The Central Board of Direct Taxes, through a notification on 13 February 2020, announced that all PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards that remain unlinked by 31 March 2020 will be declared “inoperative". Does this apply to PAN cards that belong to non-resident Indians (NRIs) too? NRIs were made eligible to get Aadhaar cards only recently, and a lot of them have not visited India since then. Please clarify the situation because if NRI PAN cards are made inoperative, they will not be able to file tax returns and do other financial transactions.
If you hold a PAN card, you must link it with your Aadhaar, irrespective of your residential status in India. If you are not eligible to get an Aadhaar card and don’t hold one, you are not required to link your Aadhaar and PAN. However, if you do have an Aadhaar, you must link it with your PAN card. If you are a non-resident and are not present in India to carry out the linking of the two, you can opt for the online option. You can link your Aadhaar and PAN by visiting the Income-tax Department’s online portal (incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in), clicking on the “link Aadhaar" tab and then following the steps prescribed.
Alternatively, you can link the two by sending an SMS to one of the PAN service providers, National Securities Depository Ltd and UTI Infrastructure Technology And Services Ltd.
Can NRIs can continue to invest in Public Provident Fund (PPF)? In case of a change in citizenship, will I be able to withdraw the amount in my account or will I have to wait for 15 years?
NRIs are allowed to continue to subscribe to PPF accounts, that is, they can make deposits to their existing accounts, which were opened while they were residents. However, NRIs are not allowed to open any fresh PPF accounts. An NRI can make withdrawals from the PPF account once it matures after a period of 15 years.
Archit Gupta is founder and chief executive officer, ClearTax. Queries at firstname.lastname@example.org