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Permanent Account Number or PAN is a mode of identifying taxpayers across the country. PAN is set in the form of a 10-digit unique identification alphanumeric number (containing both alphabets and numbers) assigned to Indians, mainly to those who pay tax. The PAN system of identification is a computer-based system that assigns a 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.
PAN is an electronic system through which all tax-related information for a person/company is recorded against a single PAN number. This acts as the primary key for the storage of information and is shared across the country. Hence no two tax-paying entities can have the same PAN.
When PAN is allotted to an individual or entity, PAN Card too is assigned by the Income Tax Department. While PAN is a number, PAN Card is a physical card that has the PAN number as well as the name, date of birth (DoB), and photographs. Copies of PAN card can be submitted as proof of identity or DoB.
The PAN Card is not only issued to individuals. Companies and partnership firms can also avail a PAN Card and it becomes mandatory for such entities to have a PAN number when they are filing their income tax returns. Even in the case of individuals, minors, students and Non-Resident Indians can also apply for PAN Card online.
PAN Card is important for taxpayers as it is necessary for all financial transactions and is used to track the inflow and outflow of your money. It is important when paying income tax, receiving tax refunds, and receiving communication from the Income Tax Department. PAN is a unique identification number that enables each tax-paying entity of India with the following:
The union budget 2019 had proposed for taxpayers to use Aadhaar instead of PAN for filing income tax returns on or after 1 September 2019. It has been proposed in the union budget 2019 that the Income-tax officer can themselves allot PAN to taxpayer filing return with Aadhaar.
Since a PAN Card can be availed by both individuals and entities, different types of PAN Cards need to be applied through different variants of Form 49 that are issued by the government. Here are the different types of PAN Cards and the different Forms used for availing the same.
PAN Card for Individuals - This is the most common variant of the PAN Card that is issued to individuals. This card is applied through Form 49A available online through the NSDL and UTIITSL websites. Individuals include any resident Indian including minors and students as they are also eligible for a PAN card.
PAN Card for Non-Resident Individuals or Persons of Indian Origin - NRIs and PIOs can avail a PAN Card for taxation in India. They too would have to submit Form 49A for availing this card.
PAN Card for foreign entities paying tax in India - Firms or corporates which are registered outside India but pay tax in India by virtue of their business operations conducted in India can also avail a PAN Card. They would have to fill and submit Form 49AA as part of the PAN card application process.
PAN Card for OCI and NRE - Overseas Citizens of India and Non-Resident Entities can also apply for a PAN Card. The relevant form which should be filled out by them when applying for the PAN card is Form 49AA.
PAN Card for Indian Companies - Firms and corporate entities registered as well as working in India can also apply for a PAN Card for their financial and tax-related transactions.
A PAN card contains some very basic information which also qualifies it as an identity and an age proof when complying with the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines. The details contained in the card are as follows:
Name of the cardholder – The primary and the most noticeable detail on the PAN Card is the name of the cardholder. In case of an individual, it is the individual’s name, in case of a company, the registered name of the company and case of a partnership firm, the name of the firm is mentioned on the PAN Card.
Name of the father of the cardholder – This is applicable in case of individual cardholders. The name of the father of the cardholder is mentioned beneath the name of the individual.
Date of birth – The cardholder’s date of birth is mentioned beneath the name of the father in case of an individual’s PAN card. This detail acts as the date of birth proof of the cardholder. In the case of companies and partnership firms, their date of registration is mentioned in this field.
PAN Number – The next and the most important content of the card is the PAN number or the Permanent Account Number. The PAN number is unique to every person/entity holding the card and it contains some key information. The number is generated based on the details provided by the entity. It is a 10-letter alpha-numeric number and each character represents information. Such information is as follows:
The first three letters – These three letters are purely alphabetical and contain three letters of the alphabet from A to Z.
Fourth letter – The fourth character of the PAN number represents the category of the taxpayer the entity is. The various entities and their respective characters are as follows:
The fifth letter – the fifth letter is the first letter of the individual’s surname
Remaining letters– remaining characters are random. The first 4 characters are numbers while the last one is an alphabet.
Signature of the individual – the last detail on the PAN card is the signature of the individual. As such, a PAN Card also acts as proof of the individual’s signature required for various financial transactions.
