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Thursday, Aug 22, 2002

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Banks reject tax challans sans PAN

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IF remittance of tax dues is mandatory, can banks turn down challans for want of a `Permanent Account Number (PAN)'? This is exactly what is happening here, for no fault of the assessee.

Banks have, during the last couple of days, refused to accept challans without the PAN, following instructions from the apex bank. Quite of number of voluntary tax remittances have been rejected for want of the PAN.

Bank sources said that they had received specific instructions on accepting challans without the PAN except TDS challans.

With the Central Board of Direct Taxes insisting that "every tax payer should quote the PAN allotted by the department in all challans", while remitting any sum due under the Income-Tax Act, bankers said that they had no option, but to reject challans without the PAN.

Sources said that a number of assesses were yet to receive the PAN. "How can we be held responsible if the Income-Tax Department does not give the PAN?"

Banks have hitherto been accepting challans with or without the PAN. This clause has now inconvenienced the honest tax payer.

While the department was keen to widen the net and bring more people into it, it had failed to expedite the process even for the existing assessees, leave alone the new ones, the sources said.

"Will we be liable to pay penalty? How can they levy a fine?" they asked.

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