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All About the PAN Card

The full form of PAN is Permanent Account Number. It is a unique 10-digit alphanumeric code that is allocated to taxpayers in India by the Income Tax Department. It is mandatory for all taxpayers and assessees under the Income Tax Act, 1961. The PAN is also an essential official document that can be used as a proof of identity for various purposes. You can use your Permanent Account Number to open a bank account, obtain a loan, pay your taxes and file your IT returns, among other things. 

 

The PAN is allotted in the form of a card, which can be obtained in the physical or the electronic format (known as e-PAN). Get to know all about the Permanent Account Number today, so you can better understand how to apply for your PAN card and why you should do so. 

Components of a PAN Card

A PAN card contains several components that each offers essential information about the cardholder. If you already have a PAN card, or if you are going to apply for one, you need to know what details your card will contain. Check out the key components you can find on a PAN card. 

 

  • The Permanent Account Number

  • The name of the cardholder (first name, middle name and last name)

  • The name of the cardholder’s father (first name, middle name and last name)

  • The date of birth of the cardholder in DD/MM/YYYY format

  • The signature of the cardholder

  • The cardholder’s photograph

Nowadays, PAN cards are being printed with an Enhanced Quick Response (QR) Code to make verification easier. In the case of PAN cards of persons other than individuals (such as partnership firms, Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), companies etc.), the PAN card will not have any father’s name or signature. 

 

The PAN itself can give you many insights into the person who owns the card. The string of digits used in making up the Permanent Account Number consists of the following alphanumeric characters: ABCPD1234Z

 

Let’s decode what each of these characters represent.

  • The first 3 characters are always alphabets in any random order from AAA to ZZZ. 

  • The fourth character is also an alphabet, and it represents the category of the PAN cardholder, as follows:

  • P represents a person or individual 

  • A represents an Association of Persons (AOP)

  • B represents a Body of Individuals (BOI)

  • C represents a company

  • F represents a Partnership Firm

  • G represents a government body

  • H represents a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

  • J represents an Artificial Judicial Person

  • L represents a Local Authority

  • T represents a Trust

  • The fifth character represents the first letter of the cardholder’s name. 

  • The next four characters are numbers in any random order, from the sequence 0001 to 9999.

  • The tenth and last character is an alphabet that is used as a check digit. It is generated by an algorithm that takes the previous nine characters into account, and it makes the PAN unique by ensuring that now two Permanent Account Numbers are the same. 

How to Apply for a PAN Card

In India, there are two entities that are authorised to issue PAN cards, namely the NSDL (now renamed as Protean eGov) and the UTI Infrastructure Technology And Services Limited (UTIITSL). You can apply for your PAN card online or offline through any of these authorities. 

Here is an overview of how you can apply for your PAN card from the Income Tax Department using these channels. 

PAN Card Application on NSDL - Online

  • Step 1: Visit the NSDL website and choose the type of PAN application. 

  • Step 2: Select the category of persons you belong to and fill in the details required in the ‘Applicant Information’ section. 

  • Step 3: Check the box to accept the terms and conditions and enter the captcha code shown on the page. 

  • Step 4: Click on ‘Submit’ and then select the ‘Continue with the PAN Application Form’ option on the next page.

  • Step 5: Choose whether you want to submit your PAN application documents digitally through e-KYC or e-Sign, or forward the application with the documents physically. 

  • Step 6: Enter the details required in the online form. 

  • Step 7: Click on ‘Submit’ to proceed.

  • Step 8: On the new page, choose to pay for your PAN card application either through a demand draft or through online payment modes like net banking, a debit card or a credit card.

  • Step 9: After making the payment, you will get a receipt. 

  • Step 10: Courier a copy of the supporting documents, the payment receipt along with two recent photographs to the issuing authority.

PAN Card Application on UTIITSL - Online

  • Step 1: Visit the UTIITSL website and choose the mode of PAN card application, namely physical or digital. 

  • Step 2: Select the category of persons you belong to and choose whether you want a  physical PAN Card and e-PAN, or just an e-PAN. 

  • Step 3: Fill in the details required in the online form, like your personal details, document details, address and other relevant information.

  • Step 4: Upload the documents necessary, verify the details entered in the form and click on ‘Submit’.

  • Step 5: Then, pay for your PAN card application online via different modes like netbanking, credit card or debit card, using any of the payment gateways supported, such as PayU India or BillDesk.

  • Step 6: Save the acknowledgement or receipt that will be generated for your payment.

  • Step 7: Print the form, add 2 passport-size photographs, and affix your signature in the relevant fields. 

  • Step 8: Submit the form and the copies of the documents online. 

  • Step 9: Your PAN card will be issued after your documents are processed.

PAN Card Application - Offline

  • Step 1: Go to the Protean eGov Technologies Limited’s website and select the ‘PAN’ option in the ‘Downloads’ section. 

  • Step 2: Select the relevant form for PAN application and download the same. 

  • Step 3: Then, fill in the details required in the PAN application form accurately and completely.

  • Step 4: Include copies of all the documents required, as well as two recent passport size photographs.

  • Step 5: You should also include a demand draft for the fee payable and mention the details of the acknowledgement number on your envelope. 

  • Step 6: Once you have affixed all the necessary documents and photos, send them all align with the form to the following address:

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 – 411016

 

Eligibility and Documents Required to Apply for a PAN Card

Different entities and categories of persons are eligible to apply for a PAN card from the Income Tax Department, such as individuals, companies, partnership firms, trusts and more. The Income Tax Act, 1961, defines the following criteria for getting a PAN card.

 

  • Any person who is liable to pay taxes to the Income Tax Department

  • Any person who carries out a business or practises any profession through which they earn an annual turnover of ₹5 lakh or more

  • Importers and exporters who are liable to pay any form of duties, charges or taxes as per the Income Tax Act or any other law prevailing in the country

  • All trusts, charitable organisations, and associations

  • All tax paying entities including minors, individuals, HUFs, companies, partnerships, body of individuals, etc. 

Types of PAN Cards

Depending on the category of person, PAN cards from the Income Tax Department can be of different types, such as those listed below.

 

  • Individual PAN card

  • PAN cards for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

  • Company PAN card

  • PAN cards for partnership firms

  • PAN cards for trusts

  • PAN cards for societies

  • PAN card for foreigners 

  • Minor PAN card

Uses of a PAN Card

A PAN card has many beneficial uses. You need a PAN card for the following purposes in India.

  • Opening a bank account

  • Filing your Income Tax Returns (ITRs)

  • Applying for a debit or a credit card

  • Submitting a proof of identity for various purposes

  • Buying or selling a vehicle

  • Purchasing jewellery and bullion

  • Converting money from one currency to another

  • Availing a loan

  • Opening a fixed deposit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • ✔️Is a PAN card mandatory?

    A PAN card is mandatory for anyone who is liable to pay taxes or file their income tax returns. So, if your income exceeds the basic exemption limit, you need to get a PAN card.

  • ✔️Who issues a PAN card?

    The PAN card is issued by the Income Tax Department. You can apply for it online via the NSDL website or the UTIITSL website.