The Income Tax department has started issuing letters to holders of duplicate permanent account number (PAN) cards before it starts cancelling them. The deadline is December 31.
The I-T department has so far unearthed 1.68 lakh multiple PAN cards in West Bengal. It has identified around 80,000 duplicate cards which will be cancelled. There are 35 lakh PAN cards in circulation in the State.
The problem of multiple cards is less in West Bengal as compared to Mumbai and Delhi, the chief commissioner of I-T, Dilip K Das, said while inaugurating a help desk at the Aayakar Bhawan for filing of electronic returns. In Maharashtra, 7.8 per cent of the total number of cards belong to persons who have multiple cards. In West Bengal, the figure is only 4.8 per cent.
In most cases, the culprit was the failure of the system. There was a huge backlog when UTI Technology Services Ltd was mandated to issue PAN cards. A few people, in expectation of getting the cards quickly, made simultaneous applications to both the I-T department as well as the company, explained Das.
The department, he said, has already identified those who are in possession of duplicate cards. We are giving them a chance to tell us which PAN number should be retained and which one is to be destroyed. This has been left to their discretion as these card-holders may have entered into different transactions citing different PAN numbers, said I-T commissioner (computer) G Choudhuri.