Permanent Account Number or PAN, as it is commonly called, is a means of identifying various taxpayers in the country. PAN is a unique identification number assigned to Indians, mostly to those who pay tax. The PAN system of identification is a computer-based system that assigns unique identification number to every Indian tax paying entity. Through this method, all tax related information for a person is recorded against a single PAN number which acts as the primary key for storage of information. This is shared across the country and hence no two people on tax paying entities can have the same PAN.
The idea behind PAN is similar to the Social Security Number or SSN used in the United States. SSN in the US is a unique nine-digit number issued to all citizens of the US, permanent and temporary both. Although, the primary aim for SSN creation was to track individuals for social security purposes, it has now become a primary identification number for taxation processes.
Any PAN issued is valid for the entire lifetime of the PAN holder. This is so majorly because PAN is unaffected by any change of address of the PAN cardholder.
Old Pan Card Design
New Design for PAN Card
The Income Tax Department has prescribed a new format for PAN Cards issued after 1st January, 2017. The changes made to the new PAN Card have been listed below:
- A Quick Response (QR) code has been printed onto the new PAN Card which will carry details of the card holder. This QR code can be used for verification of data.
- New sections for the name of the card holder, the card holder’s father’s name, and date of birth have been added.
- The location of the PAN and the signature of the card holder have been changed.
History of PAN in India
Earlier, before the concept of PAN was introduced, there was a GIR number assigned to taxpayers which was basically a manual system and as such was unique only within a ward or under a particular assessing officer. However, the number was not unique at the country level. In the year 1972, the concept of PAN was rolled out by the Indian government and was made statutory under section 139A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
The GIR number was allotted by the Assessing Officer to a tax payer and it included the Assessing Officer’s information as well.
Another problem with the GIR system was that it was not a unique number. A GIR was unique only in that particular ward/circle, resulting in errors or the chances of miscalculations during tax assessment.
The PAN card in its present form was first introduced in 1972, as a way to overcome these problems. Initially a voluntary process, it was made mandatory for all tax paying individuals in the country in 1976.
The initial PAN number allotments were made manually, and to avoid duplication, each ward/circle received a certain set of numbers. This series was abandoned in the year 1995 due to a host of problems associated with it.
In spite of these changes, the first avatar of the PAN card met with some difficulties, as mentioned below:
- There was no database to maintain records of the PAN number allotted, with very limited information being recorded.
- There was no centralised authority who issued the PAN cards, resulting in the possibility that different centres could allot the same number to different individuals in the country.
- The PAN card number was not a permanent one as the number changed depending on the holder’s address.
PAN Card Application
As mentioned in the section above, PAN Card Application can be made either online at the NSDL website or by applying at any of the district level PAN agencies. Applications for new PAN allotment as well as those for correction or change of information can all be made by customers. Form 49A is the form that needs to be filled and submitted for application of new PAN.
Additionally, there are ways to obtain duplicate PAN card in situations where an entity loses or misplaces the PAN card. Indians, foreigners and NRIs all can obtain PAN, although the forms and procedure may vary for each of these entities.
Application forms for new PAN and reprint of PAN are different. Once, a user makes any of the above applications with regards to PAN, he/she can track the status of PAN application via the acknowledgement number furnished by NSDL.
A PAN card can be applied for through the NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) as well as through the UTIISL (UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited). Applicants can submit their PAN card applications either offline or online.
Online PAN Card Application Process
The online application process for a PAN card is mentioned below:
- Visit the TIN NSDL or UTIISL websites and select the ‘New PAN’ option
- Select Form 49A for Indian citizens (including NRE/NRI/OCI individuals)
- Fill in the details in the online form, mentioning details such as your full name, address, date of birth, gender, telephone number, income details etc.
- On filling the form, submit it and pay the processing fee
- Print the page with the 15 digit acknowledgement and sign in the space provided.
- Affix passport sized photographs on the acknowledgement, proof of identity and proof of address documents and Demand Draft (if you are paying through DD).
- The above are to be sent to the NSDL office by post within 15 days of submitting the online application.
- The PAN will then be sent to the address within 15 working days.
