Pune: The Centre has amended the Income Tax rules to allow transgenders to be recognised as an independent gender category for obtaining PAN cards. The new guidelines were formulated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Monday. So far, only male and female gender categories were shown on the PAN application forms, which would create problems for transgenders, who would then be compelled to tick either of the aforementioned categories.
The amendment will now be reflected in Form 49A (PAN application form for Indian citizens) and 49AA (PAN application form for those who aren’t Indian citizens). Daljeet alias Sunilbhau, who has been trying to get a PAN card with ‘transgender’ gender category for the past few months, said,
“PAN card is an important identity document required as identity proof while availing many government schemes or public benefits. The PAN card, which I have, has gender registered as male. But that is not my true identity, therefore, I had applied again. However, every time I applied, it was returned saying that there is no other category or specific gender category for us. Now that the government has approved the inclusion of a different category for transgenders, it will ease our struggle and make us more inclusive in society.”
A joint commissioner ranked officer of the Income Tax (IT) Department from New Delhi said that this move is a step ahead towards development. “When a citizen is willing to pay tax, what can be better than this? Our concern is to increase the number of taxpayers. Earlier, we had never inspected the gender of a taxpayer. We generally dealt only with their account number and PAN card number. However, inclusion of a new gender is welcome and will help society progress.”