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Permanent Account Number (PAN) for an NRI and a PIO

If you are a Non Resident Indian (NRI) or a Person of Indian Origin (PIO), you would definitely be faced by this question: Do I need a PAN card? Can I transact in the stock market / shares without a Permanent Account Number? Can I buy or sell property without a PAN card? How do I get a PAN card, where do I apply? What is the procedure? Here are your answers!

Most Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are confused about the PAN card.

If you are an NRI or a PIO, I am sure even you would be in a dilemma. Do you need a PAN card? If yes, for which type of transactions? What is the process to get a PAN card? Can you apply from a foreign country? Can you get a PAN Card without going to India?

 

Necessity of PAN card for NRI / PIO

Equity / Share Market Trading

Effective 1st January 2007, all Non Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) need a PAN card to invest in the Indian stock markets. (Foreign investors would also need a PAN).

So, if you are an NRI / PIO, and want to invest in the Indian capital market, you would need a Permanent Account Number / PAN card.

Earlier, there was a facility available to NRIs / PIOs to open a “Limited Purpose Beneficiary Owner Account” without a PAN. This facility is not available any more.

Opening Demat Account

A PAN is mandatory for opening a demat account with any depository in India.

Filing Income Tax Returns

A PAN number is mandatory for filing income tax returns. Thus, if you file your IT return in India (to claim a refund on tax deducted at source – TDS – or otherwise), you would need a PAN number.

Property Transactions

For resident Indians, a Permanent Account Number (PAN) is mandatory for entering into property transactions having a value over Rs. 5 Lakhs. (As per Rule 114B(a))

This condition has been waived for NRIs and PIOs (as per Rule 114C). Thus, it is not mandatory for an NRI / PIO to have a PAN for entering into a property transaction.

Although it is not mandatory, I would suggest that you still get a PAN due to a host of other reasons that I have discussed here. It is better to get it now instead of trying to get it at the last minute when it becomes a necessity for you – for example, while filing an IT return to claim a refund of some TDS.

Also, please note that PAN is mandatory if you want to repatriate the sale proceeds of the property out of India.

 

Process for obtaining a PAN card

Two agencies have been appointed by the Department of Income Tax (DIT) for issuing a Permanent Account Number and the PAN Card:

  • Unit Trust of India Investor Services Ltd (UTIISL)
  • National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL)

The PAN and PAN Card can be obtained by submitting an application to either of these two agencies.

Application for a new PAN has to be made using “Application Form 49A – Application for Allotment of Permanent Account Number (PAN)“.

You can download the free PAN application form here:

  • Login Required PAN Card Application Form 49A – NSDL (File size: 128 KB)
  • Login Required PAN Card Application Form 49A – UTI ISL (File size: Large file – 5.2MB)

 

Things to remember while filling the PAN card application form

  • Providing the details of a “Representative Assessee” in India is not compulsory
  • The field “Email ID” must be filled in the application form
  • You can provide a foreign address – An Indian address is not mandatory
  • “99″ and “999999″ should be entered in the “State” and “PIN Code” fields respectively if you do not have an address in India
  • The actual foreign ZIP / PIN code should be entered one of the lines of the address field (preferably the last line), along with the name of the country

 

Documents needed for PAN application

You need to submit the following along with your PAN application:

  1. One passport size photograph
  2. Proof of identity (POI)
  3. Proof of address (POA)
  4. Demand Draft (DD) for the application fee and courier charges

Proof of identity (POI) for an NRI

  • Copy of passport

Proof of identity (POI) for a PIO

Any one of the following:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of any other national ID attested by Indian Embassy / Consulate / High
  • Commission Copy of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card issued by Government of India

Proof of address (POA) for an NRI

Any one of the following:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of bank account statement in country of residence
  • Copy of NRE bank account statement

Proof of address (POA) for a PIO

Any one of the following:

  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of any other national ID attested by Indian Embassy / Consulate / High Commission
  • Copy of bank account statement in country of residence duly attested by Indian Embassy / High Commission / Consulate in the country where applicant is located
  • Copy of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card issued by Government of India
  • NRE bank account statement

Bottomline: You can use the copy of your passport as both proof of identity and proof of address.

 

Cost involved in getting a PAN card

The regular application fee for obtaining a PAN card is Rs. 60 plus the service tax.

When you apply as an NRI / PIO from outside India, you would also have to pay applicable courier charges (Approx. Rs. 650) in addition to this fee.

Currently (Aug 2008), the total comes to Rs. 717.

This amount has to be paid through a Demand Draft (DD) drawn in favour of “NSDL – PAN“, and should be payable at Mumbai.

 

Time Frame

The PAN card is usually delivered to your foreign address within two months.

 

Alternate Application Process

NSDL has a provision for applying online for the PAN card. This is allowed for NRIs / PIOs living in one of the 103 countries.

Login Required Download the list of countries from where NRIs / PIOs can make an online application for PAN

Although this can be quite convenient, you need to make sure that all the relevant documents reach NSDL in 15 days. This can be quite impractical, and therefore, the regular process of downloading the form and dispatching it with the documents is a better option.

The online application can be made here: https://tin.tin.nsdl.com/pan/index.html

Once you submit the application online, you would get an acknowledgment containing a unique 15-digit acknowledgment number. Please note this number. Please also print and preserve acknowledgment

You would need to affix a photo to the acknowledgement and sign it. You would need to send this acknowledgement and the demand draft (DD) to:

Income Tax PAN Services Unit
National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL)
1st floor, Times Tower, Kamala Mills Compound
Senapati Bapat Marg
Lower Parel (W)
Mumbai – 400013
Maharashtra
India

Please remember to write your acknowledgement number behind the DD. Please also superscribe the envelope with ‘Application for PAN’ followed by your acknowledgment number. (For example, “Application for PAN – 881010100000097”).

If you do not want to apply online, you can download the free PAN application form here:

  • Login Required PAN Card Application Form 49A – NSDL (File size: 128 KB)
  • Login Required PAN Card Application Form 49A – UTI ISL (File size: Large file – 5.2MB)

 

More Information

For more information, you can write to:

  • NSDL: tininfo@nsdl.co.in
  • UTIISL: utiisl-gsd@mail.utiisl.co.in

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