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What are the benefits to me of having a PAN card?

There is no law which says you have to have a PAN card, but understanding when and where it is used means that in practical terms, you’re not really going to live legally in India without one. The law changed in 2005 to make showing your PAN card a legal requirement when you carry out financial transactions like any of the following:

  1. Open an account in a bank in India, whether with an Indian or overseas bank
  2. Selling or buying any property in India for more than 500,000 rupees ($7800 US or £5500)
  3. Taking out a contract for a new mobile phone, or having a landline phone installed at home or in the office
  4. Depositing 50,000 rupees or more into an Indian bank account
  5. Selling or buying any type of motor vehicle
  6. Paying a bill in a hotel or restaurant which comes to 25,000 rupees or more (£275 or $385)
  7. Paying for flights out of India worth 25,000 rupees or more

The Indian government introduced PAN cards as a way of tackling problems caused by fraud and tax evasion, and that makes living and working without one in India almost impossible. Even Indians who live overseas and have property or bank accounts in India will require a PAN number to manage these legally.