Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten-digit alpha numeric number, issued in the form of a laminated card, by the Income Tax Department, to any "person" who Applies for it or to whom the department allots the number without an application. PAN enables the department to link all transactions of the "person" with the Department. These transactions include tax payments, TDS/TCS credits, returns of Income/wealth/gift/FBT, specified transactions, correspondence, and so on.
PAN, thus, acts as an identifier for the "person" with the tax department. PAN was introduced to facilitates linking of various documents, including payment of taxes, assessment, tax demand, tax arrears etc. relating to an assesses, to facilitate easy retrieval of information and to facilitate matching of information relating to investment, raising of loans and other business activities of taxpayers collected through various sources, both internal as well as external, for detecting and combating tax evasion and widening of tax base.