating to Rs2 lakh must also be disclosed.
The department also allowed non-residents to get direct credit of their tax refunds in their offshore bank accounts if they chose to disclose those bank account details. Otherwise, they could seek refunds in their Indian bank accounts.