PAN short for- Permanent account number is an alpha numeric code issued by the Income Tax Department. It is a 10 digit alpha-numeric combination which is unique for each individual. This number basically helps the income tax department to monitor financial transaction of an individual; it also helps the department to keep a track of the tax paid by the individual. There are two major agencies that provide PAN cards, namely, NSDL and UTIISL. UTI PAN Cards are issued by a government-owned agency i.e. UTIISL, whereas, NSDL PAN cards are issued by NSDL, a private firm.
Before PAN card was introduced there was GIR number assigned to taxpayers which were a manual system. GIR was unique only in that particular ward/circle, and not at the country level, resulting in errors or the chances of miscalculations during tax assessment.
The PAN card in its present form was first introduced in 1972, as a way to overcome these problems. Initially a voluntary process, it was made mandatory for all tax paying individuals in the country in 1976.
The initial PAN number allotments were made manually, and to avoid duplication, each ward/circle received a certain set of numbers. This series was abandoned in the year 1995 due to a host of problems associated with it.
PAN cards are mandatory when opening a bank account, receiving taxable salary or professional fees, while making certain high-value transactions, while buying a property or a car worth over a certain limit, buying or selling shares or mutual funds, applying for a visa/passport, making payment of income tax or filing tax return, and while applying for a bank loan. PAN cards act as an identifier of the person with the tax department and help them to reduce Tax evasion.
Nowadays, one can fill the PAN card application form online. Both UTI PAN Card application and NSDL PAN card application can be completed online. These websites also has the ‘track pan card status’ option to help you track the status of your PAN card.
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