Don't have a PAN card yet? Here's how you can apply for e-PAN online

A PAN card is accepted as a valid proof of identity anywhere in the country
Don’t have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card yet? Now, you can apply for an instant Electronic PAN or e-PAN which is a digitally-signed card issued by the Income Tax Department using the Aadhaar-based e-KYC process. 

 
However, those who already have a PAN card cannot apply for an e-PAN. On the other hand, there is no information available on how those who've lost or damaged their PAN cards can apply for an e-PAN or is it most likely that they may have to resort to offline rectification process.

The I-T department recently launched on its e-filing website, incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in, to help taxpayers generate a 10-digit alphanumeric permanent account number on the basis of your Aadhaar card.  The website is a new online facility that helps you get an instant e-PAN on the real-time basis and that too free of cost. Currently, the fee for offline PAN application is Rs 110.

The service, which began on June 29, is available for a limited period on the first-come-first-serve basis as the beta version of this facility is being examined and full-scale production version would be launched at a later date, said the IT department on its website. Hence, to receive an e-PAN card, you must have a valid Aadhaar card, because your e-PAN will be generated using the particulars available on your Aadhaar database. It is also essential to cross-check the Aadhaar details before applying for an e-PAN.

E-PAN service is available only to resident Indians, and not to business entities, firms, trusts, Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs) and companies. The facility is also not valid for those who come under Section 160 of the Income Tax Act, such as non-resident Indians or foreign nationals.

How to apply for e-PAN?

To apply for e-PAN, you need to have an Aadhaar card with an updated and linked mobile number on which a one-time password or OTP will be sent to conduct the e-KYC process for verification. Once the Aadhaar e-KYC, or Know your Customer, is successful using OTP, the process for e-PAN application will commence.

Before applying, check your Aadhaar details and update them, if required, on the UIDAI website as in case of any data mismatch, your application can be rejected.

Firstly, log on to the e-Filing portal of the I-T department -- incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in

On the portal, you will find the link 'Instant e-PAN', which will redirect you to a page laying down all necessary guidelines similar to Aadhaar data. Once you enter all the details and they match those on your Aadhaar card, the process for e-PAN will be initiated.

You will now need to attach the scanned copy of your signature and a photograph and the electronic application will be complete. You will receive a 15-digit acknowledgement number on your email address or mobile number mentioned on the application form. 

Once the e-PAN has been allotted, you will receive an alert by SMS or email, after which you can download e-PAN from the I-T department website. For that, you have to click on the 'Instant e-PAN' link and then click on 'Check Instant e-PAN Status'. Here, you have to validate by entering the acknowledgement number sent to your mobile or e-mail.

How long before you get your e-PAN? 

 
The e-PAN will be allotted to the applicant through SMS and email, it will be issued in the shortest possible time. Acknowledgement can be downloaded through e-filing portal by providing the acknowledgment number and the OTP.

Why do I need a PAN?

Whether you’re opening a bank account, buying a home or a car, investing in the stock market or converting your rupees to foreign currency, a PAN card is what you will need for verification and proof. Most importantly, a PAN card is accepted as a valid proof of identity anywhere in the country.

A PAN card enables the I-T department to identify, track and trace all the financial transactions of a taxpayer, such as payment, returns and specified transactions where PAN has to be mentioned. 

A PAN enables taxpayers to carry on several financial transactions and file income tax returns if their earnings are taxable.

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