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The income tax department is pushing individuals to link PAN with Aadhaar and so far 17.4 crore individuals of the 37 crore with PAN have complied. The number of taxpayers who have linked Aadhaar in the PAN database and filed income tax returns adds up to almost 4.4 crore. The idea was to catch those who had multiple PANs, ostensibly to avoid paying taxes and mask transactions.
But the exercise has come in handy to also detect transactions which would have earlier escaped scrutiny. Several transactions such as purchase of vehicles, sale of immovable property or opening bank fixed deposits require an individual without a PAN to fill up what is called Form 60 or 61. Thanks to the linking of the two numbers, false declarations by people claiming that they did not have a PAN was detected as in many cases, the unique identification number which was shared was matched with the number issued by the I-T department, sources told TOI.
This analysis for 2016-17 and 2017-18 identified 1.65 crore non-PAN transactions reported through Form 61 (used by those who have agricultural income but no PAN) where the individual had the number issued by the I-T department but had not mentioned it while undertaking the transaction. A matching of the database has also helped populating PAN in over 1.1 lakh non-PAN transactions, including large cash deposits and FD investments.
While several people have questioned the rationale for linking of the UID with PAN, officials argued that it had become a handy tool for detection of un-reported transactions at a time when income tax authorities are keen to deepen the tax base by getting businessmen, professionals and those with agriculture income to report their income accurately.