All the new income tax payers in the country will soon begin to get biometric Permanent Account Number (PAN) cards with enhanced security features like fingerprints or retinal scans, aimed at checking duplicate cards and better tax compliance.
"The process of eliminating about 13 lakh duplicate PAN cards is in last mile. Once that process is completed shortly, then we will set a date, after which all new PAN cards will only be biometric," Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters today after inaugurating the national conference of Chief Income Tax Commissioners.
When asked whether the date of launching biometric PANs could be October, he said, "it could be."
Referring to the fate of current PAN card holders, Chidambaram said, "they will be persuaded to switch over to biometric PAN cards in their own interest. Earlier PAN cards will, of course, remain valid."
Finance Ministry had earlier set up an internal group to finalise the norms for introduction of biometric PANs.
The ministry is hoping to introduce iris-based biometric PANs to all new applicants once the present data about PAN cards is updated.
Chidambaram also said it has been decided in the meeting that there will be "integrated 360-degree profiling of individual tax payers." When pressed, he declined to provide details about integrated tax profiling.
However, the sources said, it will involve collaboration of information gathered about tax payers through annual information reports (AIRs) regarding bank accounts, credit cards, mutual fund investment, purchase of property and share market to investigate tax evasion.