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What is a PAN card?

You must be wondering what is a PAN card number and most likely you are also confused as to whether you need it or not. On first thoughts, a PAN is not a frying pan! If you have been hearing people talking about the importance of ‘PAN’, you should not have been confused.

The PAN stands for Permanent Account Number. It is issued by the Income Tax Department of India. Now to analogously explain it, the PAN is like a permanent mole on your arm. It serves as means to identify you. But the difference here is that the Income Tax Department is only concerned with identifying your transactions through banking circuits.

You can relate the PAN to the SSN (Social Security Number) in the U.S.A. Or another example is the SIN (Social Insurance Number) in Canada. As with the SSN or SIN, the PAN is used in any transaction concerning the nation.

When you apply for and receive the PAN, you receive it in the form of a laminated card. The PAN is an alphanumeric number and is unique. Meaning, there is no another number like this being used anywhere. Now if that’s something that makes you unique, so be it!

Is it compulsory for Non-resident Indians living out of India?

As a non-resident Indian (NRI), if you conduct any financial transactions in India, you need to compulsorily quote your PAN. Without the PAN, it is impossible for you to conduct financial transactions through banks.

If you want to invest in the Indian stock market, you have to use the PAN. Even to open a NRI account, you use this number. The requirement of PAN applies to purchase of immovable assets in India, operate a business, and so on.

What makes it mandatory?

The Tax Department of India has made the furnishing of the PAN in all financial transactions mandatory. You quote the PAN number, when making and receiving payments through a bank account.

The following are a list of a few situations where you would quote the PAN.

  • When you buy or sell immovable property.

  • When you buy or sell a motor vehicle.

  • When you pay more than twenty five thousand rupees to hotels or restaurants, or do such transactions when on travel.

  • When you deposit more than Rs.50,000/- with your bank or your post office account.

  • When you get your new phone connection.

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