2 mins read
22 Feb 2024

As a citizen of India who contributes to the country's economy, having a PAN card is essential. The government officially introduced the PAN card under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act of 1961. This was to counter and improve upon numerous disadvantages of the GIR (General Index Registrar Number) system that was in place before PAN. The main problem with the GIR was that it didn't provide unique numbers to taxpayers that often led to confusion and tax evasion.

Here’s a look at everything that you need to know about a PAN card.

What is a PAN card?

PAN stands for Permanent Account Number, and a PAN card is a physical representation of this. It is a document that you must have to file your taxes and serves as proof of identity. Essentially, PAN is a system through which the tax-related information of a person or a company is recorded. It is unique to you, and no two people share the same PAN.

Your PAN card consists of your name, father's name, date of birth, PAN, signature and photograph.

Why is a PAN card important?

A PAN card is a document that you need for various processes. Not only is it compulsory to have when filing your income tax returns, but it also works as a nationally accepted proof of identity and is mandatory for performing specific business and personal transactions.

Here is the list of some of the transactions for which you must have a PAN card.

  • Filing your IT returns
  • Opening a new bank account
  • Purchasing jewellery
  • Borrowing a loan
  • Applying for a new telephone connection
  • Applying for a new gas connection
  • Purchasing property
  • Getting a new debit/credit card
  • Buying or selling a vehicle above a certain amount
  • Registering your business
  • Making investments in securities above a certain amount
  • Starting a fixed deposit or cash deposit of a certain amount
  • Making insurance payments above a certain amount

Using a PAN card as identity proof

No matter where you use your PAN card, remember that it will always be identity proof and not address proof. The PAN card provides only personal details like your PAN, name, date of birth and signature. A PAN card does not have details about your residential address, so it can't qualify as address proof. Documents like your Aadhaar Card, passport, driver's licence, phone bill and electricity bill are accepted as address proofs.

Linking your PAN card to your bank account

This is a necessity as it allows you to transact conveniently.

Link your PAN using your phone

  • Call your bank’s customer care number
  • Go through the IVR selection, connect with a customer care executive and tell him/her that you want to link your PAN to your account
  • Provide your personal details to verify your identity
  • Next, provide them with your PAN
  • After that, your PAN will be linked in around 2 working days

Link your PAN using internet banking

  • Log into your net banking account and select a tab that says 'Service Requests'
  • Here, click the option that says 'PAN Card Updation'
  • Enter all your PAN details. Once you have submitted these details, your PAN will be linked in around 2 working days

Link your PAN offline

  • Visit the home branch where you have a bank account
  • Ask a bank representative to give you the PAN Updation Form
  • Fill up all the details carefully
  • Submit a self-attested copy of your PAN card and a letter to the branch manager

Can my PAN card be linked to different bank accounts?

Your PAN card is a mandatory document that helps you perform financial transactions using your bank account. So, no matter how many bank accounts you have, you must link your PAN card with each one.

Why do I need to link the Aadhaar Card and PAN card?

With Aadhaar, the government wants to have a single document that comprises all citizens' information. So, while an Aadhaar Card consists of your name, address, and biometric details, it doesn't have your PAN. As a result, you must link the two. This combines your biometric, geographical, and financial information, making it easier for the government to create a database.

Here are the two main reasons why linking your PAN card to your Aadhaar Card is necessary.

  • It helps the government identify and prevent tax evasion by keeping a better record of transactions
  • It prevents people from making multiple PAN cards for fraudulent purposes

How to link my Aadhaar Card and PAN card?

The e-filing portal has made it relatively simple to get your Aadhaar Card linked to your PAN card. All you have to do is register on the e-filing portal, after which you can follow a simple step-by-step process to link your PAN to your Aadhar card.

Here is the procedure you have to follow.

  • Log on to the income tax e-filing portal using your PAN number, which will be your user ID
  • Under 'Profile Settings' select 'Link Aadhaar'
  • Fill in the requisite details as mentioned on your PAN card and check them
  • Click on 'Link Now'
  • Once this is done, you will immediately receive a message stating that the link has been successful

Who can avail of a PAN card?

Having a PAN card is mandatory for a host of entities. Take a look at who can apply for one.

  • Individuals with valid address and identity proof, and date of birth proof
  • NRIs
  • Hindu Undivided Families
  • Minors, especially if you are making investments in your child's name or nominating them for a property
  • Partnership firms
  • Limited liability partnerships
  • Trusts
  • Companies
  • Local authorities
  • Association of persons
  • Artificial judicial person

How to apply for a PAN card via NSDL

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a PAN card online.

  • Go on to the official PAN website and click on 'Apply Online'. Or, access the form here
  • Fill up all the fields with accurate details
  • Once you submit the form, you will be redirected to pay the fee
  • Once this is done, a page will appear with an acknowledgement number, which you must save
  • Next, send all supporting documents to the NSDL by courier or post. For the entire list of documents, click here
  • Once your details are verified, your PAN card will be dispatched to you

Alternatively, you can also apply for a PAN card offline by following these steps.