Offline PAN Card Application Process
- Download the PAN card application form from the NSDL or UTIISL websites or collect a copy from UTIISL agents.
- Fill in the form and attach supporting documents (proof of identity, address and photographs)
- Submit the form and documents to the NSDL office along with the processing fee.
- The PAN card will be sent to the address mentioned in the form within 15 working days.
Steps to Procure Duplicate PAN Card if you have Lost Your PAN Card
PAN or Permanent Account Number is an alphanumeric code consisting of ten digits that is provided to citizens by the Income Tax Department of India. This document is an extremely important proof of identity. However, in case someone loses or damages their PAN card, the steps below should be followed in order to procure a duplicate PAN card.
- Applicants must visit the official web portal of NSDL and apply for a ‘PAN Change Request’ form and fill in all the details.
- If applicants wish to procure a new card without changing any details or the PAN number in case they have lost or damaged their original card then after filling all details, they should not select any box on the left of the margin.
- As long as there are no changes to be made in the PAN card, their address will be updated in the database of ITD based on the address provided in the form.
- Once this is done, they will have to submit a document of identity proof such as passport or Aadhar number, a document for address proof such as Voter’s ID or utility bills, along with proof of issuance of PAN number such as a photocopy of the damaged/lost PAN card and submit the form.
- A nominal fee will have to be paid online either through credit card/debit card or net banking after which they will receive an acknowledgement through which they can track the status of their application.
PAN Card Application Do’s and Don’ts
- Remember to fill in all the details as per the identity and address proof documents you are submitting.
- Do get thumb impression attested by a Magistrate/Notary before submitting the form to avoid disqualification.
- Write the complete address and provide accurate contact details in the form.
- Do fill in the application form in capital letters.
- Don’t make corrections or over write anywhere on the form.
- Do not use initials in the first name or last name columns.
- Do not apply for a new PAN card if your old PAN card is lost/stolen/defaced.
Documents required for PAN
Certain basic documents for proof of address and identity proof are required to be furnished by the PAN applicant. NSDL verifies this information with their central database and rejection of PAN applications is not an uncommon thing when information furnished is incorrect or incomplete.
PAN Card Forms
- There are two types of forms for a PAN Card-
- Form 49A- Form 49A is the PAN Card Application form for all Indian citizens, whether they are residents of India or not. NRI (Non Resident Indians) can also apply for a PAN card using this form.
- Companies, firms, NGO (Non-Governmental Organisations), partnership firms, local bodies, trusts etc. also have to submit Form 49A when applying for a PAN card.
- PAN cards for minors and students have to be applied by submitting Form 49A as well.
- Form 49AA- this form is to be submitted by foreign nationals who are pay tax in the country. Limited Liability companies, firms, trusts, Body of Individuals and Association of Persons registered outside India are to submit Form 49AA duly filled in and signed when applying for a PAN card for tax purposes in India. OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) and NRE (Non Resident Entity) individuals will have to apply for a PAN card using this form.
- Entities applying for a PAN card by submitting form 49AA will have to submit their passport/OCI/PIO cards in addition to bank account statements from their resident country as proof of address and identity.
Tracking PAN Applications and Transactions
- The government has recently unveiled a programme by which it can track transactions made through a PAN card for the purpose of calculating tax. Known as the Income Tax Business Application-Permanent Account Number or ITBAN-PAN, it will enable the Income Tax Department to track every transaction made where a particular PAN number was quoted.
- All financial transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, liquidation, and amalgamation of PAN as well as dissolution information where a particular PAN card was quoted can be traced through the software.
- All existing PAN information and the entire database of PAN information has also been moved to this software.
Issuing of PAN Card
PAN issuing authority
Authorized PAN agencies at district level and NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) are the two issuing authorities that look into PAN applications. Therefore, anyone looking to obtain PAN can either apply physically at any of these district level PAN agencies or apply online at the NSDL website.
- PAN is issued to customers when they submit their PAN applications via filled form 49A. Assessing officers assess the application details using AIS system on computer and after a round of basic verification, the application is sent to the computer centers, where date is entered using the IPAN system and is then transferred to the central data system in Delhi. Since, central data is with National Computer Center, the taxpayer database is checked for information verification. In case, there is no record of PAN allotted to an entity in the past, then the PAN request is accepted and PAN is allotted.
