New Delhi: The Income Tax Department issued 1.96 crore new PAN cards during the quarter ended March 2018, taking the total number to over 37.9 crore, according to official data released on Tuesday. Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a 10-digit alphanumeric identifier, issued by the department to each assessee — individual, firm, and company.

It is required for paying tax and filing returns.

The government is looking to widen the tax base by increasing the number of PAN allotments. Income tax data revealed there were about 35.94 crore PAN alloted by the end of December 2017. The number rose to 37.9 crore at the end of March 2018.

The maximum number of PAN have been to issued individuals (97.46%), followed by firms (1.08%) and the Hindu Undivided Family (0.51%). The other allottees include associate of persons; body of individuals; company; government; artificial juridical person; local authority and trust.