Chennai: K Venkatesh never thought the initial in his name would put him in a spot over filing his tax returns. When his PAN card could not be linked to his Aadhaar card, the Chennai-based banker consulted his accountant who discovered the problem: Venkatesh’s initial ‘K’ was expanded as Krishnaswamy, his father’s name, in the Aadhaar database. The system wouldn’t accept the ‘mismatch’, leaving Venkatesh at his wits’ end.
Millions of people across the country could be facing the problem as the government insists on linking the two accounts by July 31, a prerequisite to filing tax returns. And with manual intervention not possible to rectify even minor differences, chartered accountants are flooded with SOS messages.
For college lecturer Eugiene D’Silva, the chartered accountant was of no help. This is because the Aadhaar database does not recognise special characters such as an apostrophe while the PAN card does. In the same boat is K S Srinivas, whose PAN card details have full stops between his ini tials while the Aadhaar card doesn’t. “It would be impossible for us to change our names on the PAN card as it would mean having to change several other documents.
will have to inform my banks, submit fresh KYC documents for three bank accounts, one demat account, and inform the insurance companies. It’s a nightmare,” says Srinivas. Chartered accountants and lawyers feel that the government should enable manual intervention for linkage, particularly in the case of such minor discrepancies. “The government should form a special cell,” says Pankaj Dharamshi, a CA in Bengaluru. “Many of my clients have been having PAN cards for 15-25 years. Now getting a new PAN card and updating all other docu ments would be impossible.It’s better to correct the details in the Aadhaar database.”
People can look up their name in the PAN database by doing a mock self-tax assessment or with their registered user ID or through their linked bank account.Once they get the name as entered in the records, they can ensure that the Aadhar data matches.
Activists are angry.”This is threatening to turn taxpayers into defaulters,” says Gopal Krishna of Citizens Forum for Civic Liberties, New Delhi. For those still struggling to figure out how to file tax returns, a former chief justice of the Madras high court has this piece of advice: “File the returns by speed post and attach a copy of the recent Supreme Court order. There is no way they can refuse your IT returns. In fact, the Income Tax Act has provisions that allow you to file income tax even without a PAN card.”