Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, which is issued by the Income Tax Department, enables the department to link all transactions of the “person” with itself. The 10-digit alphanumeric number helps the tax department to maintain a record of all the financial transactions of a tax payer. It is imperative to link the PAN card with all your bank accounts. Income tax  returns cannot be filed without a PAN card. As the new financial year – 2018-19 – has just started, it might be significant for you to apply for and link all your financial transactions with your PAN card.

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Here are five key things that you must know about PAN card:
1. PAN was introduced to facilitate linking of various documents, including payment of taxes, assessment, tax demand, tax arrears etc. relating to an assessee, to facilitate easy retrieval of information and to facilitate matching of information relating to investment, raising of loans and other business activities of taxpayers collected through various sources, both internal as well as external, for detecting and combating tax evasion and widening of tax base, said the income tax department.

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2. It is mandatory to quote PAN on return of income and all correspondence with any income tax authority. From 1 January 2005 it has become mandatory to quote PAN on challans for any payments due to Income Tax Department, according to incometaxindia.gov.in.

3. A typical PAN looks like this: AFZPK7190K.

4. By using the Online PAN Verification facility, one can know/verify the PAN. This facility is referred to as “PAN Verification” or “Know Your PAN”.

5. Income-tax department has an electronic portal for lodging PAN grievances through Aayakar Sampark Kendra.

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How to apply for PAN card:
Application for fresh allotment of PAN can be made online, said the income tax department. Requests for changes or correction in PAN data or request for reprint of PAN card (for an existing PAN) may also be made online.

Online application can be made either through the portal of NSDL ( https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html) or portal of UTITSL (https://www.utiitsl.com/UTIITSL_SITE/pan/index.html), mentioned incometaxindia.gov.in, the website of income tax department.  UTI Infrastructure Technology And Services Limited (UTIITSL) is a government-owned company that provides technology and outsourcing services to the financial and government sectors of India. NSDL is the largest depository in the country.

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The charge for applying for PAN is Rs. 93 (excluding Goods and Services tax) for an Indian communication address and Rs 864 (excluding Goods and Services tax) for a foreign communication address. Payment of application fee can be made through credit/debit card, demand draft or net-banking.

Once the application and payment is accepted, the applicant is required to send supporting documents through courier/post to NSDL/UTITSL. Only after the receipt of the documents will the PAN application be processed by NSDL/UTITSL.

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Application for PAN can be submitted at the PAN Application centres also – NSDL and UTITSL.