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Big rush for PAN cards
BS Economy Bureau in New Delhi |
July 03, 2003 12:01 IST
The finance ministry has said any decision on whether to apply a flat 30 per cent rate of income tax on those who do not have a permanent account number will be taken only next year, after the current exercise to provide it to all income-tax assesses across the country is over.
Government officials said reflecting the interest among the assesses, UTI-Investor Services Ltd (UTI-ISL) counters had already sold around 3,000 forms for the new series of PAN cards since Tuesday (in Delhi alone), when it was launched. And the rush for PAN cards is rising.
They, however, added that the first estimates of the number of cards issued under the new series would be known only by the middle of this month.
This is because UTI-ISL, which has been chosen as the vendor of the cards by the revenue department, will start dispatching the first set of PAN cards only around July 15.
As per the business plan, the company will ensure that all applicants receive their cards within 15 days of submitting completed applications.
The outsourcing of PAN is a follow-up of the recommendation of the Kelkar task force on direct tax.
According to the recommendations, all those who did not have a PAN would have to pay income tax at the highest applicable rate of 30 per cent. This was to ensure that the move was successful.
The new cards cost Rs 60, whereas the old cards were given free to the tax payers.
The production cost of the new cards, which can also double up as identity cards, is slightly above Rs 40.
Tax officials said anybody who had already received a permanent account number but did not have the card, would now have the option of either asking the income-tax department for an existing type of laminated card, or opt for a smart card.
Anybody who has filed an application for a permanent account number by June 30, will receive the card from the department. Subsequent applications will be handled by UTI-ISL.
There are 34 million income tax assesses in the country as on March 31. This is a 21 per cent rise in the number of assesses within a year.
According to the revenue department officials, the government has already issued 28.6 million permanent account number cards till now, with a backlog of about 200,000 assesses.
The applications will be collected by UTI-ISL and sent to the National Computer Centre of the income-tax department which will allot the numbers.
But the cards with new hologram and security features will be prepared by the company.