PAN Card or Permanent Account Number is a MUST for both a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and a Non-Resident organization in case they receive income and need to file income tax return in India. Indian Income Tax Authority keeps a track and consolidates financial transactions through PAN and it is regarded as a Tax Registration Number in India. Legislation has accordingly mandated to quote PAN at several financial transactions. As a practice, requirement of PAN is also considered mandatory in non-financial activities such as opening a Bank Account or becoming a “Director” (getting Director Identification Number) in a company registered in India.
Now days, it works as an Identity card in India. Similar to an EIN or Social Security Number in USA, a PAN in India is a 10 digit alphanumeric number issued by Income Tax Department. It’s a unique number issued for lifetime. In certain cases, it can also be surrendered or cancelled under a valid reason. Having more than one PAN is not permitted and one can be penalized for having more than 1 PAN.
What makes PAN card a Mandatory requirement?
There are specific transactions which cannot be carried out unless valid Pan is presented. Relevant authorities simply deny such transactions in absence of a PAN. Below are a few examples:
- Opening a Bank Account, getting a Credit Card, apply for a Loan
- Getting a Digital Signature of obtaining a Director Identification Number (for being appointed as a Director in Indian Companies).
- Insurance Payment, Other Financial transactions > INR 50,000
- Transaction in Property, Vehicles >INR 500,000
- Investment in Shares, Mutual Fund
- Utility connections (Telephone, Electricity, Gas etc)
- Domestic registrations such as Service Tax, Value Added Tax, Import Export Code
NRIs and Foreign Companies that are doing business in India also need a PAN
Every recipient of income from India needs to furnish PAN. It is also required that in the absence of PAN, the tax withholding rate will be higher (20%) even if a lower rate is prescribed in Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with that particular country. The following are the sample cases in which PAN is required by NRIs and foreign companies doing business in India.
- Carry out financial or investment related transactions
- Employment or rendering of professional services
- Trading in Shares through a Depository or even a Broker
- Invest in Mutual Funds
- Purchase Land (not Trading) or some property in India
- Being appointed as a Director in Indian Companies
- Being appointed as a “Authorised Representative” in a Liaison Office, Branch Office, Project Office