  • Visit the official website, download and print the application form. Then, fill the fields correctly
  • Submit this form in person at an authorised PAN centre along with the requisite documents and the processing fee
  • Then, your PAN will be mailed to the address that you have given once your application and documents are verified and processed

How to apply for a PAN card for a business

A PAN card is mandatory if you do business in India, even if your company isn't Indian. So, look at applying for a PAN card for your business entity and the documents you will need.

Here is the list of documents you would have to submit to get a PAN card for your business.

  • An apostilled copy of the Certificate of Incorporation or Business Registration Certificate or Articles of Incorporation as identity proof.
  • An apostilled copy of the company bank statement bearing the company name and full current address. Fill this with care, as your PAN card will be delivered here.
  • You have to pay a bank draft of Rs. 1,000 as a processing fee, usually favouring NSDL-PAN or UTIITSL.

Once you have all these documents ready, take a look at how to apply for a PAN card.

  • Download Form 49A and fill in the details, including that of the bank draft
  • Then, print the form, sign it and attach the supporting documents
  • Hand over the documents to a PAN agent or mail them to NSDL
  • Note the acknowledgement number to track your application's status
  • In around 5 weeks, the PAN card will be dispatched to your office address

How to find the nearest PAN card office

To help you apply for a PAN card easily, the Tax Information Network allows you to locate your centre on its website. Click here, enter your state or union territory and location to find the centre closest to you.

How to download your PAN card

If your PAN card is lost, stolen or damaged, you will have to apply for another one. In the interim, you can use your e-PAN. Follow these steps to download it.

  • Log on into the portal and fill in the requisite details such as your name, phone number and email ID
  • Once you have submitted this form, the e-PAN card will be sent to your inbox
  • You can then download the PAN card from your email and use it until you receive your replacement PAN card

Documents required to apply for a PAN card

These are the documents that you must submit when applying for a PAN card:

  • Proof of identity such as Aadhaar Card, passport, ration card, etc.
  • Proof of address such as Aadhaar Card, passport, elector's photo ID, etc.
  • Proof of birth such as Aadhaar Card, passport, birth certificate, etc.

To see the complete list of documents that you can submit for each category, click here.

How to check your PAN card status

Checking your application's status is a good way of seeing how far your application has reached. To do this, you must have the PAN acknowledgement number.

What is the PAN acknowledgement number?

This is a unique number provided to you after applying for a PAN card on the NSDL portal. You can use the 15-digit code to track your PAN application easily. This number is printed on the slip that you receive after successfully submitting your application for a PAN card online.

How to download your PAN card acknowledgement number online?

Once you have completed applying on the NDSL website, an acknowledgement slip will be displayed on the screen. Print this page to access your acknowledgement number at your convenience.

Here is the step-by-step procedure by which you can track the status of your PAN card 24 hours after you submit your application.

  • Click here to begin the PAN tracking process
  • Choose the application type and then enter the acknowledgement number
  • Enter the verification code and click 'Submit'

How to check PAN status without PAN acknowledgement number?

You can do so by visiting this website and entering the application number mentioned on the form. Fill in the security code and then click on 'Submit'. Alternatively, click here and fill in your full name and date of birth along with the application type. Click on 'Submit' to complete the process.

What are the common mistakes to avoid when applying for a PAN card?

Applying for a PAN card consists of various stages, and you must be meticulous at every step. This is because making a mistake will delay the process significantly.

To ensure that you stay on track, here is a list of mistakes you must avoid when applying for a PAN card.

  • Providing incorrect signature: When applying, you must sign across your photograph and in the box provided. If this is not done correctly or there is a mismatch, you will have to rectify it later
  • Scanned photographs: It may seem convenient to attach a scanned photograph. However, remember that when applying for a PAN card, only a passport photograph will do
  • Using blue ink when signing: The instructions clearly state that you need to use a black pen to sign the form. Keep this in mind when you apply. If you sign with any other colour ink, you will have to re-do the process, and there will be a delay in receiving your PAN
  • Signing with initials: You must not sign with initials since the government issued this, and it will act as identity proof. Use your full signature everywhere

How to make changes or corrections in PAN card?

If your PAN card has incorrect details, such as a spelling error or the wrong birth date, rectify them immediately. Here is a look at how to do this:

  • Visit the NSDL website or simply click here
  • Then in the 'Application Type' menu, click on 'Changes or correction in existing PAN Data/Reprint of PAN card (No changes in existing PAN data)'
  • Fill in the details and the verification code and click on 'Submit'
  • Then, select how you will submit documents. You can mail them to NSDL, e-sign them or submit them via eKYC. This is the easiest option if you have an Aadhaar card
  • Enter all the details as per the fields. If you choose Aadhaar as your option, make sure that the details that you enter are identical
  • Pay the associated fee for revising your PAN card
  • Save the transaction reference number and the bank reference number
  • Then, authenticate your Aadhaar number by checking the box next to it and clicking on 'Authenticate'
  • If your details match, you will be able to click on 'Continue with e-sign/e-KYC'
  • Click on the button that says 'Generate OTP'
  • Enter the OTP and submit it
  • You will see a page that confirms that your form has been submitted
  • Download this PDF or save the email confirmation that you get
  • Once your request is processed, your PAN card will be mailed to you

How do I surrender additional PAN cards?

