Non-resident Indians (NRIs) are investing big time in India. However, a majority of NRIs is unaware about the laws regarding taxation and repatriation of funds. One of the key requirement for a hassle-free financial transaction is to have a PAN card.
Till recently, the few NRIs who bothered to apply for PAN cards had to go through a cumbersome process. It meant applying for a card with the help of an Indian representative (a tax consultant or CA in most cases) on Form 49 A. However, considering the problems and also the fact that very few cards were issued, the Income Tax Department has recently simplified the process.
It now allows NRIs and even foreign citizens to directly apply for a PAN card, without any reference to a representative. The Form 49 A is similar to that of anybody seeking a PAN card. NRIs can download the forms from the websites of two designated PAN service providers — UTI Technology Services and National Securities Depositories — and send the filled-up form to their offices.
The application form requires NRIs to attach a photocopy of their passport and a photocopy of their bank account in India. In case the application is made by NRIs when visiting India, they need to furnish a photocopy of the their resident-country bank account. The services providers can charge for the processing of PAN card application and courier charges for sending the PAN card.Given that e-filing of tax returns has also been facilitated now, NRIs can file returns on basis of their PAN card from overseas.