Photograph of the individual – the photograph of the cardholder is also present in the lower right-hand side of the PAN Card which makes the card eligible to act as a photo identity proof of the individual. In the case of companies and firms, no photograph is present on the card.
A PAN Card can be applied for in two ways. One can apply online for a pan card through the popular online pan card application process or alternately, the offline mode of PAN card application can also be used. In the following sections, we will discuss the different methods you can use to apply for and get a PAN card.
Online PAN Card Application Process - Here are the steps which are to be followed when applying for the PAN Card using the online mode of application and PAN card registration:
Offline PAN Card Application Process - Applying for the PAN Card can also be done offline at any district-level PAN agency.
Know your PAN status – One can track PAN Card status online after the applicant has applied for it. The PAN Card application status can be tracked where the PAN status shows whether the card has been issued or not or if it is currently in transit. The applicant can check PAN Card status or check the UTI PAN card status/NSDL PAN card status on the respective websites. The UTI PAN Card status is available on UTIITSL and the NSDL PAN status is available on the NSDL website and both show the respective PAN application statuses. The status of PAN Card can thus be tracked online and one can figure out the online PAN Card status by name and date of birth entered in the websites.
Making changes in a PAN Card - Existing PAN cardholders can make changes on their existing PAN Card details while at the same time retaining the PAN Number. Any correction in the details contained in the PAN Card can also be made using this procedure. For this, a PAN Card update or correction form needs to be filled and submitted to the relevant authority.
Certain documents are required to be submitted along with the PAN Card application form (Form 49A or Form 49AA) or the acknowledgement form (if applying online) for PAN card verification process. The requirement of documents could vary depending on the applicant. Key documents which are required along with the PAN application form when individuals or other entities apply for a PAN card. Find below the list of documents required for pan card:
For an individual applicant:
An address proof which can be a copy of any one of the following:
For a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)
For a company registered in India
For firms and Limited Liability Partnerships formed or registered in India
For Trust formed or registered in India
For an Association of Persons
For individuals who are not Indian Citizens
In case you have lost your PAN card, you can apply for a duplicate PAN card online as well as offline. TIN-NSDL and UTIITSL allow people to fill the form and make the payment online for a duplicate copy of your PAN card. Here’s how you can do it:
1. How do I apply for a PAN Card?
You can apply for a PAN card both online as well as offline. You can apply for a PAN online by either visiting the TIN NSDL website or through the UTIITSL website. You can apply for PAN Offline by visiting a PAN centre.
2. How do I get the PAN application form?
You can get the PAN application form at the PAN centre. Alternatively, you can download PAN application form 49A or 49AA online from TIN NSDL website.
3. How much does a PAN card application cost?
You do not have to pay any charge for PAN card application form. However, a charge of Rs 107 has to be paid by applicants residing in India and Rs 1017 by those residing outside India for PAN card.
4. Where should the PAN Card application form be submitted?
The PAN card application form has to be sent to: Income Tax PAN Services Unit, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Limited, 5th Floor, Mantri Sterling, Plot No. 341, Survey No. 997/8, Model Colony, Near Deep Bungalow Chowk, Pune – 411 016
5. How do I check the status of my PAN Card application?
You can track the status of your Pan online by visiting
6. Can minors apply for a PAN card?
Yes, minors can apply for PAN card as well. They can avail several facilities by furnishing their PAN at relevant offices.
7. How long does it take to get a PAN card?
It takes around 45 days from the time of your application for PAN to the day when your PAN card reaches your residential address. However, in some cases, the timeframe may increase.
8. Why is it necessary to have PAN?
You will not be able to file your ITR if you do not present your PAN. All bank accounts not linked with PAN will be deactivated soon. Also, it is necessary to furnish PAN for making cash transactions above Rs 50,000.
9. Should I have the PAN card even if I am a foreigner?
An individual carrying out business in India, be it an Indian or a foreign national, needs to pay taxes and to pay taxes, one needs to have a PAN card. Also, the PAN card has been made mandatory for buying high-value assets in India.
10. Will I get an acknowledgement when I submit my PAN application form at a TIN-FC?
Yes, you will receive an acknowledgement that contains a unique 15-digit number.
The primary purpose of the PAN card 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. You can use your PAN for e-KYC. e-KYC is a major requirement which is asked for by most service providers and it offers several benefits.
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