Transgenders to be recognised as independent gender category in PAN form
The government has amended Income Tax rules that will now allow transgenders to be recognised as an independent category of applicants for obtaining a Permanent Account Number (PAN).
As per a notification issued by the finance ministry on Monday, the Income Tax rules, 1962, have been amended to include ‘Transgender’ in the gender column of forms 49A and 49AA.
The new rules, called Income Tax (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2018, shall come into force on the date of their publication in the official gazette.
Four years ago, the Supreme Court had passed the landmark National Legal Services Authority versus Union of India judgment, which guaranteed equal social and legal status to the transgender community, and recognised the right of citizens to self-identify their gender. The apex court also directed the state and central governments to ensure that the transgender population has access to all schemes and entitlements to bring them at par with other citizens.
However, as the Hindustan Times reported on March 1, the Department of Revenue’s Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), which looks after PAN card-related matters, including filing of Income Tax, had not introduced a transgender column in PAN application forms. As a result, several transgender persons were forced to choose either ‘male’ or ‘female’ — a gender they do not identify with.
The mismatch of gender identity on Aadhaar and PAN cards also made it difficult for transgender individuals to open bank accounts, transfer large sums of money and register companies.