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I-T PANs eyes to stave off terror
February, 01st 2007

The government may look at tightening the verification norms for getting a permanent account number (PAN). The need to tighten norms has arisen after PAN cards were recovered from terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir.

The ministry of home affairs, which got the intelligence on the recovery of PAN cards, has expressed concern on the matter and taken it up with the finance ministry. The income-tax department is examining the feasibility of introducing biometric PAN cards for greater security and to prevent duplication.

The biometrics PAN card would use iris scan for identification. To get a PAN, one has to give proofs of residence and identity. These include:

* Copy of school-leaving certificate, matriculation certificate or a degree from a recognised educational institution; or 
* Depository account, credit card or bank account; or 
* Water bill, ration card or property tax assessment order; or 
* Passport, voter identity card or driving licence; or 
* Certificate of identity signed by an MP, MLA, municipal councillor or a gazetted officer.

At present, the PAN card can be obtained by an Indian, non-resident India, company or Hindu undivided family. There has been a rush for getting PAN cards after it became mandatory to quote it in many transactions. Quoting PAN is compulsory in documents pertaining to financial transactions notified by the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

Some such transactions are sale and purchase of immovable property or motor vehicle, payment in cash exceeding Rs 25,000 to a hotel or a restaurant, and in connection with travel abroad. It is also mandatory to mention PAN for obtaining a landline or cellular telephone connection. Likewise, PAN has to be mentioned for a time deposit exceeding Rs 50,000 with a bank or a post office, or depositing cash of Rs 50,000 or more in a bank.

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