Use the procedure for cancelling a PAN card to surrender multiple PAN cards that you may have in your possession.

What are the legal implications of owning multiple PAN cards?

As reported by Livemint, in the recent past, the Government of India has deactivated around 1.1 million PANs, most of which were cancelled as people had more than one PAN card. It is important to remember that having more than one PAN is illegal as per the Section 272B of the IT Act of 1961. You will have to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000, and if it is found that you have multiple PANs for evasion of tax, you will be tried as per income-tax laws.

How to check your CIBIL score with your PAN card?

CIBIL allows you to check your credit score for free once every year. You can visit this page and create an account for yourself. Then, follow these steps to see your CIBIL score.

  • Enter personal details such as your full name, date of birth and gender
  • Under the 'Identity Proof' section, select 'Income Tax ID Number (PAN)'
  • Fill in your income details
  • Enter your contact information and submit the form

You will get your CIBIL report in your email inbox within 24 hours.

How to search for an address on your PAN card?

To view details linked with your PAN card, such as your address, you must first register your PAN card on the Income Tax department's e-filing website. Here's a quick guide on how to do this.

  • Click here to get started. Select the type of user before clicking 'Continue'
  • Once you fill and submit the registration form, you will get an email with a link to activate your account. Click on it to do so

Now to check your address, click here and sign in. Go to 'Profile Settings' and click on 'PAN Details'. Here, you will be able to see your address and other details linked to your PAN.

Remember, being accurate while filing and submitting forms is crucial when it comes to your PAN card. Keep this guide handy to ensure that you make no mistakes.

Know your Permanent Account Number (PAN)

Understanding the Permanent Account Number (PAN) Structure. The PAN consists of 10 characters which implies:

1. The first 3 characters are alphabetic, representing any English alphabet combination.

2. The fourth character is also an alphabet, indicating the taxpayer's category:

  • A: Association of Persons
  • B: Body of Individuals
  • C: Company
  • F: Firms
  • G: Government
  • H: Hindu Undivided Family
  • L: Local Authority
  • J: Artificial Judicial Person
  • P: Individual
  • T: Association of Persons for a Trust

3. The fifth character is an alphabet, denoting the cardholder’s surname initial.

4. The subsequent four characters are numerical and randomly generated.

5. The last character is another alphabet

Types of PAN cards In India

Different tax-paying entities are issued PAN cards in India, categorised as follows:

  • PAN card for Indian individuals 
  • PAN card for Indian companies 
  • PAN card for foreign citizens 
  • PAN card for foreign companies

PAN card forms

To initiate a PAN card application, one must complete an application form. Two types of forms are available: Form 49A and Form 49AA, accessible through online and offline channels.

  • Form 49A: Designed for Indian individuals or entities, including students and minors seeking PAN registration. 
  • Form 49AA: Specifically for foreigners applying for PAN.

PAN card application fees

To obtain a PAN card online, individuals can apply through the Protean e-Gov Technologies Limited website (previously NSDL) or the UTITSL portal. The application fee is as follows:

  • For Indian address: Rs. 93 (excluding GST)
  • For foreign address: Rs. 864 (excluding GST)

Structure of PAN card

In compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, the information provided on a PAN card includes:

  1. Cardholder's name
  2. Cardholder's father's name
  3. Cardholder's date of birth
  4. 10-character alphanumeric Permanent Account Number (PAN)
  5. Cardholder's signature
  6. Cardholder's photograph
  7. Additionally, the PAN card features the Government of India's logo and hologram, along with the tag of the Income Tax Department (ITD)

Also check

Know your PAN PAN card correction PAN card for minor


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Frequently asked questions

How long is a PAN valid after it is allotted?

The PAN card is valid for a lifetime1. Once allotted, it remains effective indefinitely, serving as a crucial identification document for financial and tax-related transactions.

How can I link my PAN card with Aadhaar card?

Visit the Income Tax Department’s official e-filing website. Click on ‘Link Aadhaar’ option under Quick links. Enter your PAN and 12-digit Aadhaar number and click on validate to link your PAN card with Aadhaar card.

How should I fill the PAN application form?

Form 49A is exclusively for Indian citizens. Even those residing abroad must use Form 49A. The form must be filled in English, with mandatory fields marked by an asterisk. Each field should have a blank space after each word/number/punctuation mark. The AO code of the Jurisdictional Assessing Officer must be filled by the applicant, which can be obtained from the Income Tax Office or by searching online.

When I submit Form 49A for PAN card, what are the charges that I have to bear?

When you submit Form 49A for PAN card application for Indian address, you need to pay Rs. 93 (excluding GST).

Is it a punishable offence to hold more than one PAN card?

Yes, possessing more than one PAN card is a punishable offense. As per Section 272B of the Income Tax Act, 1961, a penalty of Rs. 10,000 can be levied for having multiple PAN cards. If you have been allotted more than one PAN, it is essential to surrender the additional card(s) promptly.

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