In step with government's digital India drive, the Income Tax department is developing an app that will soon allow assessees to pay taxes or apply for PAN using smartphones.
The department is also working on a project to issue PAN to assessees within minutes by way of e-KYC authentication using Aadhaar, a move that will help bring more people under the tax net by making it easier for people to get Permanent Account Numbers.
"The app concept is at a preliminary stage. The app will enable assessees to pay taxes online, apply for PAN or track tax returns. Pilot project will be undertaken after getting approval from the Finance Ministry," an official said.
Aadhaar-based eKYC facility would allow individuals or entities wanting to apply for PAN to verify details such as date of birth or address by way of biometric identification using thumb impressions.
So far, more than 111 crore Aadhaar numbers have been issued. The unique identification number is being used for getting a new SIM card, for opening bank accounts, transfer of subsidies and also for biometric based digital payments under Aadhaar Enabled Payment System.
As per the government estimate, every year 2.5 crore people across the country apply for PAN cards. There are currently more than 25 crore PAN cardholders in the country.
Government has made PAN quoting mandatory for cash withdrawals of Rs. 50,000 and cash purchase of above Rs. 2 lakh.
Beginning January 1, the tax department has started issuing newly designed PAN cards that have added security features to make them tamper-proof and with contents written in both Hindi and English.