Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten-digit alphanumeric number, issued in the form of a laminated tamper proof card, by the Income Tax Department of India.
While many of us have memorized our Permanent Account Numbers (PAN), not many know how to decode the pattern behind the 10-digit alphanumeric number. The number is nothing but a code containing some vital information about the PAN cardholder.
The income tax department, which issues PAN cards through UTI and NSDL, has adopted a methodology in the naming of the PAN. Unlike your mobile number, PAN is not generated randomly by a computer.
The Permanent Account Number (PAN) is unique to an individual or entity and it is valid across India. Permanent Account Number once allotted to an individual or entity is unaffected by a change of name, address within or across states in India or other factors.
Every PAN contains 10 digits in a fixed combination of both alphabets and letters.
The first 5 characters are always alphabets, followed by 4 numeric digits and ending again with an alphabet.
If your PAN contains the letter ‘O’ or the numeric ‘0’ (zero), then it is common to get confused between the two. Knowing the pattern of laying out of number and digits will solve your confusion.
Out of the first five characters, the first three characters represent the alphabetic series running from AAA to ZZZ.
The fourth character of PAN card tells who are you in the eyes of the income tax department. For all individual taxpayers, the fourth letter is also “P”.
“P” stands for Individual
“C” stands for Company
“H” stands for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)
“A” stands for Association of Persons (AOP)
“B” stands for Body of Individuals (BOI)
“G” stands for Government Agency
“J” stands for Artificial Juridical Person
“L” stands for Local Authority
“F” stands for Firm/ Limited Liability Partnership
“T” stands for Trust
The fifth character of your PAN tells the first character of your surname. For example, if your last name or surname is Singh then the fifth character would be “S”. In case of non-individual PAN card holders, the fifth character represents the first character of PAN holder’s name.
The next four characters are sequential numbers running from 0001 to 9999.
The last character of your PAN is always an alphabet.
Understanding the logic behind the sequencing in PAN characters can also help you memorize your PAN number easily.