Question marks over future of India’s Aadhaar card for filing tax Question marks over future of India’s Aadhaar card for filing tax

Question marks over future of India’s Aadhaar card for filing tax
16 Aug 2018

The fate of India’s Aadhaar digital identification token scheme is now hanging in the balance following a legal challenge and the introduction of an opt-out option for people filing their income tax returns online.

India's Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is permitting those who have not enrolled for an Aadhaar token to file their income tax return online. The decision came two weeks after Delhi’s High Court directed the tax department to provide an opt-out option on its website so that those without an Aadhaar card could file electronically. 

Jayshree Satpute, one of the petitioners in the High Court case, told Scroll.in: "We hoped that the CBDT would comply sooner. This felt like a process that made us anxious. Several others in the same situation kept contacting us to ask if the CBDT had complied or not. The CBDT should have made the changes to the website without us having to file an application in the court."

Lawyer for the petitioners Tripti Poddar told The Wire that they were happy the CBDT had finally provided an opt-out option.

But he added: “Through the process of this case, we realised that there are scores of Indians in the same position as my clients, who also felt anxious about waiting till the last minute to file their returns. It shouldn’t have taken them so long to comply with the court’s order."

The Aadhaar programme is also in the process of having its constitutional validity legally challenged in the Supreme Court. The Court has now completed hearings on a number of petitions and has reserved its order.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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The fate of India’s Aadhaar digital identification token scheme is now hanging in the balance following a legal challenge and the introduction of an opt-out option for people filing their income tax returns online.

India's Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is permitting those who have not enrolled for an Aadhaar token to file their income tax return online. The decision came two weeks after Delhi’s High Court directed the tax department to provide an opt-out option on its website so that those without an Aadhaar card could file electronically. 

Jayshree Satpute, one of the petitioners in the High Court case, told Scroll.in: "We hoped that the CBDT would comply sooner. This felt like a process that made us anxious. Several others in the same situation kept contacting us to ask if the CBDT had complied or not. The CBDT should have made the changes to the website without us having to file an application in the court."

Lawyer for the petitioners Tripti Poddar told The Wire that they were happy the CBDT had finally provided an opt-out option.

But he added: “Through the process of this case, we realised that there are scores of Indians in the same position as my clients, who also felt anxious about waiting till the last minute to file their returns. It shouldn’t have taken them so long to comply with the court’s order."

The Aadhaar programme is also in the process of having its constitutional validity legally challenged in the Supreme Court. The Court has now completed hearings on a number of petitions and has reserved its order.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

Indian workers abroad for 182 days not subject to income tax, court rules

A guide to supporting expats in India

Key payroll considerations in India

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