Indian PAN Card Application Procedure for UK Companies

This document describes the procedure for UK companies applying for an Indian Permanent Account Number (PAN) card. A PAN card is now compulsory for companies wishing to trade in India.

There are several organisations offering a PAN application processing service to UK companies, but you can avoid the substantial fees charged by such organisations by making an application yourself, from the UK, using the NSDL Tax Information Network.

Evidence of company identity and address must accompany all applications for a company PAN card. The appropriate evidence and the procedure for obtaining this evidence varies according to the applicant's country. In the case of a UK company, the most cost-effective way to obtain the necessary evidence is as follows:

  1. Order a Certificate of Incorporation from the Companies House Contact Centre (£15.00), specifying that it must include the following information:
  2. Send the certificate to the Legalisation Office of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) for apostille (£34.80 including return by Special Delivery). Note that the FCO will accept a Certificate of Incorporation bearing an original signature of a Companies House officer for apostille without notarisation. Further attestation of the document is not required because both India and the UK are parties to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents.

Review the NSDL PAN application guidelines to determine the current application processing fee for PAN applications from outside India (approximately £10). Then order a foreign currency draft (a demand draft) from your bank for the required fee in Indian Rupees (INR), specifying that the payee should be "NSDL - PAN" and that the draft should be payable at a bank in Mumbai, India. Note that bank charges for issuing the draft are likely to exceed the face value of the draft by a considerable margin (typically £25).

Once you have received the certificate with apostille and the demand draft, complete the on-line PAN application form (form 49A). You can specify the default AO code (DLC-C-35-1) and leave the details of the Assessing Officer blank. You should specify the number and date of the demand draft and the name of the bank at which it is payable. These details are all available from the demand draft itself.

When you submit the form, you will be issued with a PAN card application number which you should write on the back of the demand draft and note elsewhere in order to track the status of your application. The web page containing your PAN card application number also serves as a signature page. It should be printed and signed by the applicant.

Send the Certificate of Incorporation with apostille, the demand draft and the signature page to the NSDL PAN Services Unit in Pune, India. The DHL World Document Express service provided by Interparcel is a cost-effective option (approximately £25). Note that the on-line application status tracking service may not indicate receipt of the documents until several days after delivery.

The total cost of obtaining a PAN card for a UK company by this route is approximately £110. The total elapsed time should be approximately 5 weeks.

JLD - 2010-11-07

DISCLAIMER: This information is provided "as is". The author disclaims any loss or liability, either directly or indirectly as a consequence of applying the information presented herein, or in regard to the use and application of said information. No guarantee is given, either expressed or implied, in regard to the merchantability, accuracy, or acceptability of the information.