PAN (Permanent Account Number) is a 10-digit alphanumeric identity allotted by the Income Tax Department to all judicial entities identifiable under the Income Tax Act, 1961. It is unique to each individual and can be used as a proof of identity. As per the law, one assessee is allowed to possess only one PAN; having more than one PAN in your name is illegal. Yet, a number of individuals possess more than one PAN without giving much attention to the consequences it may lead to. The Income Tax Department is authorised to take legal actions or impose a financial penalty on individuals/entities that possess more than one PAN.
REASONS THAT MIGHT LEAD TO MULTIPLE PANs
While some try to get multiple PANs for committing fraud, in majority of cases, multiple allotments are done by mistake. There can be a number of circumstances under which an individual is allotted two PAN Cards, such as-
- Multiple Applications- There are cases when someone applies for a PAN Card and it doesn’t arrive within the scheduled time and he applies for it again. Now if the previous PAN Card was already made and dispatched and the new application is worked upon as a separate one, then the individual may have two PANs in his name.
- New Application instead of Correction- When someone wants to make corrections in his PAN but instead applies for a new one, then in such cases, he might get two PAN Cards allotted in his name.
- New Application Post Marriage- When women have to change their surname after marriage, they sometimes, apply for a new PAN instead of requesting a correction in their existing PAN which again leads to double PAN for a single individual.
Whatever be the reason, an individual (more accurately an entity) is not allowed to have more than one PAN. It is a punishable offence and will attract penalty or legal action.
HOW POSSESSING MULTIPLE PANs AFFECTS YOUR CREDIT PROFILE?
Let us try to understand this with an example.
An individual applies for a loan with a bank. After checking his PAN and all other documents, the loan is granted to him. He pays all his EMIs on time and maintains a perfect repayment record. After a few years, he approaches the same bank for another loan but this time he submits a different PAN Card which he got from a new application after he lost his previous card. Though he did not intend to cheat the bank, his application was rejected. The bank refused him the loan despite his good track record and good credit score only on grounds of possessing multiple PAN Cards.
Having double PAN in your name has adverse impact on your credit profile. When you apply for a loan, the first thing that the bank checks is your PAN Card. Any discrepancy will result in an outright disapproval of your application. Someone who owns multiple PAN Cards is seen as a potential fraud and both his ability and intention to repay the loan is questioned by the banks. Most of the banks blacklist such applicants. Even if you have a good CIBIL score, such blacklisting will cause huge credit problems for you in future.
The only solution in this case is to surrender your extra PAN Card/s with the Income Tax Department. There are two ways to surrender your PAN Card-
It is very easy to surrender your duplicate PAN Card/s online. Visit the website of Income Tax Department and go to the ‘Surrender Duplicate PAN’ option. You will be asked to enter the details of the PAN you wish to retain and the duplicate
PAN/s you wish to surrender along with other personal details like name, birthdate, etc. Complete this form and submit.
You can also use Form 49A which is used for making changes or corrections in PAN. Mention the details of PAN to be surrendered and submit it at the nearest UTI or NSDL TIN facilitation centre. Save a copy of the acknowledgement.
After submitting the form, write a letter to the Assessing Officer of the area where your Income Tax is filed. Write complete details about your original and duplicate PAN Cards. Be specific about which one you want to retain and which card is to be surrendered. Post the letter to the tax office or handover directly. Also enclose a copy of the PAN to be surrendered and the acknowledgement received when submitting Form 49A.
PAN Cards should also be surrendered in the event of death of the assessee. When a company closes operations, its PAN Card should be surrendered by visiting the NSDL TIN website.
So, in case you have more than one PAN, ensure you surrender one immediately, before it leads you to financial and legal hassle.