7 April, 2017/Sydney
I have received an important communication from Government of India (GOI) officials, clarifying the issue of Aadhaar card for NRIs.
It was recently announced in Parliament that it is mandatory to mention Aadhaar Card number in every Income Tax Return and for applying for Permanent Account Number (PAN) number effective from 1 July, 2017.
Several NRIs and Diaspora associations sent petitions to Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Missions requesting that since they file returns in India due to income from Indian sources and do not have Aadhaar Card, NRIs should be exempted from the above requirement. Many wrote to Prime Minister too.
The Ministry of External Affairs took up this issue with the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue, which has advised as below:
“As per Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961, every person who is eligible to obtain Aadhaar number shall, on or after the 1st day of July, 2017, quote Aadhaar number— (i) in the application form for allotment of permanent account number; (ii) in the return of income. The above provisions apply to persons who are eligible to get Aadhaar. Under section 3 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, only a resident is entitled to get Aadhaar. Therefore, the provisions of Section 139AA quoted above regarding linking of Aadhaar to PAN or the requirement of quoting the Aadhaar number in the return shall not apply to a non-resident, who is not eligible to get Aadhaar.”
Press Release on this issue dated issued on 5 April by Ministry of Finance is here.
Aadhaar card is available to only those people who have been residents in India, which is defined in the Act as the cumulative period of stay in India of at least 182 days in the preceding 12 months. Many NRIs will not fulfil this basic criterion, and are not eligible to have a Aadhaar Card. Consequently, as clarified above, such NRIs are not required to quote Aadhaar number while filing an Income Tax return or applying for a PAN number.
As of now, the requirement of Aadhaar Card number is not mandatory for obtaining Driving License or a SIM Card. It is one of the several documents recognized for address proof of the applicant.
Dr Yadu Singh