Shocking PAN card scam targets senior citizens, affected get tax notices - Hindustan Times
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Shocking PAN card scam targets senior citizens, affected get tax notices

By | Edited by Abhyjith K. Ashokan
Jun 18, 2024 10:57 PM IST

A Mumbai-based homemaker and senior citizen received a tax notice over a property sale of ₹1.3 crore, in an alleged misuse of her PAN details.

Multiple cases of PAN misuse and scams targeting the dead, senior citizens, farmers and students are occurring across India, the Times of India wrote.

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A Mumbai-based homemaker and senior citizen received a tax notice over a property sale of 1.3 crore, in an alleged misuse of her PAN details, leading to a case up to the Income-tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) level, according to the article.

She was illiterate, as well as a cancer patient, and had failed to respond to I-T notices.

Also Read | ITR Return Filing: Should you file ITR if your income is less than 7 lakh?

The tribunal noted that the IT officer had not conducted an independent inquiry, such as seeking details from the registrar of the property and the buyer, the article read.

This was not an isolated incident, with other cases reported across India of misuse of PAN. Usha Soni from Betul, MP, to whom an IT notice of 7.5 crore was issued a decade after her death, Nand Lal, a small shopkeeper in Rajasthan, who filed a police complaint after receiving an IT notice of 12.2 crore, are just two other examples, according to the article.

“The issue of the I-T department relying completely on information filed by various agencies and initiating action against the taxpayers is a serious issue and needs a lot of rethinking by the department,” Ameet Patel, tax partner at Manohar Chowdhry & Associates told the Times of India. “It has now come to a stage that every taxpayer has to necessarily check his/her annual information statement (AIS) every few weeks.”

Also Read | Government considering income tax rate cut to boost consumption: Budget 2024

AIS provides information received from reporting entities (banks and property registrars), such as bank interest, dividend, purchase and sale transactions of securities, or immovable properties.

“The moment someone finds a wrong entry in the AIS, it would be best to provide feedback in the AIS system immediately and point out the mistake,” said Patel. “If the mistake is not rectified, the need to file an FIR with police arises.”

"Individuals should restrain from sharing their PAN information/PAN card where it is not mandated by the government's guidelines or is in public domain," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said in an email to a query by the Times of India. “ Linking with Aadhaar was brought in largely to prevent/stop misuse of PAN. However, if there are cases of suspected misuse of PAN, it is advised that a complaint may be filed with the police.”

Also Read | Will there be income tax relief in Budget 2024? What CII says

The PAN database at present is more than 70 crores.

“While the highest secrecy must be maintained of one's PAN, the reality is that details are freely shared for various purposes," Ketan Vajani, a chartered accountant told the Times of India.

According to Vajani, a police complaint could also act as a shield if during assessment, additions are made for transactions that do not belong to the PAN holder. "It would be a taxpayer friendly move for the I-T department to provide a tab on its website to report any misuse," he said.

CBDT, in its response, explained that when the reporting entity confirms the transaction, unless the PAN holder reports the matter to police and the case is investigated, no consequent action can be taken by the I-T department.

It also said that a PAN is not deactivated in the event of death of the holder, and that the family members/legal heirs of such a PAN holder need to intimate the death to the jurisdictional assessing officer (whose details are available on the e-portal), along with copies of the PAN card and the death certificate, the article read.

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