Permanent account number
A permanent account number (PAN) is a ten-digit alphanumeric number, issued in the form of a laminated card, by the Indian Income Tax Department, to any "person" who applies for it or to whom the department allots the number without an application.
It is a unique, ten-character alpha-numeric identifier, issued to all judicial entities identifiable under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. The income tax PAN code and its linked card are issued under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act. It is issued by the Indian Income Tax Department under the supervision of the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) and it also serves as an important proof of identification.
It is also issued to foreign nationals (such as investors) subject to a valid visa, and hence that PAN is not acceptable as proof of Indian citizenship.
Structure of a PAN code
The PAN code is a ten-character long alpha-numeric unique identifier.
An example of a PAN code number would be in the form of AELPU5278H.
The PAN is mandatory for a majority of financial transactions such as opening a bank account, receiving taxable salary or professional fees, sale or purchase of assets above specified limits etc.; especially high-value transactions.
The primary purpose of the PAN is to bring a universal identification to all financial transactions and to prevent tax evasion by keeping track of monetary transactions, especially those of high-net-worth individuals who can impact the economy.
The PAN is unique to each individual and is valid for the lifetime of the holder, throughout India. Since a PAN is linked to an individual, a point worth to mention is that the PAN code is therefore not affected by any change of address.
A typical PAN is AFZPK7190K. The combination in which alphabet and numbers are arranged is explained further.
- The first three characters (AFZ in the above PAN) are alphabetic series running from AAA to ZZZ.
- The fourth character of the PAN (P in the above PAN) represents the status of the PAN holder. "P" means an individual, "F" stands for firm, "C" stands for company, "H" stands for HUF, "A" stands for AOP, "T" stands for trust etc.
- The fifth character (K in the above PAN) is the first character of the holder's last name/surname.
- The next four characters (7190 in the above PAN) are sequential number running from 0001 to 9999.
- The last character (K in the above PAN) is an alphabetic check digit.
- The income tax PAN card is issued under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act.
- The PAN structure is as follows: AAAPL1234C: The first five characters are letters, followed by four numerals, and the last (tenth) character is a letter.
- The three first characters of the code are three letters forming a sequence of alphabets letters from AAA to ZZZ
- The fourth (4th) character informs about the holder of the card. Each holder is uniquely defined by a type of holder defined by a letter from the list below:
- A — Association of persons (AOP)
- B — Body of individuals (BOI)
- C — Company
- F — Firm/LLP
- G — Government
- H — HUF (Hindu undivided family)
- L — Local authority
- J — Artificial juridical person
- P — Individual (proprietor)
- T — Trust (AOP)
- The fifth character of the PAN is the first character of either:
- of the surname or last name of the person, in the case of a "personal" PAN card, where the fourth character is "P" or
- of the name of the entity, trust, society, or organisation in the case of a company/HUF/firm/AOP/trust/BOI/local authority/artificial judicial person/government, where the fourth character is "C", "H", "F", "A", "T", "B", "L", "J", "G".
- The last (tenth) character is an alphabetic digit used as a check-sum to verify the validity of that current code.
In recent times, the DOI (date of issue) of the PAN card is mentioned at the right (vertical) hand side of the photo on the PAN card if issued by NSDL and will not be mentioned if issued by UTI-TSL.
Failure to comply with the provisions of Section 139A of Income Tax Act, a penalty of ₹10,000/- for each default is payable u/s.272B to the assessing officer.
Use of PAN
Quoting the PAN is mandatory when filing income tax returns, tax deduction at source, or any other communication with the Income Tax Department. PAN is also steadily becoming a mandatory document for opening a new bank account, a new landline telephone connection / a mobile phone connection, purchase of foreign currency, bank deposits above ₹50,000, purchase and sale of immovable properties, vehicles etc.The pan requirement for non luxury cash transaction is 2 lakh.
Obtaining a PAN
Obtaining a PAN may be optional or voluntary like a passport, driving license, Aadhaar etc. However, its use is mandatory at required places, like PAN for high-value financial transactions, driving license for motor driving, passport for foreign travel etc..
