The government on Tuesday warned the estimated 13 lakh duplicate PAN (Permanent Account Number) card holders of a penalty of Rs 10,000 if they do not surrender these by the December 31 deadline.
"After December 31, this year we will cancel all duplicate PAN cards," Central Board of Direct Taxes spokesman A K Sinha told PTI.
However, if the duplicate PAN card holders are found to be using these cards for fraudulent purposes, they will be fined Rs 10,000 under Sec 272 (b) of the Income Tax act.
Before taking such action, the department will issue show cause notice to the person concerned and give him ample chance to prove his innocence, Sinha said, adding there may be innocent tax payers using duplicate cards unknowingly.
However there is no provision to send someone using duplicate PAN cards to jail as the department can go for such proceedings only in case of recoveries, Sinha said.
There are an estimated 13 lakh people using duplicate PAN cards out of the 4.7 crore such cards in the country.
In a month, about five lakh PAN cards are added across the country.
Sinha clarified that no duplicate PAN cards are being issued since 2004.