Owning a PAN comes with responsibility, with the government relying on information received through PAN details to determine the tax liability of individuals. With huge financial implications at stake, one might be swayed to consider certain means to save money, which in hindsight could end up costing them more in the form of penalties. Owning duplicate or multiple PAN cards is not permitted by law and a person who holds them could find himself/herself in a serious spot of bother.
Duplicate PAN cards – How people end up with them
Not everyone who owns multiple or duplicate PAN cards have a malicious intent, with most of them often unaware of the fact that they have them. Here are some common ways how people end up with duplicate PANs.
Multiple applications – There are chances where an individual who applied for a PAN failed to receive it, making him/her reapply for it. Dual applications could lead to multiple PANs being allotted, with the applicant often unaware of this. Patience is advised in case the PAN does not reach an applicant even after a few weeks, as delays are possible and it is better to wait and watch rather than reapply and own multiple cards. In the past, the Income Tax department was issuing PANs, but due to delays this process was outsourced, thereby increasing the possibility of miscommunication in cases of multiple applications. Some individuals might have received a card from the IT department while others could have got it from the agencies who were outsourced with the task.
Changing details – With name changes becoming common, there is a possibility that an individual who has changed his/her name might reapply for a PAN with changed details. In such situations, there is a tendency for people to overlook the fact that they need to cancel their old PAN, leading to multiple PANs. One widely prevalent example is in the case of newly married women, who might take a new name or move to a different address. Reapplying for a PAN without cancelling her old one will make her the owner of a duplicate one.
Malicious intent – Some people might apply for multiple PANs with an intention to cheat the government or save money. These are blatant violations and will attract a penalty.
Penalty for multiple PAN cards
There are strict regulations regarding owning multiple PANs, with the government imposing a fine of Rs 10,000 on anyone who owns duplicate PANs. This fine is imposed under Section 272B of the Income Tax Act and is meant to be a deterrent against owning multiple PANs.
How to return additional PAN cards
Individuals who have more than one PAN should immediately surrender the additional/duplicate PAN to avoid penalties. Surrendering a duplicate PAN is simple, with individuals having an option to surrender it either manually or online.
Online surrender – Individuals who wish to surrender their PAN online can do so by logging on to the official website Income Tax Department (http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Pages/default.aspx) and fill in some basic information like their name, contact number, date of birth, father’s name and address. They should choose which PAN they would like to retain and mention that number in the retain column. Any additional PAN which they wish to surrender can be done so by mentioning the details of such PANs. Post submission they will receive an acknowledgment, which can be treated as proof of surrendering the additional PAN.
Manual surrender – Individuals who wish to manually surrender their PAN can do so by filling the PAN Change Request application form. They should mention the PAN which they wish to retain, providing details of all other PANs which they wish to surrender in column 11 of the same form. A copy of such PANs should be submitted along with the form in order to cancel them. This form can then be submitted to the assessing officer of the jurisdiction an individual falls in.