Income-tax Returns, UIDAI, Aadhaar, e-filing, Pan-Card Linking, Enrolment Centres, Chartered Accountants, Deadlines – if these words are making you panic as the deadline for filing Income Tax Returns closes in, then calm down and read this.
For those of us who woke up a ‘little’ late and still don’t have Aadhaar, the extension from 31st July to 5th August, has merely been a breather, but not a solution. What makes things worse is that Aadhaar holders who are salaried, have been raving about the ease with which ITR can be filed on https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/ or a plethora of other websites which make e-filing returns a breeze. Many of us have already gone through the entire process, but for that last bit where you’re asked for your Aadhaar number.
Too Late? Deadline extended to 5th August. So, there’s still time.
Now, technically, you do need Aadhaar for filing ITR. Here’s the silver lining – You can e-file your tax-returns using your Aadhaar Enrolment Number. An Aadhaar Enrolment Number is the number you are assigned when you enrol for your Aadhaar at a Government recognised Centre. You are eventually sent your Aadhaar Card on your registered address. So, the good news is that even though there’s not enough time for to get your Aadhaar No. you can rush to get yourself enrolled for Aadhaar – a one day process.
Don’t have an Aadhaar Card? E-file your Tax Returns using Aadhaar Enrolment Number
What are the Challenges?
Most Small Centres are inactive. Search for the Permanent Centres.
The biggest challenge is to find an Aadhaar Centre that’s active and accepting applications. Your first instinct would be to google ‘active aadhaar centres in ’. Unfortunately, you’ll find plenty of lists, but they may be misleading as almost none are up-to-date. Most small Aadhaar Centres (listed on the govt. and other webpages) have closed down or are non-operational due to technical issues. Only Permanent Aadhaar Centres are active. We would recommend that you call the adjoining numbers and check if they are taking applications.
Call & Confirm before you head to a Centre.
The Last Minute Rush
Expect hordes of people trying to squeeze in before the ITR deadline to descend at the centres. The centres are few and their capacity is limited. So, don’t forget to queue up much before the opening time of the centre. Most centres open at 9 am. So, you’ll have to queue up at least an hour prior. But the good part is that you can get done with it before heading to office.
It’s going to be crowded. So, queue up at least an hour before.
On the Brighter Side
We feel the hassle is worth it. E-filing is a breeze and much more streamlined as compared to the traditional method. You save up on CA fees and get a hands-on experience in dealing with your own taxes. Plus, this is going to be the shape of things to come. Especially with the government determined to push adoption of digitization over offline methods. And the best part – you will have an Aadhaar Card by the end of it in addition to Taxes filed on time – it is going to be mandatory for a lot more things than just filing ITR. No point procrastinating.
Disclaimer: The above recommendations are based on the author’s first-hand experience of standing in a queue early in the morning at a permanent Aadhaar Centre in Andheri West Mumbai on 3rd August, 2017. Individual experiences may vary depending on location, and may make for an interesting story (which you can feel free to share with us : ))