- The above mentioned method is when batch allocation of PAN is done through IPAN. Another way is to allot PAN online through AIS. In this method, customer submits form 49A to the Assessing Officer, who does the data entry and verification and sends it to the National Computer Centre which does PAN allocation and sends it back to the AO who in turn send these details to be printed and passed on to the PAN applicant.
- The process of issuing of PAN works on the PPP model which is Public Private Partnership model. This is so for reasons of economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the PAN issuing model. Income tax department has involved two reputed entities, the NSDL and the UTIITSL (UTI Infrastructure Technology Services Limited) for processing of PAN applications as well as collecting, handling and verifying of personal documents.
Structure of PAN
Contents of PAN Card
PAN card is issued with every PAN that is allotted to an entity. There are certain details that are printed on the PAN card. These details are permanent details which are not supposed to change with the passage of time. This helps in unnecessary updating of PAN details and records on change of temporary details like address, contact number etc.
Here are the details that are captured in a PAN card issued to an individual taxpayer.
- Permanent Account Number (Along with built-in status of the assesse and check alphabet)
- Full name of the PAN cardholder
- Name of father of PAN cardholder
- Date of Birth
Listed below are the details that a PAN card capturers for entities other than individual
- Permanent Account Number (Along with built-in status of the assesse and check alphabet)
- Full name
- Date of incorporation
All the information that is listed on the PAN card is first checked against the information furnished by the PAN applicant in form 49A. Address is not printed on the PAN card since it is susceptible to change. Also, for organizations, businesses, HUFs etc. it is impossible to list all information on the PAN card and hence, PAN cards are issued to partners, members or directors of a company, on an individual basis.
Structuring of Permanent Account Number, PAN
Permanent Account Number is effective because of its uniqueness. It is an interesting thing to learn about the structuring of PAN. There is a lot of hidden information that goes into the making of the Permanent Account Number.
PAN is generated automatically by the online system by taking into account the information furnished by the PAN applicant.
First Three Characters
The first three characters of PAN are a sequence of alphabets from AAA to ZZZ
The fourth character signifies the type of taxpayer that you are.
- A — Association of Persons (AOP)
- B — Body of Individuals (BOI)
- C — Company
- F — Firm
- G — Government
- H — HUF (Hindu Undivided Family)
- L — Local Authority
- J — Artificial Judicial Person
- P — Individual
- T — AOP (Trust)
- K — Krish (Trust krish)
The fifth character in PAN is the first letter of your surname. So, if a person is named ‘Rajesh Khanna’, the fifth character of his PAN will be ‘K’
So if an individual obtains PAN, his/her PAN will have the fourth character as ‘P’ which stands for individual taxpayer.
Types of PAN Cards
The Income tax Department has mandated that all tax paying entities register and possess a PAN card. While this applies to individuals, companies, partnership firms, NGO’s as well as foreign firms also come under the purview of this directive.
As a result, PAN cards are issued for individuals as well as companies.
PAN Card for Individuals
A PAN card for individuals is used to keep track and link all financial transactions that attract tax, with the IT department calculating the total taxable amount due on the basis of this data.
PAN Card for Companies
A PAN card for organisations is similar to that for individuals, with the exception that there is no photograph on the physical PAN card. Also in lieu of the date of birth mentioned on individual PAN cards, the date of registration of the company/organisation is mentioned.
PAN for foreign citizens in India
All foreign citizens who wish to carry out business in India are required to obtain PAN. The procedure for doing so is same as applicable to resident Indians. However, the application form for foreigners is form 49AA . All entities that are eligible to obtain PAN as Indian citizens are also eligible to obtain PAN as foreign citizens. This list includes entities like HUFs, individuals, trusts and so on.
The IT Department calculates the amount of tax the company/organisation is required to pay through its various transactions, all of which now require quoting the PAN card.
Old PAN Series
The first series of PAN was launched in the country, in the year 1972. However, there were certain issues with that series which resulted in the issuing of the current PAN structure than we have.
