Can an individual hold two PAN cards? What are the penalties?

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Permanent Account Number or more commonly referred as PAN No. is a alphanumeric number in 10-digits. PAN no. qualifies as a photo-identification card and is in fact mandated for every transaction with the Income Tax Department.

PAN No. is also required for opening accounts with bank, purchasing luxury items, foreign travel, dealing in securities and several other transactions of financial nature.

Can an individual hold two PAN cards? What are the penalties
The holding of over one PAN card by individuals is illegitimate and government requires such individuals/HUFs/non-individual assessees to surrender any duplicate PAN. In case, the assessees fail in this regard, government could send a legal notice and impose a penalty amounting to Rs. 10,000.

There are instances where an individual could unintentionally apply for new PAN card:

1. In case of change of address:

The change in address of the individual does not requires applying for a second PAN. In fact, PAN or permanent account number is a permanent identification number that is valid all across India. Only the change of correspondence address has to be intimated to the authority concerned. While, intimating the applicant needs to also furnish the proof of address.

2. In case of inadvertent issue of more than one PAN:

If an individual is inadvertently issued over one PAN card. One can visit http://incometax.sparshindia.com/pan/newPAN.asp, an income tax site, and furnish information regarding additional Permanent Account Numbers that are to be surrendered.

If an assessee wants to surrender additional PAN through offline mode, one can write an application bearing subject as ' change in PAN data' to the NSDL TIN facilitation centers or UTI PAN Centers. Details of additional PAN number have to be mentioned in the last row of the form.

The application for surrendering additional PAN could also be addressed to one's jurisdictional Assessing Officer. In the application you need to specify your name, contact details, PAN card details to be retained and details of the PAN card that has to be surrendered. The receipt or acknowledgment of the application should be retained as that serves as the proof of surrender of duplicate PAN.

Why you should surrender duplicate PAN Card?

It is important that you should surrender your duplicate PAN Card. In fact, the authorities have even asked individuals to hand-over their TAN as well.

One is that by surrendering, you do the authorities a favour. Let us given an example. Suppose that you have an interest income of Rs 4 lakhs. You can show them under two PANs and end up not paying any tax. This is incorrect and inappropriate. You must therefore surrender and cooperate with the authorities.

You would be doing yourself a big favour. Of course, if you have received the PAN Card unintentionally or by mistake, it is a different matter altogether.

Remember, not surrendering your PAN Card is a serious offense and can also lead to fines as applicable.

How to return additional PAN cards

If you have more than one PAN should immediately surrender the additional or the duplicate PAN. Otherwise, you need to pay penalties. You can surrender PAN card manually or online.

Online surrender
You can surrender your PAN online by logging on to the official website Income Tax Department. The applicant needs to fill basic details such as name, contact number, date of birth, father's name and address, etc.

You have to mention the PAN card number also. After submission of the application, the applicant will receive an acknowledgment. This receipt can be used as proof of surrendering the additional PAN.

Manual surrender
If you have two PAN cards, you can surrender one PAN card by filling the Change Request application form. The applicant should mention the PAN and all details which he or she wish to retain, and which they need to surrender. A copy of such PANs should be submitted along with the form to cancel them. The form can then be submitted to the assessing officer of the jurisdiction an individual falls in.

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