If you are a Non Resident Indian (NRI) it is not necessary to have a PAN Card, if you do not file income tax returns. What this means is that if you do not have taxable income in India you need not necessarily have a PAN Card. But, without having one, you may not be able to open accounts and transact with ease in a number of places. Here is where a PAN Card becomes necessary in India.
1) NRIs need PAN card when buying and selling shares
To buy and sell shares in India NRIs need to open a trading account and a Portfolio Investment Scheme. These cannot be opened by a broker without valid documents one of which is a PAN Card. This means without a PAN card NRIs cannot buy and sell shares in India.
Like shares when NRIs buy and sell mutual fund units in India, they would need a PAN Card. So, you need to apply for one, if you want to invest in mutual fund units.
3) NRIs need PAN Card while Buying property in India
NRIs would also need a PAN card when buying a property in India, just like domestic resident Indians.
It's important that even if you do not have taxable income in India, you apply for a PAN card, because it also serves as an important document for identity.
Not too difficult to apply for a PAN Card
It's not too difficult for NRIs to apply for a PAN card. Please click here for all the guidelines
It's important that NRIs apply for a PAN Card. Someday, if you decide to settle in India, you would need the same. In fact, it's also possible that at some stage you would have crossed the threshold limit of Rs 2.5 lakhs required to file for Income Tax. At that point in time you will certainly require a PAN card, without which you cannot file income tax returns.