- A central database was not maintained and hence, there was absolutely no way to verify multiple PAN allocation to a taxpayer
- The data that was stored for PAN holders was neither structured well nor did it capture detailed information except a few primary details like name, address etc.
- PAN was not a permanent number since it depended upon the jurisdiction of the assesse and hence changed when the assesse changed his/her location
New PAN Series
The old method of registering taxpayers which involved the General Index Register Number or the GIR was replaced by Permanent Account Number in the year 1972. However, this was the old series of PAN which still needed some improvements and had drawbacks as listed in the section above. Hence, in the year 1995, under an amended section 139A of the Income Tax Act, the new series of PAN was rolled out by the Income Tax Department.
The new PAN series facilitated the following points which were earlier not included in the old series of PAN –
- Linking of all tax related information, current as well as past, to a single identification number
- Easy retrieval of information from the central database. This is because with the launch of the new PAN series, the segregation and recording of data was done more effectively
- Matching all financial information mapped against a single PAN, so that all loan details, credit and debit details as well as investment details could be tracked to a single customers and thereby reining in tax evasion
Why is PAN important?
A PAN card is a document that no taxpayer can do without. Besides being compulsory in order to file your Income Tax returns and to receive a tax refund, a PAN card also serves an accepted proof of identity and has now been made mandatory for a number of transactions of both a business as well as a personal nature. A comprehensive list of the various activities that require a PAN card to complete or authenticate the activity are mentioned below:
Mandatory uses of PAN
- PAN needs to be quoted while paying direct taxes
- While registering a business, PAN information needs to be mandatorily furnished
- Taxpayers need to input their PAN when paying income tax
- A lot of financial transactions require PAN information. Some of these transactions are:
- Sale or purchase of property (immovable) which is valued at Rs.5 lakh or above
- Sale or purchase of a vehicle except a two-wheeler
- Payments that are made towards hotels and restaurants and which are above Rs.25,000
- Payments made in connection with travel requirements to other countries. The amount in this case if it exceeds Rs.25,000, then an individual needs to quote his/her PAN
- Making payments of more than Rs.50,000 towards bank deposits in a bank
- Acquiring bonds by paying an amount equal to or greater than Rs.50,000
- Payments made for more than Rs.5 lakhs towards purchase of jewellery and bullion also require PAN information of the purchaser to be furnished
- Any purchase of mutual fund schemes
- Any amount greater than Rs,50,000 used towards purchasing shares
- Any payment of more than Rs.50,000 made towards acquiring an insurance policy needs PAN information of the policyholder
- To Remit money out of India
- Pan information is required for transfer of funds from NRE to NRO account
General uses/advantages of PAN
- Since PAN card contains information like Name, Age and photograph, it can be used throughout the country as a valid identity proof
- PAN is the best possible way to keep track of your tax payment. Otherwise, you might be required to pay it multiples times since your tax payment cannot be verified
- Since, PAN is unique for every entity and hence, misuse of the same is almost impossible for purposes of tax evasion etc.
- PAN card can be used as a document that is required to avail connections like electricity, telephone, LPG and internet.
- PAN is a unique identification number assigned to taxpayers and hence it is used to track all financial information like payment of taxes, investments made and debt liability of an entity, to a single customer.
Concepts Similar to PAN Card
The concept of a PAN card, or a unique number assigned to every tax paying entity is not a new concept. In fact, there are a number of similar such utilities that are used for tax purposes.
TAN (Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number) - This is a unique 10 digit number that is issued to individuals and entities who have to collect or deduct tax on payments they made as part of tax Deducted at Source (TDS) under the Income Tax Act.
The TAN has to be quoted when applying for TDS or Tax Collected at Source (TCS) challans made to disburse the refund as well as on certificates. Failure to quote the TAN would result in a fine of Rs. 10, 000.
TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) - A TIN number is a unique 11 digit number that is used to identify dealers who are registered under the Value Added Tax. Allotted by individual states, it is compulsory for all manufacturers, traders and dealers to register for a TIN number. This number is to be quoted when generating invoices, orders or quotations by both the issuing as well as the receiving company.
It is also used to identify assesses under the Income tax Act of 1961.
Who is allotted a Permanent Account Number?
PAN is allotted to people who fall under any of the following categories.
