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Saturday, October 2, 2010

What is Permanent Account Number (PAN) and How can Non Resident Indians (NRIs) obtain a PAN Number?

PAN stands for Permanent Account Number. A PAN card is a card that every tax paying Indian is required to have. It consists of a PAN number that is given by the Income Tax Department. The PAN card has been recently made required to do things like opening a bank account, traveling out of the country, and stock trading. The IT Department has created it as a proof of identification and to keep track of everyone paying taxes. It is very similar to a Social Security Card in the U.S. Sometimes, people have claimed to have gotten two PAN cards. If something like this was to happen, you should keep one and give the other attached to a letter and send it to the jurisdiction assessing officer. 

Why a PAN card necessary in India?
A PAN is necessary in most of the transactions today. Some examples would be Opening a demat or bank account, putting a lot of money in your bank, investing in the stock markets, buying or selling a car, buying or selling property, getting a new land line telephone, and an abundance of other financial things including filing for an income tax return. 

What are the Benefits of holding a permanent account number?
First, a PAN card serves a good source of proof of your identity. Your PAN number is yours and no one else's. You can use it when you purchase things on the internet, such as traveling tickets. Second, you can use this number to check online if the taxes you have paid are updated or not. The Income Tax Department has provided a database for this purpose. Third, you can use this number to see if your employer or school has reported the taxes you paid to the Income Tax Department. Also, if you are looking to file Income Tax Return, then you need to have a PAN, but you must also have had a taxable income or have paid taxes to your employer. If there are other ways that you have paid taxes then you can file too. Things such as game shows or the lottery are included. 

How can Non Resident Indians -- NRIs obtain a PAN?
Non Resident Indians can apply via our online application by going to any of the following websites: 

Govt Websites: 

Private brokers:

NRIs & PIOs can go on and download it for free and then send it to the respective PAN centers in India along with some additional information specified on the website. Once the documents are processed the IT Department assigns you a PAN. It usually takes about 20 to 25 days to receive a PAN Card at a foreign address. 

Other cases related to PAN.!
There is assigned one PAN for each person. If someone has more than one, they must give up the extras. It is against the law to hold more than one PAN card.

Even if you receive your PAN from one address, you can file for Income Tax Return at a different location if there is a case of an address change.

If there is any changes in details that you need to make on you PAN application, you should go and submit another one. Keeping your information updated will also keep it up to date in the database of the IT Department. 

Bio: Aditya Sharma (Sr.Investment Advisor), He had done MBA in finance & marketing and now working with a NRI Investment company ( that helps NRIs, PIOs and OCIs to invest in India's top mutual funds. He writes on investment/finance related issues and love to do Online trading in Indian stocks/shares.

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