Surrender of PAN, Aadhaar

With identity theft rampant, if PAN and Aadhaar are not surrendered, it could lead to misuse of the numbers. Here is how you deal with the procedural aspects related to surrendering identity cards when someone is no more.

Cancelling PAN

You must ensure that identification documents such as PAN (Permanent Account Number) are cancelled so that there is no misuse of these documents by unscrupulous individuals for tax evasion purposes.

The usage of PAN card is no longer limited to just your income tax return filing. With PAN now linked to your bank account, every financial transaction routed through the bank can be traced.

Also, PAN is mandatory for physical asset purchases such as jewellery, immovable property and financial investments such as mutual funds and equity, beyond specified thresholds.

On the demise of the PAN card holder, the legal heirs must submit a letter addressed to the Income Tax Officer for that jurisdiction providing details such as PAN number, name and date of birth. You need to mention the reason for surrendering the PAN and attach a copy of the deceased’s death certificate. The procedure is the same for Indian residents, NRIs (Non-Resident Indians) and foreign nationals.

If the deceased person is a taxpayer, it is important to file the income tax return before cancelling the PAN. Also, as per section 159 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (Act), the legal representative of the deceased person shall be liable to pay any sum which the deceased would have had to pay for the period beginning April 1 of the year till the date of the individual’s death.

Handling Aadhaar

There is no special claim form needed to cancel Aadhaar. Deaths may be reported either by the State Registrar of Births and Deaths or by a relative. In the case of the latter, the family member must produce the death certificate of the deceased and also establish that he is part of the family through ration card or other document that establishes the relationship.

The information on death will be pushed to UIDAI’s database by the registrar, along with the Aadhaar number. In the database, the record will be flagged as deceased and is not deleted or deactivated.

Digital assets

Unlike developed countries, India has no law for regulating the protection and inheritance of digital assets such as websites and digital content. However, the principles of intangible property and succession can be applied to digital assets. Online sites such as Facebook and Google have their own policies on transferring or closing the account and the heirs must notify and do the needful.

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