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.
The PAN became mandatory in 1976.
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.