Permanent Account Number – What is a Permanent Account Number (PAN)?


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Updated on Jan 27, 2024

Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a unique number allocated by the Department of Income Tax in India to identify taxpayers in the country. PAN is a 10-digit unique number issued as a laminated card called a PAN Card.

PAN was introduced by the Indian government in 1972. Section 139A of the Income Tax Act makes PAN cards statutory in India. At the time of its introduction, PAN cards were optional, and people had a choice in availing a PAN card. However, in 1976, PAN was made mandatory for all taxpayers in India.

What is a Permanent Account Number? 

PAN or Permanent Account Number is used to identify taxpayers in India. The 10 digits of a PAN number include both numbers and alphabets. A PAN card enables the IT Department of India to link all transactions of an individual with the department, including tax payments, credit of TDS/TCS, returns, transactions, and more. Thus, PAN serves as a database for tax-related transactions and details of people.

What are the details included in a PAN Card?

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a unique identification number allotted to taxpayers by the Income Tax Department of India in the form of a laminated card called a PAN card. Thus, PAN is a number, and PAN Card is the physical card that has the PAN number along with other details like the name of the cardholder, date of birth of the cardholder, cardholder’s father/spouse’s name, photograph, and signature of the cardholder.

Understanding the Permanent Account Number (PAN)

The PAN or Permanent account number is a combination of 10 characters, issued in a typical format.

1. Format of a PAN

PAN is issued in a typical format with a mix of characters and numbers. E.g. ABCTY1234D.

  • Here, the first three characters are English alphabets of any combination
  • The fourth character is again an alphabet that signifies the category of the taxpayer, such as if it is an individual, body of individuals, firm/company, government, trust, etc.
  • The fifth character is another alphabet that represents the first character of the last name of the cardholder
  • The next four characters are random numbers, and
  • The last character is another English alphabet

2. Documents Required to Apply for a PAN

  • Identity proof like Aadhaar, Voter ID, Driving License, etc.
  • Address proof like electricity bill, water bill, bank account statement, statement of bank, etc., issued by the government.

3. Types of PAN card 

All taxpayers are issued PAN cards. Based on the entity to whom a PAN card is issued, the types of PAN cards can be classified as:  

  • PAN Card for Individuals (Indian)
  • PAN Card for Companies (Indian)
  • PAN for Citizens (Foreign)
  • PAN for Companies (Foreign)

4. How to Apply for a PAN?

For an Online PAN Card application, you can visit one of the two websites mentioned below:

  •  Protean e-Gov Technologies Limited (formerly NSDL)

However, offline applications can also be submitted through an agency facilitating PAN services. These service providers can help you apply for a new PAN card or apply for any changes in your existing one called PAN card corrections. You can also get a duplicate PAN Card in case you lose the original.

While applying for a new PAN, the applicant is required to fill out Form 49A. In the case of a foreign entity, it is Form 49AA that is required to apply for a PAN. Along with the forms, you are also required to attach the required documents to apply for a PAN card. Further, you can track the application of PAN status with the help of the acknowledgment number offered. The entire process of issuing a PAN card might take about 14 days.

5. Why is it Obligatory to Have a PAN?

PAN has been made obligatory by the Income Tax Department to stay updated regarding every transaction related to tax or the return of income. PAN is essential for tracking transactions and to monitor the flow of money of taxpayers. Hence, the Indian government has made it mandatory to link Aadhaar with PAN.

Benefits of PAN Card

Here are some benefits of a PAN card:

1. For Filing IT Returns:

Every entity, including individuals, companies, etc., who are qualified for Income tax must file income tax returns. While filing IT returns, you need a PAN and that is one of the primary reasons for taxpayers to have a PAN card.

2. Identity Proof:

A PAN card is a legal proof of identity for people in India along with an Aadhaar, voter card, etc., and is accepted everywhere as proof of ID.

3. Taxation:

This is another reason why you must have a PAN card. If a taxpayer earns more than INR 10,000 on the interest of the savings account and their PAN Aadhaar link is not done, the individual will be levied with a 30% TDS.

4. Tax Refund:

Individuals require a PAN card for claiming income tax refunds. You can claim the excess TDS if the TDS deducted is more than what you should pay. For this, you need your PAN card to be linked to your bank account.

Other Uses of PAN Card

  • PAN is required When paying direct taxes
  • PAN is required when filing income tax
  • PAN is required to register a business
  • PAN information is needed for different financial processes

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FAQs: What is a Permanent Account Number?

What is the process for PAN card download?

Here are the steps to get a PAN card online:
- Visit the official portal of NSDL
- Go to ‘Quick Links’, and press ‘PAN-New facilities’ under it
- Next, select ‘Download e-PAN/e-PAN XML’ from the dropdown
- On the page that appears, choose the ‘PAN’ option, enter the required details as applicable
- Now, tick the declaration and generate the OTP
- Submit OTP and press ‘Validate’
- Next, click on Download PDF to e-PAN card download

How to check PAN card status?

To check the PAN card update status through UTITSL, follow the below steps:
- Visit
- from the dropdown option, select the Application type
- Enter the ‘Coupon Number’ that is generated while filing the application PAN and click ‘Submit’ to know the status

Where can I find a PAN card form?

An online application form is available either through the portal of Protean (formerly NSDL eGov) ( or the portal of UTITSL (​​​​​​​​).

What is an income tax PAN card?

A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a unique identification number allotted to taxpayers by the Income Tax Department of India in the form of a laminated card called a PAN card.

How to get an Aadhaar PAN link check?

The Aadhaar PAN card link can be checked on the e-filing Portal. Visit the portal and go to the Quick Links. Click ‘Link Aadhaar Status’ under the quick links. Enter your PAN and Aadhaar Number, and click ‘View Link Aadhaar Status’. You will get an instant message regarding your Link Aadhaar Status.

Jan 23, 2024
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