Know the Complete Difference Between PAN, TAN, TIN

PAN, TAN, TIN- are all documents that serve different purposes. A PAN stands for Permanent Account Number, TAN stands for Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number and TIN is Taxpayer Identification Number.

PAN, TAN and TIN are important documents required to be submitted for a major number of purposes like filing income tax returns, deducting or collecting tax or for trading, etc.. In case, one fails to apply for PAN, TAN or TIN or fails to comply with the card-based provisions, he/she then becomes liable to pay a penalty.

Further, these similar-looking documents – PAN, TAN, TIN should be clearly quoted wherever they are required. Besides, it is important to understand that they can’t be used in place of each other.

In this blog, we will share detailed information about PAN, TAN, TIN and the comparative difference between them.

What is a TIN or Tax Identification Number?

Unlike PAN, TAN card, TIN is an 11 digit unique number issued by the Commercial Tax Department of the respective Indian states. It can be further explained as-

  • An identification number issued to businesses to track their transactions
  • A document which is required by all the businesses that are registered under VAT
  • TIN is applied wherever the selling of goods or services within a state or between two or more states happens
  • It is the modern way to collect, process, monitor and account direct taxes
  • TIN is important to quote for all the VAT transactions

Who Requires a TIN?

Following is the list of people who require a TIN-

  • Traders
  • Exporters
  • Dealers
  • Manufactures

What are the Documents Required for a TIN?

The given below documents might vary from state to state-

  • Address proof
  • ID proof
  • PAN card
  • 6 passport size photographs
  • Address proof of the business premises
  • Purchase invoice, copy of GR & Payment/LR, collection proof with bank statement

Once all the documents are submitted and verified, an 11-digit acknowledgement number is generated for the applicant. The number can be further used to track the TIN status.

NOTE- It is advised to connect with the TIN official to get better clarity over the list of documents to be submitted.

What is TAN or Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number?


TAN or Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number is a 10-digit alphanumeric number. It is provided to the people who deduct or collect tax under Section 203A of the Indian Income Tax Act 1961.

TAN can further be understood by the following pointers-

  • TAN is important for TDS returns, payments and challans
  • Anyone who fails to apply for a TAN card will be liable to pay a tax of Rs. 10,000
  • Once the TAN is obtained, it is important to file TDS quarterly by the businesses

Who Requires a TAN Number?

A TAN number is required by the following-

  • Central/State Government/Local Authorities
  • Company
  • Branch/Division of a Company
  • Individual business’s branches
  • Firm /Association of Persons/Trusts
  • Individual/HUFs

How to Apply for a TAN?

An applicant can apply for a TAN online and offline. When applying online, an applicant needs to log in to the official NSDL website and fill the form accordingly. After the submission of the application, a 14-digit acknowledgement number will be generated for the applicant. The acknowledgement number along with the supporting documents and a fee has to be sent to the NSDL office. When applying for a TAN offline, an applicant needs to visit the NSDL centre and submit the TAN application form, all the required documents and a fee.

Note- An applicant cannot apply for another TAN card as it is illegal to hold 2 TAN cards.

What is a PAN Card?


PAN or Permanent Account Number is a 10-digit alphanumeric number issued to all the taxpayers and non-taxpayers of the country. It is also issued to foreigners and foreign entities under some guidelines. A PAN can be further elaborated as-

  • PAN is important for all the financial transactions
  • It acts as an identity proof of the individual
  • It is used for income tax purposes
  • A PAN is also used for selling or buying property, cars, or other similar assets

Who Should Apply for a PAN Card?

The following can apply for a PAN card-

  • Individuals with a taxable income
  • Foreign nationals
  • Foreign entities
  • Students, non-taxpayers

How to Apply for a PAN Card?

A PAN card can be obtained either by visiting the official website of NSDL or UTIITSL. Both the websites offer two PAN application forms. Form 49A, which is for Indian Citizens whereas Form 49AA is for foreign nationals. An applicant can also apply for a PAN card offline. He/she is required to fill the form by logging into the official website of NSDL and follow the instructions given there.

What are the Documents Required for a PAN Card?

A list of documents are required when applying for a PAN card-

Proof of AddressProof of Identity
Driving LicensePassport
Post office passbookPhoto ID Card
PassportVoter ID card
Voter ID cardRation Card
Property Tax assessment orderDriving License
Domicile certificateBank certificate
Letter of allotment issued by the state or central governmentGovernment Health Scheme Card, Pensioner Card, Arm’s License, Central
Bank account statement, Landline bill, water bill, gas connection card, credit card statement, electricity bill (not over 3 months)Certificate of Identity (Signed by Member of Parliament/Municipal Councilor/Member of Legislative Assembly

A Detailed Comparison Between PAN, TAN, TIN

Issuing AgencyIncome Tax DepartmentIncome Tax DepartmentCommercial Tax Department of Respective State
Code10-digit Alphanumeric number10-digit Alphanumeric number11-digit code
PurposeUsed for financial transactionsActs as a proof of identityUsed for buying/selling or property, car etcUsed for deduction and collection of TaxTrack VAT-related activities
Who should have itTaxpayers/ Non-TaxpayersForeign nationalsForeign EntitiesPeople who deduct or collects tax under section 203 ADealers, exporters, traders
LawsSection 139A of the Income Tax Act of 1961Section 203A of the Income Tax Act of 1961Different States have Different Laws
PenaltyRs. 10,000Rs. 10,000Penalty differs as per the states
Forms to fillForm 49A for Indian CitizensForm 49AA for Foreign NationalsForm 49BForms vary as per the States
Number of Cards111

Is it true that TIN is also called a VAT number?
Yes, a TIN number is also called a VAT number when used for intra-state transactions.
Can I hold 2 TAN cards?
It is illegal to hold 2 TAN cards for a single applicant.
What is the procedure to apply for a TIN number?
A TIN application procedure varies from state to state.
How to apply for a PAN online?
Log in to the official website of NSDL or UTIITSL to apply for a PAN online.
How to apply for a TAN online?
Visit the official website of NSDL and follow the instructions to apply for a TAN online.
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