PAN CARD OR PERMANENT ACCOUNT NUMBER

The PAN card is a unique identifying card with a number for taxpayers in India. The Permanent Account Number – PAN - is actually a number which will identify you to the Income-tax Authority. A computer system assigns the PAN to all Indian tax payers whether you are an individual or a company. All your tax-paying information is stored under your PAN and can be retrieved at any time using this unique number. This PAN is available to every citizen in India. A PAN is allotted to each individual or company and there is no duplication.

The Pan can be compared to the Social Security Number or SSN in the USA. The SSN is allotted to every legal resident of the USA whether citizen or not. It was chiefly used to identify people for social security benefits but today the nine-digit SSN is used in tax processes also.

Your PAN is allotted only once and will not change throughout your life. Even if you change your address your PAN is unaffected.


The PAN card was first launched only in 1972. There was a GIR number allotted by local income tax officers before this. It was valid only within a particular circle and had the income tax assessor’s details also. This was not useful on a national level and caused confusion as the number was not unique.

At first wards and circles were allotted numbers and these numbers were assigned manually till 1995. But this created some confusion.

  • There was no national database of complete information of numbers allotted and information was too restricted.
  • Pan numbers were not allotted by a centralized system, so there were chances of numbers being repeated.
  • PAN numbers would change with the change of address of the taxpayer, leading to confusion.

The PAN became mandatory in 1976. 


  • Ø You can apply for a PAN card by using the online facilities at the website of the NSDL or you can apply through any of the District level PAN agencies. If you need to apply for a new PAN number or make corrections on your existing PAN card you can do this using the above facilities. Use Form 49 A to submit an application for a new PAN.
  • Ø If you lose or misplace a PAN card you can apply for a duplicate, but the form will be different.
  • Ø If you are a foreigner or an NRI you can also apply for a PAN, though the procedures and the forms to be filled may be different.
  • Ø You can apply for a PAN through the NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) or through UTIISL (UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited)
  • Ø You can apply for a PAN card either online or offline.
  • Ø Once you submit an application as one of the above, you can track the status of your PAN application using the acknowledgment number given by NSDL.

  • Follow the procedure given below to process the PAN Card application online:
  • Go to the TIN NSDL or the UTIISL websites and click on NEW PAN.
  • If you are an Indian citizen (which includes NRI, NRE, OCI) click on Form 49A
  • Fill in the application with all the details asked like Name, Address, Date of Birth, Gender, and other details.
  • Once the application is completely filled, click ‘submit’ and pay the fee for processing.
  • Take a print out of the page with your 15-digit acknowledgment number and sign the form.
  • Stick a passport size photo on the acknowledgment slip, add proof of identity and proof of address document copies and the Demand Draft (if you are paying by DD)
  • Send the above to NSDL within 15 days of submitting the application online.
  • You should receive the PAN card at the address mentioned on the application within 15 working days.

  •  You can either download the application from NSDL or UTIISL websites or get a copy from an NSDL agent.
  • Fill in the form carefully and attach the photo, requisite documents for proof of identity, and proof of address.
  • Hand over the form at the NSDL office with the processing fee.
  • You will receive the PAN Card at the address written on the application within 15 working days.

  •  Do fill in the name and address as given exactly in the documentary proofs you are attaching. 
  • Do get your thumb impression attested from a Magistrate or Notary to avoid being disqualified.
  • Do give proper contact details and your correct address in the application.
  • Do use capital letters when filling up the application.
  • Don’t overwrite or make corrections on the application.
  • Do expand all initials in your first or last name on the application.
  • Don’t apply for a new PAN if your old PAN card is destroyed, lost or stolen, just apply for a duplicate.

Send basic government documents as proof of ID and address proof. The NSDL will check their central database for verification. PAN applications may be rejected for incorrectness or for incompleteness.

 

Last modified on 24 May 2017

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