K Venkatesh never thought his initial would put him in a spot over filing his tax returns. When his PAN card could not be linked to his Aadhaar card, the Chennaibased banker consulted his accountant who discovered the problem: Venkatesh’s ini tial `K’ was expanded to Krishnaswamy–his father’s name–in the Aadhaar database. The PAN system just wouldn’t accept the `mismatch’.Millions of people across the country could be facing the same problem as the government insists on linking the two accounts by July 31–a prerequisite to filing tax returns. And with manual in tervention not possible to rectify even minor differences, chartered accountants are flooded with SOS messages.

For lecturer Eugenie D’Silva, even a CA can’t help. That’s because the Aadhaar database does not recognise special characters such as an apostrophe whch the PAN card does. In the same boat is K S Srini vas, whose PAN card deta ils have full stops between his initials, while the Aadhaar card does not. “It would be impossible for us to change our names on the PAN card as it would mean having to change several other documents. I will have to inform my banks, submit fresh KYC documents for three bank accounts, one DEMAT account, and inform the insurance companies. It’s a nightmare,“ says Srinivas.

Chartered accountants and lawyers feel that the govern ment should enable manual intervention for linkage, particularly in case of such minor discrepancies. “The government should form a special cell,“ says Pankaj Dharamshi, a CA in Bengaluru. “Many of my clients have PAN cards for 15-25 years. Now getting a new PAN card and updating all other documents would be impossible.It’s better to correct the details in the Aadhaar database.“

People can look up their name as in the PAN database by doing a mock self-tax assessment, or with their registered user ID, or through their linked bank account. Once they get the name as entered in the re cords, they can ensure the Aadhaar data matches that.

However, activists are angry. “This is threatening to turn tax payers into defaulters,“ says activist Gopal Krishna of Citizens Forum for Civic Liberties, New Delhi. For those still struggling to figure out how to file tax returns, a former chief justice of the Madras HC has this piece of advice: “File the returns by Speed Post and attach a copy of the recent Supreme Court order.There is no way they can refuse your I-T returns. In fact, the Income Tax Act has provisions that allow you to file income tax even without a PAN card.“