A large number of people, especially those in the south of the country, feel hassled by the Centre’s decision making Aadhaar mandatory for filing income tax returns and linking their PAN with it.
Unlike the rest of India where people use surnames, most people in the South use initials either before or after their names. This has created a unique problem, which the Centre has not thought out clearly.
While providing the Aadhaar enrolment number will do for filing income tax returns, attempts to integrate the Aadhaar with the PAN have failed for many. The PAN card would be deemed invalid if it is not linked to Aadhaar by December 31 this year.
When PAN was issued, people were asked to expand their initials, and the card was issued with the full name. But as many pointed out, initials were expanded only for the purpose of getting a PAN card and a passport. However, the Income Tax department’s software has not been accepting the integration of the two cards, owing to what is primarily a faulty implementation of a government mandate.
Magesh Margabandu, an IT professional, said his PAN card had misspelt his name adding an additional “a” and making his surname as the first name. He said the PAN card issued to him is in the name of “Maragabandu Magesh”. “This was issued in 1996 when I first got a job. Margabandu is my father’s name, but the PAN has swapped it, and the name also has a spelling mistake. My passport and Aadhaar have the correct spelling and the surname. Now, the I-T website is not linking my Aadhaar with PAN,” he said.
Rakesh, a chip designer, said “My name in the Aadhaar card is the same as the names in my school marksheets and all other government documents. However, in the PAN card my surname, first name, and last name are there, but all of them are jumbled. I am waiting for more clarity from the government. If they insist on linking the two cards on the website, it is going to be a problem.”
Mr. Rakesh, who refused to give his last name, said his parents too faced the same issue.
On Tuesday, M. Archunan started a petition on Change.org, regarding the name mismatch issue. In his petition, he said, “how can a person, whose legally accepted name is M. Archunan and has all his legal documents are carrying the name of M. Archunan, apply for a PAN Card. This is a very faulty system or procedure followed by our Government.”
“Although some 10-13 years back I got a PAN Card in the name of Archunan Marimuthu after convincing the authorities, only now I understood that it was not a proper solution. Because, now I have two identities. One is M. Archunan and the other is Archunan Marimuthu [sic],” he said in the petition.
One solution to this issue is to either apply for a name correction in the Aadhaar or on the PAN card. But this defeats the whole purpose of Aadhaar being a one-time enrolment exercise.
If one has to apply for a correction on the PAN card, an individual will have to pay a fee of Rs. 107. Magesh says he has already filled the form and paid the amount, but is yet to mail the form to the department, while Mr. Rakesh says he too might end up having to get a correction done on the PAN. This might end up as an unnecessary expense for the tax payer for no fault of theirs.
“Ideally, this should be resolved through the use of a One-Time Password sent to the registered mobile number to link the two numbers on the income tax website, or they should take a self-attested affidavit to link the two,” Mr. Rakesh says.
An e-mail questionnaire sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) did not elicit any response till the time of publishing. An official at the Income-tax Department said one solution to this name mismatch issue was applying for a correction in one of the two cards.