PAN card with QR code: All you need to know
According to Income Tax (I-T) Act rules, it is illegal to hold more than one PAN card. However, many users and enterprises have often been found holding multiple PAN cards, and misusing them for tax assessment purposes. To fight such duplicity and misuse of PAN, the Income Tax department started issuing PAN cards with QR codes, starting from July, 2018. Here's more on this.
Notably, PAN cards without QR code are also equally functional
Starting from last July, Income Tax Department started issuing PAN cards with Enhanced Quick Response (QR) code. However, this doesn't imply that old PAN cards will become dysfunctional. "PAN cards and e-PAN cards issued in old design will also remain valid," said the I-T department.
What information does the QR code on PAN contain?
The Enhanced QR code printed on new PAN cards contains a photograph and signature of the applicant, along with generic information such as PAN number, name, father's name/mother's name, Date of Birth (DoB) or Date of incorporation/formation (in case of business entity). All these details are digitally-signed and coded on the QR Code. The Enhanced QR code is also present on the e-PAN cards.
Here's how to read the QR code on your PAN
In order to read the Enhanced QR code on your PAN card using your smartphone, download this app (https://bit.ly/2KPbpRQ) from the Play Store. Once downloaded, use your phone's camera (preferably an auto-focus camera with a resolution of 12MP or above) to scan the QR.
Importantly, PAN and Aadhaar can now be used interchangeably
Meanwhile, the Central government has now made PAN and Aadhaar cards interchangeable. This implies that you can now quote your Aadhaar number, instead of PAN, to file Income Tax returns. Further, Aadhaar can also be used for other services where quoting of PAN is necessary, such as buying/selling MF etc. Note: August 31, 2019 is the last date to file ITR for FY 2018-19.
Your PAN might get deactivated, if not linked with Aadhaar
Notably, the government is planning to temporarily invalidate all PAN cards that are not linked with Aadhaar, latest by September 30, 2019. This is because the government believes that even after so many extensions, if your PAN is not yet linked with Aadhaar, its authenticity is questionable. Simply put, the government is skeptic that your PAN might be fake.
Here's how you can link your PAN with Aadhaar
To link Aadhaar with PAN online, log on to the Income Tax e-portal. Next, under the 'Quick Links' section, click on 'Link Aadhaar.' Enter details such as Aadhaar number, PAN, name, and Captcha code. Submit the details, click on 'Link Aadhaar', and you're done. After successful verification from UIDAI, the linkage will be confirmed. You can also link your PAN with Aadhaar via SMS.
You can also link your PAN with Aadhaar via SMS
Apart from the online method, users can also link their Aadhaar with PAN, using SMS service. To do so, type a text message in this format: UIDPAN (space) 12-digit Aadhaar number (space) 10-digit PAN, and send to 567678 or 56161 from your Aadhaar-registered mobile number.