PAN Permanent Account Number is a unique 10 character alpha numeric code that acts as an identifier for Indian national issued to all judicial entities under Income Tax Act 1961 .It is issued by the INDIAN INCOME TAX DEPARTMENT   under the supervision of CBDT central board for Direct taxes.

It is issued as eg AAAAA000AA.It also serves as an important proof of identification.

It was first issued on 12 jan 1961 by Govt of India .

Pan Number is now mandatory for majority of financial transactions like bank account, receiving taxable salary, for sale or purchase of asset especially high value transactions.

PAN is unique to each individual and is valid for lifetime throughout INDIA .

The Central Govt has introduced a new online service called “know Your PAN“ to verify existing pan numbers .

Pan Is mandatory for filling Income Tax returns .Pan is also steadily becoming a mandatory document for opening new bank account, a mobile phone connection .purchase of foreign currency, bank deposits above rs5000 purchase and sale of properties and vehicles etc .

Obtaining Pan is optional and voluntary like passport, driving license however its use is mandatory at high value financial transactions.

Pan can be applied by submitting the prescribed PAN application to authorized PAN agency or online through NSDL website. along with 2 recent passport size photograph, proof of Id, Address and date of Birth and fee. It takes 10-15 days to receive the card.

Pan card is an important document for foreign citizens too who wish to undertake business in India or wish to invest in India.

Procedure to obtain PAN is same as applicable for Indian citizens however application is required to be filled using Form 49 AA meant for foreign citizens.

List of documents applicable for foreign citizens are as proof of identity

  • copy of passport, voter Id card
  • copy of Person of Indian origin PIO card issued by Govt of India
  • Copy of Overseas Citizens of India OCI card issued by Govt of India
  • Copy of other national or citizenship identification number dully attested by Indian Embassy or High commission or Consulate in the country where applicant is located

As proof of Address

  • copy of Bank account statement in the country of residence
  • copy of NRE non-resident external bank account statement in India
  • copy of certificate of residence in India or residential permit issued by state police Authorities
  • copy of visa Granted

However it’s a unique number issued there are some concerns also related to its issuance like individuals and corporates have been able to obtain multiple Pan Cards fraudulently.

It’s illegal and there is penalty of ₹ 10000 when caught.