One can apply for PAN by submitting the prescribed PAN application to the authorized PAN agency of the district or through online submission to NSDL Website, UTI along with 2 recent passport size color photographs, proof of ID, Address and Date of Birth and fee. In case of re-print (re-issue), a photocopy of the old PAN is also required. It takes about 10–15 days to receive the card.
A user can make a PAN Card online from the comfort zone of his home and no hassles of standing in queues for applying. It is possible due to digitalization happening in India due to more internet data at a lower cost. It is a great way to save one's time and effort.
Prescribed PAN application forms
There are two types of PAN applications:
- Application for allotment of PAN: This application should be used when the applicant has never applied for a PAN or does not have PAN allotted to him.
FORM 49AA: - To be filled by foreign citizens.
- Application for new PAN Card or/and Changes or Corrections in PAN Data: - Those who have already obtained the PAN and wish to obtain the new PAN card or want to make some changes/corrections in their PAN data, are required to submit their applications in the following form prescribed by ITD:
'REQUEST FOR NEW PAN CARD OR/AND CHANGES OR CORRECTION IN PAN DATA’: - The same form(49A/49AA) can be used by Indian as well as foreign citizens. A new PAN card bearing the same PAN but updated information is issued to the applicant, in such a case.
Pan card allocated date can be checked from official website of UTI. You can even apply online through Pan Card Seva
The issuance of PAN, verification, delivery and maintenance works on public-private partnership (PPP) model like Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) for reasons of economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. The reputed entities like NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited (formerly National Securities Depository Limited) and UTI Infrastructure Technology Services Limited (UTIITSL) has been entrusted by Income Tax Department as managed service providers for processing of applications, collecting, handling and verifying personal documents like proof of ID, age and address, clarification with the applicants, printing the card and the letter and then mailing it. The processing agencies obtain the new PAN number online from the server of the income tax department after successful processing of the application documents. Some critics in India may call the handling, processing, and delivery of personal ID and financial documents by private contractors as a violation of privacy.
One should avail services from the authorised PAN Centres established by NSDL e-Governance and UTIITSL which have been entrusted by the Income Tax Department.
NSDL e-Gov centres can be located at TIN website. It is now very easy to apply online using Aadhaar based eSignature at NSDL e-Gov's website. One can register first at NSDL e-Gov's website https://www.onlineservices.nsdl.com/paam/endUserRegisterContact.html. After registration, the applicant receives a token number. One can continue with filling form. The applicant can save the details and complete the form at his convenience by logging using his/her registered details. One can upload photo/signature and supporting documents and finally eSign the application using Aadhaar and OTP. After successful eSign one can download and keep copy of the signed form for his reference. An acknowledgement receipt and form is also received through e-mail at registered email ID.
UTIITSL centres can be located at its website.
PAN for foreign citizens
PAN is an important document for foreign citizens also, who wish to undertake business in India or wish to invest in India. Procedure to obtain PAN is same as applicable for Indian citizens. However, the application is required to be filled using Form 49AA meant for foreign citizens and submitted at any of the authorized PAN Service Centre through the authorized representative in India. List of documents applicable for foreign citizens are given below:
Individuals and HUF
Documents accepted as proof of identity
- Copy of passport, or Voter's ID card
- Copy of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card issued by Government of India,
- Copy of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card issued by Government of India,
- Copy of other national or citizenship Identification Number or Taxpayer Identification Number duly attested by "Apostille" (in respect of countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention of 1961) or by the Indian Embassy or High Commission or Consulate in the country where the applicant is located or authorised officials of overseas branches of Scheduled Banks registered in India (in prescribed format) .
Documents accepted as proof of address
- Proof of identity documents mentioned above bearing the address of the applicant or
- Copy of bank account statement in the country of residence, or
- Copy of non-resident external (NRE) bank account statement in India, or
- Copy of certificate of residence in India or residential permit issued by the state police authorities, or
- Copy of registration certificate issued by the Foreigner's Registration Office showing Indian address, or
- Copy of visa granted and copy of appointment letter or contract from an Indian company and certificate (in original) of Indian address issued by the employer.
