Understanding the 10 Digits on a PAN Card

pan card digits

Anyone who is ever going to file his or her income tax return in India or will engage in any type of financial transaction will be required by the transacting agency, office, or organization to show his or her Permanent Account Number (PAN). This important piece of document no larger than an ordinary credit card is so vital because it serves two very important purposes. First it serves to identify you and second, it serves to link your taxpayer status to all the information present in the database of the Income Tax Department. It contains a variety of information but there is one very significant piece of information that many folks simply have difficulty deciphering: the ten digits on the PAN Card. Here’s how to decipher it.

pan card picture

General String

The Permanent Account Number is a collection of 10 letters and numbers that are arranged in such a way that certain groupings or clustering of letters and numbers provide invaluable information and validation to the other pieces of information printed on your PAN Card as well as those on the ITD database. Generally, the 10-character string of information follows the pattern “ABCDE0123X” where the first 5 characters are letters of the alphabet followed by 4 numbers and ending with another letter.

The First 3 Letters

The first cluster of letters doesn’t really mean anything except that they are generated by a system at the ITD. The 3-letter combinations will play a major role in the calculation of the letter value for the last character in the string.

The 4th Letter

This is one of the most important ‘letters’ in the PAN string as it denotes your type or classification of taxpayer. Here is a rundown of the different letter codes you can expect from the 4th letter of the PAN.

  • A – Association of Persons (AOP)
  • B – Body of Individuals (BOI)
  • C – Companies
  • F – Firms
  • G – Undivided Hindu Families (UHF)
  • J – Artificial Judicial Persons (AJP)
  • L – Local authorities (LA)
  • P – Individual
  • T – Association of Persons for a Trust (APT)

The 5th Letter

This represents the first letter of the family name or surname of the cardholder. If it’s a company or a firm, then the first letter of the registered name is also what is printed as the 5th element in the 10-element PAN.

The 6th to 9th Numbers

This is almost equivalent to the first 3 letters of the PAN. However, it uses a random set of 4 numbers between 0001 and 9999. What do these numbers mean? Well, the secret is in the last element of the PAN.

The 10th and Last Letter

This is the last element or character of the Permanent Account Number. It may not mean anything but it actually involves a very complicated process of integrating the letter combination (first 3 letters) and the number combination (6th to 9th characters) of the PAN series and factoring the 4th and 5th elements to come up with a unique letter identifier. You can say this is a very unique security feature for each PAN Card.

This is what the 10 characters on your PAN really mean. When taken together with the other information on the card, the PAN Card can be a very powerful instrument for establishing your identity. Using our service, you can quickly and easily fill out your new PAN card application here. If you have already put forward your application, you can check PAN status using this link.