Difference Between PAN, TAN and TIN

5 mins read
by Angel One
Lost in tax lingo? PAN, TAN and TIN demystified! Learn their roles, and how they impact you, and navigate taxes with ease. Read on to know more!

In the intricate world of taxes, understanding different identification numbers is crucial for seamless compliance. Among these, PAN, TAN, and TIN stand out as vital tools for both individuals and businesses. While their names might sound similar, their uses and functions diverge significantly. Let’s embark on a journey to decode these terms and empower you to navigate the tax landscape with clarity.

Know the Terms – PAN, TAN and TIN

PAN: Permanent Account Number

A 10-digit alphanumeric code, the PAN serves as a unique identifier for taxpayers in India. It acts as a single window for various activities:

  1. Filing income tax returns
  2. Tracking financial transactions
  3. Claiming tax deductions and refunds
  4. Investing in mutual funds, shares, etc.
  5. Opening bank accounts
  6. Carrying out high-value transactions
  7. Issued by the Income Tax Department, PAN is mandatory for individuals exceeding specific income thresholds, carrying out specific financial activities, or seeking tax benefits.

Know More About PAN Card

TAN: Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number

Another 10-digit alphanumeric code, TAN, is assigned to entities responsible for deducting or collecting tax at source (TDS/TCS). These entities include:

  1. Companies
  2. Government bodies
  3. Local authorities
  4. Banks
  5. Non-banking financial institutions
  6. Individuals acting as employers, etc.

TAN is mandatory for these entities to deduct taxes like income tax, sales tax, etc., while making specified payments. It ensures proper tax remittance and streamlines tax administration.

TIN: Taxpayer Identification Number

Unlike PAN and TAN issued by central authorities, TIN comes under the purview of individual state governments. It operates as an 11-digit numeric code identifying businesses registered for Value Added Tax (VAT).

TIN is required for businesses that:

  1. Exceed a specific turnover threshold
  2. Sell or purchase goods across state borders
  3. Deal in specific taxable goods and services
  4. It facilitates efficient VAT collection and compliance by tracking business transactions within and across states.

What Is PAN?

A PAN holds immense importance for individuals in India. Here’s a deeper dive into its functionalities:

  1. Uniqueness: Each PAN is unique, acting as a single source of identification across various tax and financial activities.
  2. Ease of tracking: Tax authorities can easily track taxpayer activities, income sources, and tax compliance through the PAN.
  3. Compliance tool: It facilitates filing income tax returns, claiming deductions, and receiving refunds seamlessly.
  4. Financial transactions: Many financial institutions require PAN for opening accounts, investing in various instruments, and carrying out high-value transactions.

PAN application is straightforward, involving online or offline submissions with supporting documents. Maintaining PAN accuracy and quoting it correctly in tax returns and financial transactions is vital to avoid penalties and complications.

What Is TAN?

Understanding TAN is crucial for entities responsible for tax deductions and collections. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Mandatory requirement: Entities liable to deduct or collect tax at source must obtain a TAN before commencing their operations.
  2. Compliance: TAN ensures transparent and timely remittance of deducted taxes to the government.
  3. Quoting necessity: Entities must quote their TAN on TDS/TCS returns, challans, and other tax-related documents for proper validation and processing.
  4. Multiple TANs: Entities with multiple branches or departments might require separate TANs for each location.

TAN application usually involves online submissions through authorised agencies like NSDL or UTIITSL. Obtaining and quoting TAN accurately are crucial for entities to fulfil their tax responsibilities and avoid penalties.

What Is TIN?

For businesses involved in VAT-related activities, understanding TIN is essential. Here’s a closer look:

  1. State-specific: TIN is issued by individual state governments and varies depending on the business location.
  2. VAT tracking: It serves as a unique identifier for businesses registered for VAT, enabling efficient tracking of their taxable purchases and sales.
  3. Interstate trade: TIN is mandatory for businesses engaged in interstate trade of goods and services to comply with VAT regulations.
  4. Compliance: Quoting TIN accurately on invoices, returns, and other documents ensures transparency and adherence to VAT rules.

The TIN application process typically involves visiting the respective state’s commercial tax department website or online portals. Maintaining accurate TIN records and quoting them correctly across transactions is crucial for VAT compliance and avoiding potential tax discrepancies.

Differences Between PAN, TAN and TIN

Issuing Agency Income Tax Department Income Tax Department Commercial Tax Department of the State
Code Structure 10-digit alphanumeric code 10-digit alphanumeric code 11 digit code
Purpose Proof of Identity used for financial transactions For deductions and tax collection Track VAT-related actions
Holders Taxpayers, non-tax payers, foreign nationals and entities People who deduct or collect tax under Section 203 A Dealers, exporters, 
Forms to fill Form 49A for Indian citizens,

Form 49AA for foreign nationals

Form 49B Different for each state

Final Words

Understanding PAN, TAN, and TIN empowers individuals and businesses to navigate the tax landscape effortlessly. Each identifier plays a distinct role in ensuring transparency, streamlining compliance, and facilitating accurate tax administration. By knowing their specific functions and applying for them promptly, you can contribute to a robust and efficient tax ecosystem. Remember, accurate records, timely applications, and correct usage of these identifiers are key to a smooth and stress-free financial life.


Who needs a PAN?

A PAN is mandatory for individuals exceeding specific income thresholds, carrying out specific financial activities, or seeking tax benefits. You can find detailed information on the Income Tax Department website.

How do I apply for a PAN?

You can apply for a PAN online or offline. The online process is generally faster and more convenient. Visit the Income Tax Department website for detailed instructions and application forms.

What happens if I don't have a TAN?

Entities responsible for deducting or collecting tax at source (TDS/TCS) without a TAN are liable for penalties. Ensure you obtain a TAN before commencing such activities.

Do I need a TIN if I am a small business?

TIN requirements vary depending on your state and business activities. Check with your state’s commercial tax department for specific regulations and applicability to your case.

What if I forget my PAN/TAN/TIN?

You can retrieve your PAN/TAN/TIN online through the respective issuing authorities’ websites. Remember to keep your credentials secure and readily accessible.