When opening a bank account, having a PAN card is essential. Although, by law, you can get away without one by giving details in Form 60, the bank employees would usually turn you down from opening an account if you don’t have your Permanent Account Number. Besides, in filing for taxes, you would need your 10-digit alpha-numeric identification.
Even though PAN card isn’t a proof of Indian citizenship (it is also offered to foreign nationals under the Indian Income Tax Act 1961), the 10 digits foretell a lot about the account holder in a unique way. For instance, the fourth digit tells the status of the holder with initials relevant words: Person, Company, Trust, Government, and more. The fifth digit is the first alphabet of the holder’s surname. So, when you’re asked to show your PAN card anywhere, your Permanent Account Number can tell a lot to anyone who’s asking for it.
Now, coming to how can you can apply for PAN card, it’s fairly simple.
· You can apply for PAN card online. Visit NSD L website and fill Form 49AA. Provide all the details correct to the best of your ability. After submission, you will be asked to pay a sum of Rs 110. You can pay using your Debit/Card, Net Banking credential or Demand Draft. After successful completion of the process, you will see an acknowledgment number. Now, you will be asked to send supporting documents through courier/post to NSDL address. Check this for a list of valid documents. After they receive your documents and verify your application, they will create and courier your PAN card.
· You can apply even offline, which funnily looks much easier because there’s no need to courier your supporting documents. Just go here and find a PAN center near you. You can go there and collect the form, or you can print one from online. Once you have filled the form, you can submit it at the center to the officer. She/he will see your supporting documents to verify the details. If everything is fine, you will be asked to pay a sum. Although this amount is usually Rs 110, you might be asked to pay slightly higher, like Rs 150. You can object to such demands, in which case you risk delaying your application process. Or you can give in the officer’s demand, and you will have your PAN card delivered at home in as less as 30 days. Your call!
In case, if you have to change details on the existing PAN card, you can follow the same online and offline procedure. Go here to fill the PAN change request form online.
Once you have your PAN card with you, aside from opening bank accounts, you can use it to avail plenty more benefits and utilities. For instance, across the country, your Permanent Account Number is accepted as the “Proof of Identity”, which is required in making other documents, like Passport and Aadhar Card. With the help of your PAN card, you can get into large transactions without worrying a lot about authorities. It is also required to open Demat account and partake in the stock market, mutual funds and FOREX. And then, of course, PAN card is necessary to file income tax returns.
So, in short, Permanent Account Number is very important—just as much as Aadhaar. So, if you don’t already have it, it’s important you apply for one today.