For other than individuals and HUF (including those having no office of their own in India)
Documents accepted as proof of identity and proof of address
- Copy of certificate of registration issued in the country where the applicant is located, duly attested by "Apostille" (in respect of the countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention of 1961) or by the Indian Embassy or High Commission or Consulate in the country where the applicant is located or authorised officials of overseas branches of Scheduled Banks registered in India (in prescribed format) ; or
- Copy of registration certificate issued in India or of approval granted to set up office in India by Indian Authorities.
At present, PAN Service Centres are located in India only. However, foreign citizens may find online mode of application more convenient when the klunky web user interface is working. The online facility allows payment of fees using credit card option for foreign citizens (but only if they have India based credit card as international credit cards are not always accepted by the third party fee collectors.) Unlike most countries, India charges a fee to issue a TIN (PAN ID). The fees charges are ₹107 if the PAN card is to be received in India and ₹989 if the PAN Card is to be received at a foreign location. Note that online application only eliminates data entry errors. One still needs to mail the application with photographs to India-based centers. The application requires two photographs. One on the top right requires signature within the box below it. The other one on the top left requires signature across the photograph (such that part of signature is on the photograph and part on the form). There is anywhere from 2 to 20 days lag between your documents reaching the center and the initial processing/verification which only takes a day. The actual issue of PAN number by the tax department is within 48 hours. The actual PAN card is sent to the overseas address by the registered/certified mail and may take additional 2 weeks after the issue of the PAN number which is initially conveyed by email.
Concerns with PAN cards
Although there are only 30 million income tax payers in India, yet there are 170 million genuine PANs issued as of 2014. While the alphanumeric PAN number is unique, individuals and corporate entities have been able to obtain multiple PAN cards fraudulently. It is illegal to obtain multiple PANs and there is a penalty of ₹10,000 (US$140) when caught. In addition, there are fake PAN cards due to ubiquitous plastic card printers. Additionally, illegal immigrants have also got PAN cards issued to them; most have used the services of PAN card agents.
One should take due care to refrain from using services of tout agents who claim to provide hand delivery of PAN cards and charge extra. Also, there are certain sites that have proliferated on the web that provide online PAN service at additional charge. However, there are only two authorised entities who are also authorised to host online PAN application services on behalf of ITD, i.e. NSDL e-Governance & UTIITSL.
- Aadhaar-enabled service delivery
- Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (National Pension Scheme & Permanent Retirement Account Number) (PRAN)
- Social Security Number (SSN) of USA
- International business identifiers (for corporate entities i.e. companies)
- Business Identifier Code (BIC/ISO 9362, identifier for corporate entities i.e. companies, trade, banking (SWIFT code, international Bank code, Bank International Code) etc.)
- Fringe Benefits Tax (India)
- Tax Deduction Account Number
- "Know Your PAN".
- "verify your PAN".
- the website of the Income Tax Department, Government of India
- UTIITSL India: Financial & IT Service Provider, PAN Card Issuer Archived 13 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- PAN Card Application
- Sharma, Ashwini Kumar (25 July 2016). "DYK: You can now apply for a new PAN card online using Aadhaar-based e-signature". livemint.com/. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
- Techie Prem (8 May 2019), Apply New PAN Card Online In 2019 by Techie Prem | pan card apply online, retrieved 15 May 2019
- PAN Card Application
- Passport Seva : About Us | Passport Seva
- I-T dept may make d-o-b proof mandatory for PAN card - Economic Times
- "Crooks fake credit history, dupe banks in Kolkata". Times of India. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- "Rs 1 crore e-fraud: Fake PAN cards used to open several bank accounts". Times of India. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2014.
- Tax evaders seen holding multiple PAN cards. Business Today. (24 March 2011).
- New PAN card to cost Rs 105; aims to weed out fake PAN card issue. The Economic Times. (28 January 2014).
- Income-Tax Department detects and destroys 11.69 lakh multiple PAN cards. Moneylife.
- Pak infiltrators arming themselves with PAN cards - The Times of India
- Illegal Bangladeshis PAN out in India to cement their Aadhar
- 198 Bangladeshis held, 164 deported | The Asian Age
- Passport alone no proof of citizenship: Bombay HC - The Times of India
- Bangla infiltrator gets Indian passport - Indian Express
- Passport, birth proof not enough to claim Indian citizenship: HC