As PAN is required for any financial transaction in India, an NRI will need to have a PAN card if he has an income in India. He also has to file returns if he wishes to invest in India, when he carries out banking transactions, if he purchases real estate or for any transaction mentioned above.
The increasing importance of PAN has increased the likeliness of PAN card identity theft. The safeguarding of the physical copy of the PAN card no longer assures that your card is not being misused. As a majority of transactions demand a photocopy of your PAN card, or simply quoting the Permanent Account Number, it is very easy for your information to be misused for high-ticket purchases or benami property transactions. A copy of your PAN card or simply its number can be quoted in transactions, which you are not even a part of.
Example of how your information can be misused: Recently, a consumer activist group revealed that the PAN card copy used in Railway ticket tatkal bookings were misused by several jewellers. When an individual produces his PAN to book the Tatkal tickets, this information is fed in the Indian Railways system and also displayed on the ticket, reservation chart and train coaches. Unscrupulous jewellers steal this information from such public displays and use it to furnish tax collected details while they sell jewellery of very high value to high-net worth individuals who do not wish to produce their PAN.
If this happens to you?
When your PAN card is illegally used, you may not even be aware of this for atleast six months after the wrong transaction. You can check for such benami transactions by going through your Form 26AS, which is a consolidated statement of tax deducted, along with other details. If you are a non-tax paying PAN card holder, you may not even be able to check this form. The Income Tax department will require the PAN card holder to prove that the transaction was not carried out by him, and also give details on his source of