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.
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:
a. There was no database to maintain records of the PAN number allotted, with very limited information being recorded.
b. 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.
c. The PAN card number was not a permanent one as the number changed depending on the holder’s address.
Also Read:Apply for PAN card online using Aadhaar
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.
The online application process for a PAN card is mentioned below:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
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:
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.