A lot of people keep asking about reliable agents who can help them apply for a PAN card. While I disapprove of taking the help of agents in general, the process of applying for a PAN card is so easy that it is criminal to still go through an agent for the same! So I decided to write this article to show everyone just how easy it actually is to apply for a PAN card yourself without anyone’s help.
A Permanent Account Number, or PAN, is an Indian taxpayer’s unique identity. Every taxpayer, be it an individual or a company, must have a PAN in order to be able to pay their taxes to the Government. And nowadays, it has become mandatory to provide one’s PAN number when applying for or investing in any kind of financial instruments, be it a credit card, personal/home/auto loan, mutual fund, shares, etc. Even when you get a job, your employer will surely ask for your PAN details. All this makes it almost impossible to not have a PAN card.
A PAN card is a plastic card that shows the taxpayer’s name, photo and PAN. Apart from being a reference for your PAN number, it can also be used as a proof of identity while applying for other Government documents, such as a Passport, Ration card, Driving License, etc. PAN cards are issued by NSDL on behalf of the Dept. of Income Tax, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India.
To be eligible for a PAN card, you need to have a valid proof of identity and a proof of address. The list of documents that are accepted as identity and address proof are given on this link.
NOTE: For the purpose of this article, I will assume that the applicant is an individual taxpayer.
To apply for a PAN card, you need to go to the NSDL online PAN application site at https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html and click on “New PAN for Indian Citizens”. Foreign citizens need to click on “New PAN for Foreign Citizens”.
This will open a pop-up page. Click on “Online application for new PAN (Form 49A)”. On the next page, review the instructions for applying and then scroll down to the bottom and choose “Individual” from the applicant category drop-down list.
This brings us to the online Form 49A, which is the application form for allotment of new PAN number. Most of the fields are quite self-explanatory. Below are some important points to remember when filling the application form.
How to fill AO details
To find out Assessing Officer (AO) details (Area Code, AO Type, Range Code & AO Number), click on the appropriate link under “Don’t know AO details?” based on your source of income (Indian/foreign). Indian citizens living and earning income in India must click on link highlighted below (or click here):
This will take you to the AO code search page. Ordinary Indian citizens (non-defence personnel) are covered under Table II. Click on the alphabet corresponding to your city, then on the next page choose your specific city from the list.
Finally, select the appropriate AO from the list. Since the list is rather huge, you can narrow down by following the below steps:
- Type (Ctrl+F) to bring up the browser search form.
- In this, enter your area of residence (e.g. Koramangala) to short-list the entries specific to your area.
- Next, read the description of each entry and identify which is applicable to you based on your income, first letter of your name and/or your office address. The description is self-explanatory although verbose. For more help, refer to this guide.
You can also refer to the following Excel files which have the entire list of AO codes:
- For Mumbai: https://www.tin-nsdl.com/downloads/pan/2017-003-Annexure-%20Mumbai%20PAN%20AO%20code%20Master%20v.%203.8.xlsx
- For rest of India: https://www.tin-nsdl.com/downloads/pan/2016-024%20-%20Annexure%201%20PAN%20AO%20Code%20Master%20version%207.5.xls
1. You can choose to print an abbreviated version of your name on the PAN card, if you so desire. Provide your full name in the “Full name” field, and type your name as you would like it printed on the PAN card in the “Name you would like printed on the card” field.
If you were previously known by another name, provide the same.
2. Provide your residential and office addresses, and choose the desired address for communication. It is preferable to keep the residential address as the communication address, unless you are staying in a rented house and are likely to shift often. If choosing office address for communication, you will need to provide address proof for office address too.
3. Most importantly, please select carefully from the drop-down list the documents you are going to provide as address and identity proofs. Do not make a mistake here, as this cannot be changed after submitting the form. If you have specified your Aadhaar number, you need to provide a copy of Aadhaar card as well.
4. Lastly, choose the method of payment. You can pay by Demand Draft, Cheque or online instantly via Credit Card. Paying by Credit Card is by far the simplest and preferred option. The fees, of course, are quite minimal.
Click here for a detailed list of instructions for filling up the form. Once you have filled in all the fields, click on “Submit”.
On the next page, you will be asked to review the filled-in information, and you can make changes if required. After verifying that everything is correct, you may proceed to choose the mode of payment of fees for PAN application.
If you selected credit card mode of payment in the application form, you will now be transferred to a third-party merchant website, where you need to make the payment towards the fees for the PAN application. If you selected DD or Cheque options, this step will be skipped and the application will be submitted directly.
Once the application is submitted, you will be shown an acknowledgement page, which will have an Acknowledgement Number along with a summary of your details. It will also list the mode of payment and the documents to be submitted as address and identity proof, as chosen by you. You need to take a print-out of this acknowledgement page and affix a recent Passport-size photograph and sign in the box below using a black pen only. Please retain a copy of the acknowledgement page for your reference.
Finally, you need to post the hard copies of the acknowledgement page along with your self-attested address and identity proofs (and DD/Cheque if applicable) to the address given on the acknowledgement page. Please follow the simple instructions at the bottom of the acknowledgement page to ensure that your documents are not misplaced or rejected on technical grounds.
You may send the documents to NSDL via courier, speed post, etc. Note that the documents must reach them within 15 days from the online application.
If you have made the payment via credit card, you should receive your PAN number within one week or so via email. The PAN card will arrive later, in about two weeks. If you chose to pay via Cheque/DD, then the processing of your application will begin only once the Cheque/DD and documents reach NSDL.
Once you submit the documents, you may track the status of your PAN application online via this link.
Changes in PAN card or reprint of card
If you already have a PAN card and have lost it or need to make corrections (e.g. change of name, address, phone number, etc.), you need to select the appropriate option on https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html. DO NOT apply for a fresh PAN number, as this is illegal.
- To update your personal information in PAN database, select “Changes or Correction in PAN details”
- To request for duplicate PAN card due to loss or damage of existing card, select “Reprint of PAN card”
Either way, you will be taken to the same form. On this form, select applicant category as “Individual” to open the actual application form.
On this form, select your citizenship status (Indian/foreign) and enter your PAN number. Note that the remaining fields are all optional. You need to tick the boxes on the left for which you wish to make any changes. For all entries in which there is no change, leave the box unchecked.
If you are just applying for duplicate PAN card, you can leave all boxes unchecked and there is no need to fill any details. Duplicate PAN card will be reissued on basis of existing details, to same correspondence address.
Lastly, as above, select the payment method and submit the form. Review your changes on the next page and proceed for payment and submission of details.
- Understand your PAN card: http://www.livemint.com/Money/bEe3EsIjIqGpWsRcVKcWHP/Oneminute-Guide–Your-PAN-discloses-your-details.html
- PAN card application form: https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html
- Track your PAN application: https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/tan/StatusTrack.html
- List of accepted documents for address and identity proof: https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/Instructions49A.html#instruct_documents
- Instructions for filling online application form: https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/Instructions49A.html#instruct_form49A