We already know that Aadhaar issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to a resident of India, is a unique 12 digit identity number based on the biometric data obtained from an individual. This identity card is now essential for carrying out multiple tasks in practically every government related service including filing your ITR (income tax return). Whether you have your Aadhaar card or not, the unique identification number generated on applying for Aadhaar or called the Aadhaar Enrolment ID is mandatory to quote in the ITR form.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has clarified that from July 1, 2017, onwards, every person eligible to obtain Aadhaar must quote their Aadhaar number or their Aadhaar Enrolment ID number for the filing of Income tax returns as well as while applying for allotment of PAN.
When you visit an Aadhaar Enrolment centre and fill up the Aadhaar Enrolment form, it asks for details in 11 fields that are mandatory. Once the fields in the form are filled and supporting documents submitted, you are requested to sign the document with your signature, name or thumbprint to validate the form. The centre staff then inputs your biometric information such as fingerprints, and a spot photograph to add to the Aadhaar Card database. You will then receive an acknowledgement slip which has your Aadhaar Enrolment ID or Aadhaar Enrolment number.
On successful verification, your Aadhaar number will be printed and sent to you at your postal address. The delivery of Aadhaar card takes 60 to 90 days from the day of enrolment. You can also track your Aadhaar approval by using the Enrolment number.
As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, which was inserted by Finance Act, 2017, it is mandatory to quote Aadhaar or the Enrolment ID of Aadhaar application form for filing of income tax return.
The Union Government introduced amendments to the Finance Act, 2017 stating that persons who have obtained Aadhaar number with effect from July 1 2017 should quote the Aadhaar number:
The Section 139AA(3) of the Act has exempted the below four categories of people from mandatorily quoting the Enrolment ID:
The government of India has mandated taxpayers to link Aadhaar card with PAN to file income tax returns with the primary objective to curb tax evasion through the use of multiple PAN cards. When PAN card is linked with Aadhaar, there is no possibility to avoid paying tax until August 2015, taxpayers could file ITRs without having linked Aadhaar and PAN. However it was later announced that PAN and Aadhaar had to be mandatorily linked until December, 31st 2017, failing which PAN would cease to be valid. Keeping in mind the process difficulties, taxpayers have been notified by the CBDT with an extended deadline of 31st March 2018 for Aadhaar PAN linking.
In order to link your PAN number with Aadhaar you can visit http://www.incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in and click on ‘Link Aadhaar’ tab.
In case you don’t possess an Aadhaar card yet, you are required to file your returns by quoting your Aadhaar acknowledgement number.
If you have applied for one and still haven’t received your Aadhaar number while filing returns, you can quote the 14 digit Aadhaar Enrolment Number mentioned in your acknowledgement slip and file your returns.
Although NRIs are exempted from income tax on their income abroad, they have to file tax returns for their income earned in India. However, the Indian government has exempted Non¬Resident Indians (NRIs) from the requirement of quoting Aadhaar number while filing income tax returns back home. Such individual may not be eligible for Aadhaar enrolment as the physical stay in India is less than 182 days in the aggregate during the 12-month period immediately preceding the date of application. Thus, technically they are not required to quote Aadhaar or Enrolment number when filing returns.
It is quite possible to lose the acknowledgement slip containing your Enrolment ID but can be retrieved in the following simple steps. It is, however, important to keep hold of the registered mobile number/email which you had provided at the time of enrolment. Here is how you can retrieve your lost Enrolment ID:
Although the CBDT decided to announce the non-cancellation of PAN when not linked with Aadhaar, the situation would lead to many difficulties and bottlenecks for individuals to conduct normal banking and other financial operations. So, in conclusion, Aadhaar being mandatory to be quoted for a number of important tasks, it is imperative you have applied for one.