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Government wants to wait for Supreme Court’s decision on three petitions related to Aadhaar which have now been posted for hearing in the first week of November. The deadline for Aadhaar linking for availing social sector schemes has already been extended till Dec 31

In major relief for Income Tax assessees who failed to have their Permanent Account Number (PAN) linked with their Aadhaar, the deadline for doing so has once again been extended. The Union finance ministry, on Thursday, decided that linking PAN with Aadhaar can now be done till December 31.

The decision came on Thursday evening, hours before the renewed deadline of completing the PAN-Aadhaar linking process was to expire. Earlier the government had announced that PAN must be linked with Aadhaar by July 31, a deadline that was later extended till August 31 amid reports that no further extension will be granted.

However, with at least three matters related to Aadhaar – including the government’s decision to make it mandatory to link PAN and the unique biometric identifier – pending before Supreme Court for a hearing scheduled for the first week of November, it seems that the Union finance ministry thought it fit to extend the deadline till the year-end. On Wednesday, the government had informed the Supreme Court that it was willing to extend the deadline for Aadhaar linking for availing social sector schemes till December 31.

Besides the petitions challenging the government’s decision of making linking of Aadhaar with PAN and for availing social security benefits under the Direct Benefits Transfer scheme compulsory , the third petition – filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh – pending before the SC questions the Union government’s decision of having the Aadhaar Act 2016 passed by Parliament as a Money Bill.

Section 139 AA (2) of the Income Tax Act says every person with PAN as on 1 July 2017, who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar must intimate his Aadhaar number to tax authorities. The tax department had, on July 31, stated that “unless a finding is made that Aadhaar is constitutionally not valid, tax return filers will need to link their PAN with Aadhaar by 31 August 2017.”

Incidentally, December 31 is also the deadline for people to link their bank accounts with Aadhaar.

Tax filers, however, were allowed to file their annual income returns by August 5 without linking their Aadhaar with PAN. They were to just quote Aadhaar or acknowledgement number for having applied for Aadhaar when filing their income tax returns. A government communiqué had said: “income tax returns filed will not be processed should tax filers fail to link Aadhaar and PAN on or before 31 August 2017.”

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