The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), in a circular dated 22 July 2016, has said that a new permanent account number (PAN) card can be applied for online, using an application form that can be e-signed using the Aadhaar linked e-signature. For individual PAN applicants, the entire process is managed by PAN service providers: National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) and UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Ltd (UTIITSL).
According to the board, “introduction of Aadhaar based e-signature in PAN application not only ensures paperless hassle-free PAN application process, but also seeding of Aadhaar in PAN, which will curb the problem of duplicate PAN to a great extent." Here is why having a PAN is a must, and how to get it online.
THE NEED FOR A PAN
In its endeavor to check black money transactions, government has expanded the list of transactions (and decreased the limit on many existing ones) for which a PAN is mandatory. Effective 1 January 2016, PAN has to be quoted for all transactions above 2 lakh. This applies to sale and purchase of all goods and services, regardless of the mode of payment.
PAN is now used for almost all the financial-sector transactions like investing in mutual funds and shares. The government has also made it mandatory for various other things like the purchase of cash cards and prepaid cards amounting to 50,000 or more in year. For purchasing gold jewellery above 2 lakh too, you need to furnish PAN details. Earlier you had to furnish PAN details only if the gold purchase was above 5 lakh.
This move will also help the government to widen the tax base, which will result in higher tax collection.
ONLINE PAN APPLICATION
Along with making PAN mandatory for many more transactions, the government has also made it easy to get one by enabling the online application process. These online application can be made either through the portal of NSDL (http://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html) or the portal of UTIITSL (http://www.myutiitsl.com/PANONLINE/).
Last September a digital signature certificate-based PAN application form (Form 49A) for individuals was enabled on these websites. Now, the application form has also been enabled with the Aadhaar based e-signature. Aadhaar can also be used as a proof of identity, address and date of birth, which are required to get a PAN. After filling up the online application form, an individual has to upload the scanned image of her photograph and the Aadhaar card, as per the specifications on the website.
The application fee is 107, including service tax, for persons residing in India and 994 for those with overseas addresses. It can be paid through credit cards, debit cards or Net banking. All these forms of payment attract a small charge, above the fee payable.
At present, the facility for dispatch of PAN cards outside India is available for a select list of countries. Applicants from other countries may contact the service provider before applying.