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The article provides information about PAN in India, the economic activities for which PAN is required and the features of the PAN card.

Permanent Account Number (PAN)

Permanent Account Number or PAN is issued by the Income Tax Office of India, to all those who are required to pay income tax in the country. Thus, taxpayers whose income is taxable are issued a Permanent Account Number, which is similar to the Social Security Number issued in United States to citizens and other legal residents. So, PAN in India is nothing, but a national identification number. The main purpose of allotting PAN card is to outline the monetary transactions of individuals and to avert any sort of tax evasion by tax payers.

Apart from keeping a track on the various financial dealings of a person, a PAN is also required for many other important activities. As every individual is assigned a unique, national and permanent number as his/her PAN, the number is required while opening an account, applying for a phone line, receiving salary or other professional fees. Thus, it becomes an authentic document, proving the identity of the individual. The PAN of a person remains the same even if there is residential change of address from one state to another.

Each individual entitled to a Permanent Account Number receives a PAN card, wherein the number is mentioned. The PAN follows the following structure – XXXXX1111X. The first five characters are letters; the next 4 are numerals, and the last character is again a letter. A Permanent Account Number that doesn’t follow this pattern is deemed as invalid. Moreover, the fourth character of the PAN is one of the following, depending on the type of assessee who is allotted the number.
  • C - Company
  • P - Person
  • H - Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)
  • F - Firm
  • A - Association of Persons (AOP)
  • T - AOP (Trust)
  • B - Body of Individuals (BOI)
  • L - Local Authority
  • J - Artificial Juridical Person
  • G - Government
In addition, the fifth character of the PAN is the first character in the surname of the assessee. Though PAN is generally issued to individuals to keep track of the tax payment, it can however also be issued to non-taxpayers in India.

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