How to File Income-tax Return without Aadhaar?

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  • Last Updated on 5 January, 2021
ITR Filing without Aadhar:
 

March 31, 2018 is the last date for filing of income-tax return (‘ITR’) for two financial years, 2015-16 and 2016-17. This is the last chance for the taxpayers to file the ITR belatedly for those financial years. Except for a few class of taxpayers, all other taxpayers are now required to file the income-tax return electronically. The e-filing portal of Income-tax Dept. requires the taxpayers to mention the Aadhaar number in the ITR and link the Aadhaar with the PAN allotted to him by the Income-tax Dept. Linking process of Aadhaar with PAN and ITR was first introduced by the Finance Act, 2017 by inserting a new section 139AA in the Income-tax Act, 1961. This section requires every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar to quote his Aadhaar number in the return of income filed on or after July 1, 2017. If any person does not possess the Aadhaar Number but had applied for the Aadhaar then he can quote Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application Form in the ITR. This provision also requires the linking of Aadhaar with PAN of the taxpayer and in case of failure, the PAN of the taxpayer shall be deemed to be invalid. Therefore, it is now compulsory for every taxpayer to necessarily enroll himself under the Aadhaar Act and obtain Aadhaar number as it is the mandatory requirement under the Income-tax Act. The requirement of linking the two Unique Identification Numbers had always been in the limelight since the date of its inception. Initially taxpayers were unable to link the Aadhaar with PAN due to mismatch in Aadhaar details, shortage of Aadhaar facilitation centers, etc. Considering the matter, CBDT, had allowed taxpayers to link their Aadhaar number with PAN till 31-12-2017, which was further extended till 31-03-2018. The requirement of linking Aadhaar and Income-tax Return/PAN has been challenged at multiple occasions in various High Courts and the Supreme Court. Therefore, the taxpayers are in dilemma whether to link the Aadhaar with Income-tax records or maintain status quo in quarantine till the matter reaches its finality. The Apex Court in case of Binoy Viswam v. Union of India [2017] 82 taxmann.com 211 (SC) had confirmed that taxpayers who would file return of income on or after 01-07-2017 would be required to quote Aadhaar in their ITR. However, the Court had given a partial relief to taxpayers by providing that PAN will not be deemed to be invalid if a taxpayer does not have an Aadhaar or if he does do not wish to obtain an Aadhaar.

Further, the Supreme Court extended the deadline indefinitely for linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts, mobile number and various welfare schemes but the Court didn’t mention anything about the extension of date for linking Aadhaar with PAN. Thus, taxpayers who would be filing belated return electronically would be required to link their Aadhaar number with PAN on or before 31-03-2018.
 
Only a few days are left before this financial year ends as on March 31, 2018. Taxpayers who have not obtained the Aadhaar so far are visiting the Aadhaar Facilitation centers in desperation. As the UIDAI has allowed only public sector banks to become UIDAI registrars, this has created shortage of Aadhaar facilitation centers in India. Now question arises, how a taxpayer can file ITR if he fails to get Aadhaar on or before 31-03-2018 because E-filing website of the Income-tax department doesn’t allow filing of ITR without linking Aadhaar number with PAN.
 
Recently, the Kerala and Gujarat High Court in the cases of Prasanth Sugathan v. UOI [2017] 84 taxmann.com 73 (Kerala) and Bandish Saurabh Soparkar v. UOI [2017] 87 taxmann.com 48 (Gujarat) respectively had allowed taxpayers to file their returns manually without furnishing the Aadhaar number or enrollment ID of Aadhaar application form. The Courts had held that taxpayers who are not possessing Aadhaar have to be allowed to file their returns before department in hard copy for relevant year as an interim measure. However, it would not be obligatory for department to process such returns and Dept. may demand the Aadhaar number from the taxpayers while processing such returns.
 
Therefore, it is suggested that the taxpayers, who are unable to get their Aadhaar or could not apply for Aadhaar before the end of month March 2018, should file the ITR manually by visiting jurisdictional income-tax office. A covering letter should also be attached with the ITR mentioning that the taxpayer has opted to file the return manually relying on the aforesaid High Court Cases because he could not apply for the Aadhaar due to non-availability of appointment in facilitation centres.
 
However, it may be noted that mere filing of ITR manually wouldn’t means that story for the Financial Years 2015-16 and 2016-17 would be over. Taxpayers are required to link their Aadhaar number with PAN as and when available so as to enable income-tax dept. to process their ITRs filed manually.
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