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Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a code that acts as an identification for individuals, families and corporate (Indian or Foreign), especially those who pay Income Tax. It is a unique, 10-character alpha-numeric identifier, issued to all judicial entities identifiable under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. An example number would be in the form of ABCDE1234J. 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, it is not acceptable as a proof of Indian citizenship.

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. An important point to note would be that once issued, the PAN is not affected by a change of address.

Structure And Provisions

  1. Income Tax PAN card is issued under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act.

  2. The PAN structure is as follows: AAAPL1234C: First five characters are letters, next four numerals, last character letter.

  3. The first three letters are sequence of alphabets from AAA to ZZZ.

  4. The fourth character informs about the type of holder of the card. Each holder is uniquely defined as below:

    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 Juridical Person

    P - Individual

    T - Trust (AOP)

    K - Krish (Trust Krish) this is nowhere in Income Tax form as well as not known to any person in income tax office

  5. The fifth character of the PAN is the first character

    (a) of the surname or last name of the person, in the case of a “Personal” PAN card, where the fourth character is “P” or

    (b) of the name of the Entity, Trust, society, or organisation in the case of Company/ HUF/ Firm/ AOP/ Trust/ BOI/ Local Authority/ Artificial Judicial Person/ Govt, where the fourth character is "C","H","F","A","T","B","L","J","G".

  6. The last character is an alphabetic check digit.

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.

The central government has introduced a new online service called “Know Your PAN” to verify or validate new and existing PAN numbers.

Failure to comply with the provisions of Section 139A of Income Tax Act, penalty of Rs.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 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 Rs.50,000, purchase and sale of immovable properties, vehicles etc.

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 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.

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