Under section 139A of the Income Tax Act, following are the taxpaying entities that are required to have a Permanent Account Number:
- Any person who has paid tax or is liable to pay tax to the Income Tax Department
- Any person who is carrying out a business or professional practice which earns him an yearly turnover of Rs,5,00,000 or more in the previous year of assessment
- All kinds of trusts in the country
- Importers and exporters who are liable to pay any form of tax or duty charges as per the Income Tax Act or as per any other law, currently in force
PAN is supposed to be applied for by all tax paying entities including individuals, HUFs, partnerships, companies, body of individuals, trusts etc. Also, PAN is furnished by the Income Tax Department for other similar entities like minors, judicial persons, firms, Krish etc. Also.
At the time of allotment of PAN to an entity, PAN card too is furnished by the Income Tax Department. While PAN is a unique identification number, PAN card is a physical card that has your PAN details as well as name, age and photograph. Copies of this card are submitted by entities for various transactions when required.
What Happens If I Don’t Have a PAN Card?
If your income falls into a taxable bracket, not having a PAN card would result in:
You paying a flat 30% tax on your earnings and wealth, as stipulated by the Income Tax Department of India. This rule applies to individuals, companies and all entities eligible for tax, including foreign nationals and firms registered outside India.
Not having a PAN card will mean you will be unable to purchase a motor vehicle, buy immovable property worth over Rs. 10 lakh, and open an account with any bank in the country among other activities.
Businesses too will be charged TDS at a flat 30% and will be unable to conduct a large chunk of their activities since quoting PAN has now become mandatory for everything from purchasing land in India to rendering any sort of professional services in the country.
IT Department Eases Rules For Name Mismatch in Aadhaar PAN Card Linking
The Income Tax (IT) department has come to the rescue of many individuals who have been facing trouble linking their Aadhaar cards to their PAN cards due to their names being mismatched. If the mismatch in name is minor, such as an initial or correction in spelling, a One Time Password (OTP) would be sent to the mobile number registered with the Aadhaar card. This can then be used to authenticate the card provided the date of birth and gender listed on both documents is the same.
If the name on the Aadhaar card is completely different from the one listed on the PAN card, the individual will be prompted to change the name in either the PAN or Aadhaar database and the linking will fail.
With the government making it mandatory for all taxpayers to provide their Aadhaar card when filing income tax returns, there has been a scramble to link Aadhaar cards or to obtain them.
To make it easier, the government has also issued a guideline to linking Aadhaar card to the taxpayer’s PAN card, which would automatically provide the Aadhaar details at the time of e-filing the tax returns.
22nd May 2017
Government defends the decision of making Aadhaar mandatory for PAN and ITR in Supreme Court
In a recent hearing to the pleas that opposed the idea of making Aadhaar mandatory for filing Income Tax Return (ITR) and for the application of Permanent Account Number (PAN), the government defended the decision in Supreme Court stating that Aadhaar is a useful instrument that can help curb tax evasion and use of fake PAN cards. Recently, the government announced that the linking of PAN to Aadhaar is mandatory. The individuals who are applying for a new PAN will be required to submit their Aadhaar. Additionally, Aadhaar will become an important factor that will be required for e-filing ITR. Following the hearing of the pleas against the decision, the government indicated the need of having an organized society where possession of duplicate identity card and tax evasion will be discouraged. Considering the fact that Aadhaar offers superior identification and verification service through the use of biometric information. It is nearly impossible to create fake Aadhaar cards. The versatility of the unique identification number is currently useful as well mandatory for various types of applications.
11th May 2017
Petition against linking Aadhaar with PAN Card in progress
The Supreme Court (SC) has initiated the process of hearing the petitions challenging Section 139AA of Income Tax (IT) Act that made linking of Aadhaar with IT Return a mandatory factor. The petition mentions that Section 139AA of Income Tax Act is contrary to the order that was given by Supreme Court. In the past, the government ensured that Aadhaar won’t be mandatory for any application, but considering the current situation, Aadhaar has become mandatory for e-filing ITR. There is a large group of people who have filed the petition against the linking Aadhaar with PAN and the hearing has been initiated by the SC now.
