Your PAN Card is such an important piece of documentation in India that it can seem like the end of the world when you lose it. How are you going to buy flight tickets for your family holiday or get your hands on the latest smartphone without your PAN card for the paperwork? Rules say it’s not enough to just learn your PAN off by heart and write it in the boxes on the form; you’ll be asked to show your card to prove that you are the person you say you are. So if you lose your PAN card, it’s important to organise a replacement right away.
If you lose your PAN card, you have to arrange to get one reissued with the same details as a straightforward replacement. Nobody is allowed to have more than one PAN number or PAN card, and if you go through the process of applying again from scratch, you’ll end up with two separate numbers. This is going to cause confusion and may lead to you being investigated by the tax authorities, so when you’re organising a replacement, make sure you go to the correct section on the website. It’s clearly signposted, and this is also the section of the website you’ll use if you are updating any details on your card at the same time.
In order to get a replacement PAN card, you need to be able to fill in your original PAN number, and if you’ve lost the card, this could be tricky. Check through paperwork from your employer or correspondence from the tax authorities where your PAN will be listed. You might also find it quoted on correspondence from your bank or mortgage lender.
One strategy employed by many Indian residents is to apply for their first PAN card and then a replacement as soon as it is issued, even though the original PAN card is not lost. You then have the option of keeping one PAN card in your wallet for everyday use, and another in a safe place at home so that you have a back-up card if your original gets lost or stolen. There’s nothing illegal about having more than one PAN card with the same details; it’s only illegal to have more than one PAN number issued to the same person or business organisation.