Income tax returns: Aadhaar-PAN woes continue to trouble transgender people
Despite successfully submitting income tax returns (ITR), transgender persons continue to face problems with their Aadhaar number and (permanent account number) PAN card still remaining unlinked on the e-filing portal of the Income Tax department.
On March 31, Reshma Prasad, a transgender woman based in Patna received two e-mails from the department. One stated that her ITR had been successfully submitted. The other said that her Aadhaar-PAN linking request had failed because her “Name, Date of Birth, or Gender in PAN database does not match with Aadhaar database”.
In the past, the e-filing portal would not allow her to proceed with submission of ITR after entering her Aadhaar number. However, on Friday , it allowed her to proceed after entering the 12-digit number.
“The mails were addressed to Ramesh Prasad. I would like to file my income tax as Reshma, and for that my PAN card needs to show me as a third gender person,” said Prasad.
“The bigger issue remains that as transgender persons, our employment opportunities and our incomes are limited, so filing tax is a burden.”
The income tax e-filing website had been modified in March to accept returns from those with transgender Aadhaar cards, after a number of transgender persons around the country wrote to the principal commissioner of income tax of their respective states and Union territories.
On March 15, Sameera Jahagirdar, a transwoman based in Puducherry, received a letter from the principal commissioner of Income Tax (Puducherry) which stated, “Changes for incorporation of the third gender identity have been made in the online income-tax return filing facility in the e-filing portal. Necessary changes in the CPC-ITR have also been effected.” (CPC is short for central processing centre)
Jahagirdar had written to the principal commissioner in February citing difficulties in linking her PAN with her Aadhaar before the March 31 deadline to link the two, due to a mismatch in gender on both cards.
Many transgender persons have an Aadhaar card with ‘transgender’ as the gender reflected on the card.
However, PAN only accepts only ‘male’ and ‘female’ during the application procedure.
As a result, many in the transgender community have mismatched gender and name on both cards.
The mismatch has many implications, foremost among which is the inability to file income tax returns. This also prevents transgender persons from registering companies, buying or selling property, or investing money.