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Login glitch: I-T returns date extended

‘Taxing’ times: PAN-Aadhaar link can be made till Aug. 31. But returns will not be processed till then.

‘Taxing’ times: PAN-Aadhaar link can be made till Aug. 31. But returns will not be processed till then.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock Photos

Centre pushes deadline to August 5 citing last-minute rush, hardship in linking PAN with Aadhaar

The Centre on Monday extended the deadline for filing income tax (I-T) returns from July 31 to August 5, citing the last-minute rush coupled with widespread difficulties in linking PAN and Aadhaar.

Moreover, the government has granted temporary relief to taxpayers without Aadhaar numbers by allowing them to file their I-T returns without linking the PAN to Aadhaar. However, the returns will not be processed until the link between Aadhaar and PAN has been established. The last date for this is August 31.

Name mismatch

“There are some complaints that the taxpayers are not being able to log on to the e-filing website of Income Tax Department or not being able to link Aadhaar with PAN because of different names reflected in PAN and Aadhaar database,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

“While technical snags have been removed already, the main reason for failure of people to log in is because of last-minute rush and panic in which those who have already logged in want to continue for the entire period for fear of losing it,” the statement added. “In order to facilitate the e-filing of return, it is also decided to give extension of five days for e-filing of return. The return can be filed up to August 5, 2017.”

“For the purpose of e-filing return, it would be sufficient as of now to quote Aadhaar or acknowledgement number for having applied for Aadhaar in e-filing website,” the statement added. “The actual linking of PAN with Aadhaar can be done subsequently, but any time before August 31, 2017. However, the returns will not be processed until the linkage of Aadhaar with PAN is done.”

“As late as May 2017, the government issued a notification saying that the PAN-Aadhaar link was not necessary for certain categories of people such as senior citizens, NRIs, foreigners, and citizens of North Eastern states,” N.S. Srinivasan, a chartered accountant said. “But the return filing website is still asking for Aadhaar for senior citizens, and there is no facility to mention nationality, so even foreigners are being made to get Aadhaar.”

Another issue arising out of the mandatory linking of PAN and Aadhaar is reconciling different names on the two IDs. While Aadhaar allows abbreviations in names, PAN does not, which is causing a lot of problems for people, especially in South India. “If someone’s name is different, they might be having a problem,” Kuldip Kumar, partner and leader at PwC India said. “But they are sticking to the message that it must be done before the returns are processed.”

While the government on Monday said that returns can be filed without the Aadhaar link, the website so far has either been under maintenance, or has required an Aadhaar number to proceed.

“They will have no option but to update the website, otherwise people will not be able to file,” Mr. Kumar added.

“Demonetisation has had a major effect on the number of people filing their returns this year,” a senior official in the Income Tax Department told The Hindu. “But the department knew this would happen. It is not clear why the servers are going down.”

Another reason for the rush could be due to the Income Tax Department’s own rules.

“Taxpayers who earn an income of ₹5 lakh and more are compulsorily required to e-file tax returns online,” Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of Cleartax said. “Additionally, because of the demonetisation of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes, individuals who deposited cash in their bank accounts are required to report the same in their tax returns. This move has further added to the number of tax filers in India.”

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:12:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/login-glitch-i-t-returns-date-extended/article19397802.ece

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