Transgenders Recognised As Independent Gender In PAN Application Form, To Have PAN Access
The Centre has amended Income Tax Rules, 1962 to provide Permanent Account Number (PAN) access to members of the transgender community. Now, transgenders would be recognized as an independent category of applicants for receiving a PAN for their tax-related transactions.
Highlights the decision
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) generated a notification on Monday under sections 139A and 295A of the Income Tax Act, which includes “transgender” in the gender column.
Further, the notification specifies the detailed application method to avail a PAN number. Earlier, only two categories, i.e. male and female were allowed to fill a PAN application form.
According to The Hindu Business Line, a senior official stated that “the decision of amending the tax rules was taken after we received some representations in this context by the CBDT.”
From a very long time, people from the transgender community have been facing constant hassles in receiving a PAN card. Aadhaar had already granted access to the third gender category but not PAN. “Transgenders were not able to link their PAN with their Aadhaar due to such anomaly,“ the official added.
According to the new changes made by Finance Ministry, the amendment will now be seen in the PAN form as 49A (PAN application form for Indian citizens) and 49AA (PAN application form for individuals not a citizen of India), according to the official.
The notification also revealed that the new rules would be enforced on the date of their publication in the official gazette. Notably, new claimants are still required to show their documents as a ‘proof of identity’ such as date of birth certificate and address, under 114 (4) of the Income-tax Rules, 1962.
According to Hindustan Times, in February, Dr Sameera Jahagirdar, a transwoman had written a letter to the principal commissioner of I-T, Puducherry saying, “This will go a long way in easing matters for us. I can finally own a PAN card in my chosen gender.” She currently has one in the male gender.
In 2014, the Supreme Court took a significant decision in National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) vs Union of India judgment, allowing equal legal and social status to the third-gender community. The SC also acknowledged the citizens’ rights to identify their gender. The court directed to both Central and State Governments to certify that transgender community has access to welfare schemes, including Government-issued identity cards such as Aadhaar and PAN.
However, even after the landmark judgment by the court, PAN application forms were found without the transgender option in gender column. Also, the disparity in gender identity on PAN and Aadhaar cards made it infeasible to file taxes before the deadline that was set earlier as March 31. Also, transgender individuals were unable to release their bank accounts, register companies and transfer high amount money.
Why Is PAN mandatory?
Permanent Account Number is a ten digit code which is allotted by the Income Tax department, and it acts as identification for individuals especially for those who pay Income Tax.
Aadhaar and PAN have been made mandatory for individuals for filing income tax returns. Income Tax Act under Section 139 AA (2), an individual with PAN as on July 1, 2017, is eligible to obtain Aadhaar and is restricted to share his Aadhaar number with the tax authorities.
According to the latest Government data, there are about 33 crore PAN holders till March 5, and over 16.65 crore PANs have been linked with Aadhaar. The date for connecting Aadhar to PAN has been extended to June 30 by the CBDT.
The Logical Indian appreciates the step taken by the Centre. The introduction of transgender option in the gender column would help the people from transgender community to avail equal opportunities. Since this move also helps easy linking of Aadhaar with the PAN card, the transgender individuals would not face hassles in opening bank accounts, transferring of large amount of money and registering companies.