Recently, the Government announced that expatriates whose stay in India exceeds 182 days will be required to apply for an Aadhaar card. Furthermore, these expats will also have to pay domestic income tax. The CBDT (Central Board of Direct Taxes) issued a statement on this, clarifying that expats who are required to apply for Aadhaar cards are those who have stayed for more than 182 days in the past 12 months and have been paying taxes in India. Any expat who has left India needs to file their taxes before July 1st, 2017.
Many expats were hoping to find a way out of applying for an Aadhaar card. They have in turn raised questions such as, if the expat is eligible to pay tax but no longer lives in the country, then how would he/she make an Aadhaar card application?
Kuldeep Kumar, leader, personal tax, PricewaterhouseCoopers, said that the Government will most likely make it possible to obtain Aadhaar cards through high commissions and embassies abroad. So those who are required to get one would be able to do so easily in their own country without visiting India.
As per the Aadhaar Act, a resident means “an individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to one-hundred-and-eighty-two days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.”
If an individual does not fall under this definition, they will not be required to apply for an Aadhaar card and they will also not be eligible for one. Quoting Aadhaar numbers in tax filings is mandatory only for those who are eligible to enrol for Aadhaar. However, in many cases, foreigners who travel to India on employment permits usually stay for more than 182 days.
A major issue that has been raised is that once the expat exits the country, will they be obligated to surrender the Aadhaar card? This would result in more formalities for expats entering and exiting the country. As per the Finance Act, 2017, effective 1st July 2017 to file taxes in India, it is mandatory to either enrol for Aadhaar or apply for a PAN card. Those who already have a PAN card need to keep it active.