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How to get out of the frying PAN
October, 12th 2006
The government had recently initiated an awareness drive through the I-T department. The drive invited the citizens/assessees of the country possessing more than one PAN card to surrender the same as soon as possible failing which they would be penalised. This was carried out mainly keeping in view an estimated 10-15 lakh multiple PAN cards estimated to have issued to different assessees/citizens by the I-T department. In some cases, persons having more than single PAN card number may be using the same to avert frequent scans from IT department for their high value transactions. Others may have been issued two PAN cards due to two applications made by them at different dates. The I-T department, which was earlier not fully networked across all the circles, was not in a position to check out the validity of PAN cards. It was therefore unable to detect people having more than one PAN card. The department hopes to do so by the end of this year. With the deadline for surrendering duplicate PAN card having expired last month, a number of people across select circles have already started getting notices from the I-T department. The notice quotes the PAN card numbers which they have already been allotted. This applies to cases where more than one PAN card has been inadvertently allotted to assessees/citizens by the I-T department. This notice, which may have come to the assesses from some ward/circle, has even specified the PAN card number which the person receiving the notice should use for all his future high value transactions /I-T assessments . It asks the assessee to surrender the other PAN card held by him at an early date. However, the same notice has left many assesses a puzzled lot. That is because these assessees never received the PAN card which the I-T notice wants them to use in the future. Since the notice asks for the surrender of the other PAN card which they have been using for the last few years (perhaps for high value transactions, property purchase , F&O trades etc), it puts the assessee in a strange situation . Even worse, in a number of cases, such I-T notices may have come from I-T circles, which are different from those in which the assesses file their regular I-T returns. But there is no reason to panic. The way out is to prove ones innocence by filing with the I-T circle a photocopy/acknowledgement of the last I-T return filed, apart from a copy of the PAN card in use. The person also needs to give a letter to the officer concerned in the circle issuing the notice, requesting him to cancel the other PAN card quoted. The letter must mention that the alleged second PAN card is not in the assessees possession. The assessee can subsequently continue to carry out the transactions by quoting the PAN card which he actually possesses . At any stage, there is no need to quote the second PAN card number. The I-T department is expected to do the rest and cancel the second PAN card in due course.
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