Following the landmark Supreme Court ruling on the validity of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, which allowed linking of Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) with Aadhaar, the Income Tax Department is set to declare all unlinked Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) as void from 31 March 2019.
This is expected to have major repercussions as almost half of the 400 million PANs currently in existence have not been linked with the unique identification number. The government believes that linking PANs with Aadhaar would enable the weeding out of people with multiple PANs.
The menace of individuals with multiple PANs is said to aid benami transactions and tax evasion resulting in loss of revenue for the government.
A Finance Ministry official speaking on the issue said “all unlinked PANs may be disqualified in one go or in phases. It is possible to keep some restrictions on use of the unlinked PAN initially after the March 2019 deadline before striking them off. In any case, these will not be allowed to remain in use for a long time”.