The Supreme Court of India has now made it compulsory for everyone to link their Aadhar with PAN before filing income tax returns (ITRs). This judgment was provided in response to a government plea against a High Court order allowing an individual to file tax return without Aadhar card. Following this judgment, it is mandatory for everyone to have Aadhar to file their upcoming income tax returns. The final date for linking your Aadhar with PAN is March 31, 2019.
In February 2018, the Delhi High Court permitted a respondent, Shreya Sen, to file ITR for the year 2018-19 without providing Aadhar details. The government filed a plea against this order in the Supreme Court. At the time of the High Court’s verdict, the decision to make Aadhar mandatory for filing IT returns was still pending in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has now approved the constitutional validity of Aadhar card in September 2018. A Constitutional Bench provided a 4-1 judgment on this case. The Bench also maintained that Aadhar did not violate the right to privacy of Indian citizens. Hence, Aadhar linkage with PAN has been made mandatory. Considering this, the income tax returns for the assessment year 2019-20 shall be filed as per the new terms provided in the judgment.
Despite the judgment, the Supreme Court Bench maintained that obtaining Aadhar continues to remain voluntary. Since individuals who haven’t linked their PAN with Aadhar cannot file their tax returns, there may not be much of a choice for taxpayers.
The notification by the government also mentioned that the maximum late fee for not filing income tax returns is Rs.10,000. This has been effective since April 1, 2018. Those who don’t file ITR will be sent a notice by the Income Tax Department as per Section 142(1) of the Income Tax Act.
Source: Tax Scan