The Indian PAN Card or Permanent Account Number issued by the Indian income tax department, has in the last few years let to some confusion amongst NRI’s residing abroad, in particular those NRI’s who have acquired foreign citizenship.
They wonder whether they must get a PAN card, whether they need to produce a PAN card when shopping for goods and services during their visits to India.
To lay such concerns to rest, it is not mandatory for former Indian citizens to get a PAN Card.
Former Indian citizens, who have acquired foreign citizenship and now reside abroad, can continue visit India and go enjoy their visit to India without the required of having PAN Card.
Where a PAN is required, Non-Residents are exempt from providing it and can in lieu of a PAN simply fill in a Form. The form for exemption of PAN is called FORM 60.
Myths about PAN CARD (Permanent Account Number)
• Pan Card is a scheme of the Indian government to keep track of and tax all their citizens. This is not true. Pan card is NOT a scheme by the Indian government to keep an eye on citizens. It is just an identification number like your 'Social Security Number' in the United States or 'Social Insurance Number' in Canada.
• While the social security/numbers in USA & Canada do not have photographs. The Indian PAN number is much more advanced and in fact an excellent form of photo ID.
• There seems to be a misconception amongst some that once you get a PAN card you must file a tax return every year in India.
• This is not true. Tax filing is required if you have taxable income in India.
• Those who have taxable income in India need to file a tax anyway. Not having a 'PAN' card number does not mean the person can avoid filling tax.
• NRIs holding bank accounts in India, already pay tax in the form of TDS that is deducted by banks from your bank accounts. No tax returns need to be filed for this type of income.
However in many cases it may be advantageous for some NRIs to file a tax return and claim part or most of the tax that is deducted from your Indian bank accounts.
NRI’s who visit India often, may find having a PAN card quite beneficial. It is an acceptable form of photo ID all over India and these days, a photo ID is required quite often. Having a PAN card does help.