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Compulsory PAN scrutiny on cards
August, 10th 2006
Duping the taxman by quoting a wrong permanent account number (PAN) or not mentioning it at all while making large cash payments will not be possible any more. With PANs quoted in high-value transactions turning out to be bogus, the income tax (I-T) department is set to ask all agencies overseeing these matters to compulsorily verify PAN. According to revenue department officials, one reason for a large number of transactions captured in Annual Information Return (AIR) database not having any link to any PAN card is that many agencies either do not insist on quoting PAN or take a PAN declaration for granted. Travel agencies, hotels, automobile and telecom companies, co-operative banks and municipal bodies had not been strict and diligent in obtaining the PAN, said an official. They will now be instructed to cross-verify PAN cards with a mention in relevant documents. Some state-owned banks, too, have been found lax in ensuring the veracity of PANs though they have to be compulsorily quoted for a cash deposit exceeding Rs 50,000. We have identified the lack of a verification system as a major lacuna. A suitable system is being evolved to address this issue, the official said. He added that a sizeable number of high-value transactions could not be related to any PAN, and this was preventing the department from using the AIR data effectively. Sources said the proposed PAN reformsecurity number for all PAN cards and avoidance of duplication might be a tedious exercise, given the fact that it required re-issuing of more than half of the over-4 crore existing PAN cards. Currently, it is mandatory to quote PAN while filing I-T returns, in correspondence with I-T authorities and on challans for any payment to the I-T department. Besides, PAN must be quoted for sale and purchase of immovable property or automobiles and for making hotel/foreign travel payments of Rs 25,000 or more in cash. Quoting PAN is also mandatory for applying for landline and mobile telephone connections. These apart, the banking cash transaction tax also keeps a track of the cash economy. Indicating the preference of many to pay in cash, sources said, BCTT revenue in April-July this fiscal jumped to Rs 158 crore against just Rs 20 crore in the corresponding period a year ago.
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