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Tax dept halts call to get actual records for PAN

Decision to furnish original documents put on hold

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Filing tax online
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The income tax department on Thursday froze the decision to make it mandatory for applicants to furnish original documents of identity proof and address and self-attested copies for a Permanent Account Number (PAN). The new procedure, announced about a week ago, was to come into effect from February 3.

“The Central Board of Direct Taxes has decided to keep in abeyance the decision to change the procedure for PAN allotment till further orders,” the finance ministry stated. It said the circular, issued earlier this month to service providers, would be put on hold till further orders.

The old procedure of PAN application and allotment would continue: Applicants would have to give only photocopies of documents until further notice.

Though the CBDT did not give a reason for its decision, it is learnt that feedback was given to the tax department that the move would cause practical difficulties and should be reviewed. Apparently, the department also did not have adequate infrastructure and IT systems in place to verify documents. It was opposed by some sections on the grounds it would cause problems for genuine applicants, particularly for foreigners, as they might not trust agents with their original documents and would prefer to appear in person for applying.

The tax department’s decision was aimed at checking frauds, especially by some foreigners. People who did not have the required proofs of identity and address were furnishing false information to get a PAN card. In some cases, fake documents were submitted to get a duplicate PAN card.

“Every PAN applicant will have to submit self-attested copies of proof of identity, address and date of birth documents and also produce original documents for verification,” the CBDT had said. It, however, said the original documents would be returned after verifying the self-attested copies.

At present, about 140 million people have a PAN card in India, while only 34 million of them file income tax returns. About 1.4 million new PAN cards are issued every year.

Depository account statement, bank account statement/passbook, ration card, passport, voter identity card, driving licence, property tax assessment order and a certificate signed by a Member of Parliament or a Member of Legislative Assembly or Municipal Councillor or a gazetted officer are accepted as proofs of identity and address.

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First Published: Fri, January 31 2014. 00:41 IST