2nd May 2017
Linking Aadhaar to PAN is now mandatory for e-filing
The government has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar to PAN for e-filing purpose. If you haven’t linked your Aadhaar to the PAN on the Income Tax Department’s website, you won’t be able to carry out the e-filing services. By the seeding process, the government can curb and eliminate duplicate PAN cards that are being used for tax evasion. The rule will be applicable from the 1st of July 2017. There are many individuals who hold multiple PAN card that helps them in avoiding tax, by making the linking mandatory, the government can ensure that the details provided by the taxpayers are mandatory. Considering the fact that Aadhaar contain demographic as well as biometric details, the linking process will identify individuals accurately with more efficiency.
12th April 2017
Pan Card, Aadhaar Compulsory for Availing Mobile Connection
The Government of India announced on Saturday that to file ITR and apply for a PAN Card, citizens of India must have Aadhaar cards. Recent reports say that the government is making Aadhaar compulsory to avail mobile phone connections as well. The telecom operators have been asked to re-verify their existing prepaid and postpaid customers via an Aadhaar-based KYC system by February, 2018. Post that numbers not linked to Aadhaar will be considered illegal. For new customers, Aadhaar-based KYC is compulsory. Mobile operators have to send a verification code to their subscribers to make sure that the SIM Cards are available with them before starting the KYC process.
31st March 2017
The deadline ends for submitting PAN to banks
The deadline to submit the PAN to bank has ended. Earlier, PAN was required for opening a bank account, exchanging cash, and in carrying out various types of transactions. Post demonetization, the government had announced that PAN is a must for a broad range of banking activities including exchanging old notes, opening a bank account and carrying out higher value transactions. Banks were required to collect either the PAN details or furnished Form no.60. Since the announcement, the number of people applying for PAN card has significantly increased. The government has witnessed increase in application of Aadhaar card as well.
09th March 2017
PAN Card Clinic Organised in Vijayawada
A PAN Card clinic is being organized by the Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and Industry on February 18th and 19th, 2017 from 10.30 am to 5 pm. This clinic is being organized to help people who do not have a PAN Card apply for one. People can also get corrections or changes made in their PAN Cards from this clinic.
16th February 2017
100% penalty for accepting over Rs 3 lakh in cash
A 100% penalty will be incurred on anybody accepting cash over Rs.3 Lakh, warned revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia. However, public sector banks, post office saving bank or co-operative will be exempted from this regulation
So, if you are making a transaction worth anything more than Rs.3 Lakh in cash, you will have to pay a penalty of the same amount.
The Centre had proposed a board comprising 13 chief ministers that had come up with the idea to restrict cash transactions and make all payments over Rs.50,000 taxable. The board that is being led by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, had filed in a report that put forth these points few days prior to the presentation of the Union Budget in the Lok Sabha.
This move also aimed to promote cashless transactions in the country.
13th February 2017
Government May Replace Aadhaar with PAN Card
Individuals with no PAN cards might some relief as the government is considering allowing people to use their Aadhaar cards as a substitute. The move is expected to strengthen the digital payment ecosystem, and the government may follow developed countries in an effort to enhance its tax base. In nations such as the US, social security numbers are enough to file taxes, and individuals have no need to quote their tax identification number. Although there is no such provision in India at the moment, this move is forecast to help in bringing a higher number of individuals under the tax net.
8th February 2017
Jewellery Industry Want PAN Disclosure Rules Eased
The gems and jewellery industry are hoping the new budget will ease rules regarding mandatory disclosure of PAN card details when buying jewellery. They are hoping the government will raise the ceiling from the existing Rs.2 lakh to at least Rs.5 lakh. Due to demonetisation, the jewellery industry suffered losses during peak season, and therefore believe the government should provide some sops to the sector.
While the rule mandating the furnishing of PAN card details applies to gold purchases above Rs.2 lakh, jewellery industry sources say it is damaging their sales and pushing people towards the unorganised jewellery sector.
Demand for gold had spiked following demonetisation but stringent monitoring of jewellery purchases led to a decline in demand towards December.
As purchases during the wedding season see even modest income families splurging between Rs5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh on ornaments, industry sources state that many are put off buying gold for fear of coming under the tax scanner.