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Expats who stayed in India for 182 days or more must apply for Aadhaar card: CBDT
April, 08th 2017

The government on Wednesday stated that expatriates would be required to apply for Aadhaar card if they are staying in India for more than 182 days and are required to pay domestic income tax.

ET on Wednesday had reported that reported that expatriates would be required to obtain an Aadhaar number if they are paying income tax in India.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Wednesday evening issued a statement on the issue.

"CBDT has clarified that an expat, if he has stayed for more than 182 days in India in the past 12 months, and is paying taxes in India would be required to apply for an Aadhaar card. Many expats may not have been prepared for this as they were expecting a leeway from applying for an Aadhaar card. Expats who have left the country should file their taxes before 1st July, 2017," said Amit Maheshwari Partner, Ashok Maheshwary & Associates LLP.

Many expats and tax consultants were hoping that the government would provide a leeway to expats for applying for Aadhaar. There is also a concern about what would happen to expats who are eligible to pay taxes in India but no more live in the country. How would they apply for Aadhaar card, asked an expat?

"Government is likely to provide facility of obtaining Aadhaar through its embassy/high commission overseas so that individuals living abroad who are eligible to obtain Aadhaar card can avail this facility without any pressure to visit India for this purpose," said Kuldeep Kumar, leader, personal tax, PwC.

Many industry trackers were surprised by the government’s decision to clarify that expats would be required to apply for Aadhaar card. Some of them said that this may create some practical issues for expats.

"The important issue is what would happen to the Aadhaar card after the expat leaves India for good, would there be an obligation to surrender the card. In most of the cases where expats have come to India on employment permit, they would be required to apply for Aadhaar card as their stay in India is likely to be more than 182 days," said Amit Singhania, partner, partner, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas.

The CBDT statement on Wednesday said that "It is clarified that such mandatory quoting of Aadhaar or Enrolment ID shall apply only to a person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number." However the statement goes on to explain what the term “resident” stands for under Aadhaar Act.

"Resident as per the said Act means an individual who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to one hundred and eighty-two days or more in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment," the CBDT said before adding no individual who is not a resident need not apply for Aadhaar card.

ET had on Wednesday reported that the Finance Act, 2017 has made it mandatory to enrol for Aadhaar to file tax returns in India or apply for a PAN or keep the existing PAN active effective July 1. This applies to those who are eligible for Aadhaar and under the Aadhaar Act; anyone who is in India for more than 182 days in aggregate in the past 12 months becomes eligible to obtain Aadhaar.

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