Over 307 million PAN have been linked with Aadhaar, the Finance Ministry informed Parliament yesterday in a response to a question asked by BJP MPs P.C. Gaddigoudar and Ram Shankar Katheria. At the same time, 175 million linkages remain pending, and hence the deadline for the linkage has been extended by another 3 months to March 31, 2020. The deadline for PAN-Aadhaar linkage — which was legalised via Section 139AA of Income Tax Act, 1961, and was upheld by the Supreme Court of India — has been extended multiple times.

In March 2019, The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in India had extended the deadline for linking the PAN with Aadhaar, a few hours before the deadline. We had then written our take on the different issues surrounding the linkage and deadlines. Some of our key arguments included:

  • The fact that deadlines are being issued and then extended last-minute repeatedly, indicates that the objective is to create panic and force people into linking PAN with Aadhaar. This is not how governance should be done. Beyond a point, these threats will not be taken seriously.
  • The fact that linkage was mandated without sufficient study into the feasibility of linking PAN with Aadhaar suggests that this was an Adhoc decision affecting millions of taxpayers.
  • Deadlines being given without software issues being addressed indicates incompetence.

Some of the previous deadlines include, in reverse chronological order:

  • September 30, 2019
  • March 31, 2019
  • March 31, 2018
  • December 31, 2017
  • August 31, 2017
  • July 1, 2017