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A Permanent Account Number (PAN) is a ten-digit alphanumeric number, issued in the form of a laminated card, by the Indian Income Tax Department, to any "person" who applies for it or to whom the department allots the number without an application.
It is a unique, ten-character alpha-numeric identifier, issued to all judicial entities identifiable under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961. The income tax PAN code and its linked card are issued under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act. It is issued by the Indian Income Tax Department under the supervision of the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) and it also serves as an important proof of identification. It is also issued to foreign nationals (such as investors) subject to a valid visa, and hence that PAN is not acceptable as proof of Indian citizenship.