A PAN is also known as Permanent Account Number and it is a ten-digit alphanumeric code issued by the Income Tax Department, under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act, in the form of a laminated card. The PAN number is issued to all tax paying entities and the Income Tax Department has recently released a new rule stating that after 2019, all income tax refunds will be carried out through online mode only and the refund will be credited directly to the bank account but only if the account is linked to a valid PAN card[i]. The government of India has made it mandatory for all citizens to link their PAN to their bank accounts in order to carry out successful transactions but luckily there is more than one way to do this.
Linking PAN to Bank Accounts
A PAN can be linked to the bank account in three different ways: online, offline and through one’s mobile phone.
If you have not linked your PAN to your bank account and you do not have time to visit your bank, you can link the two online by following these simple steps[ii]:
1. Visit your bank’s website and go to the internet banking login page
2. Enter your user ID and password to login to your internet banking account
3. Click on ‘Service Requests’ from the range of options on the website
4. Select the ‘PAN card updation’
5. Enter your PAN number, date of birth as mentioned on your PAN card and your registered e-mail address with the bank, in the space provided
6. Click the submit button after rechecking the details that you have entered
7. Your PAN will be linked with your bank account in a couple of days
If there is no access to the internet, a PAN card can also be linked to your bank account by calling the customer service helpline of your bank and following these simple steps[iii]:
1. Call the toll-free customer care number of your bank (The number can be found on the Bank’s passbook, chequebook, brochures or other documents)
2. Go through the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) options and connect to the PAN card customer care executive
3. Let the executive know that you want to get your PAN linked to your account
4. To verify your credentials, you will have to answer various questions like your account number, address, debit card number, etc.
5. Recite your PAN number to the executive and confirm the numbers again
6. Once registered, your request will take about two days to process and soon after that the bank will link your PAN with the bank account
If you are not someone who is familiar with Internet Banking or Mobile Banking, there is always the option of visiting the Bank personally and linking the PAN to the account. This can be done by[iv]:
1. Visiting the home branch of your Bank where your account is being operated
2. Asking for the PAN updation form (KYC) and filling it out while ensuring that you do not overwrite or make mistakes
3. Submitting the PAN updation form (KYC), self –attested copy of your PAN card and a letter addressed to the Branch Manager regarding linking of PAN to your bank account
4. Once these documents are submitted, your PAN will be linked to your operational bank account
Advantages and Disadvantages of linking PAN to bank accounts
It is mandatory to link PAN cards to the bank accounts so that various transactions like opening a bank account, depositing an amount more than Rs.50,000, opening a Fixed Deposit account, issuing a credit card, making insurance payments and investing in securities or mutual funds. The government benefits from the linkage because every transaction can be tracked, tax evasions can be identified, income of an individual can be compared to the money being deposited in his bank account and the identity of the person in whose name the bank account is can be verified. Citizens of the country benefit from the linkage as Income Tax refunds are now directly deposited to their Bank Accounts rather than being delivered as a cheque through speed post.
However, since the information of the Bank Account holder can now be identified and verified, there are certain security concerns that arise especially with the Government being privy to every financial transaction, asset purchase and income expenses. The government has stepped up and assured the people that the reasons for mandating the linking of PAN to Bank Account is to reduce the circulation of black money, setting up a fool proof surveillance system and to take a step toward a digital India.
Privacy concerns arising out the need to create a digital India
The Government of India has been taking a lot of steps, starting with demonetisation and recently with the introduction of the Aadhaar cards, to move the country towards a digital economy. However, people are concerned about the extent to which their information can be protected and in the case of Justice K. S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr. v. Union of India [v] , the Aadhaar scheme was criticised for invading privacy. The Supreme Court, in this case, held that the right to privacy is a Fundamental Right as an extension of Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty) and because of this right, the government’s mandate that the Aadhaar must be linked to Bank Accounts or the mobile SIM cards was extended indefinitely.
Yes, the Government has made it mandatory for PAN numbers to be linked to Bank Accounts but they have ensured that the process is as easy and accessible as possible by providing three various options of doing the same. Though the new rules put forward by the Income Tax Department might seem drastic and unnecessary, it will certainly help in solving a number of problems like delayed refunds or security concerns that used to occur when the refunds were being sent by Speed Post.
Edited by Pragash Boopal
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
[i] Puja Kumari Yadav, How to link PAN card with Bank Account online and offline, IndiaToday, April 1, 2019, https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/how-to-link-pan-card-with-your-bank-account-online-and-offline-1491136-2019-04-01.
[ii] Link PAN with Bank Account, PaisaBazaar, (August 25, 2019, 4:07 PM), https://www.paisabazaar.com/pan-card/link-pan-card-with-bank-account/.
[iii] Linking PAN with Bank Accounts, IndiaFilings, (August 25, 2019 4:18 PM), https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/linking-pan-with-bank-accounts/.
[iv]Link PAN with Bank Account, PaisaBazaar, (August 25, 2019, 4:07 PM), https://www.paisabazaar.com/pan-card/link-pan-card-with-bank-account/.
[v] Justice K. S Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr. v. Union of India, (2012) Writ Petition (Civil) No. 494 of 2012.