PAN or Permanent Account Number is the fundamental instrument of identifying the taxpayers in the country. It is the nationally accepted unique identification number which holds all the tax related information of a tax paying entity in the country. However, the concept of PAN did not exist from the very starting. Before PAN, a GIR number was used for the purpose which had a manual mechanism and thus, a lot of drawbacks. It was in 1972 when according to section 139A of the Income Tax Act, 1961 the concept of PAN was introduced by the government of India. In the initiative years it was voluntary, but from 1976 onwards it was mandatory for all the taxpaying individuals.
Along with the unique identification number, one more important element present in this mechanism is PAN jurisdiction. To simplify this mechanism of tax related information storage and verification, the entire system has been divided into various jurisdictions. This is called PAN jurisdiction, PAN range or Income Tax Ward. Since the large number of taxpayers existing in the country cannot be handled by a centralised authority, there are Jurisdiction Assessing Officers which deal with the taxpayers of a particular area, or what is known as a jurisdiction. They are assigned a particular area and category. The taxpayers belonging to that particular area are required to pay their income tax returns to the jurisdiction officer. It is imperative to know your jurisdiction. As every taxpayer is required to pay its income tax returns to the concerned Jurisdiction AO, it is necessary to know your PAN jurisdiction.
There is a specific code related to each jurisdiction, known as the AO Code. To have an idea of the range of Income Tax returns, separate codes are assigned to different part of all the cities. The AO code contains Building Name, Income Tax Ward/ Range etc. Before applying for a PAN, the taxpayer is required to know the Assessing Officer type for completing the application. To know your jurisdiction income tax related information, AO code is essential.
The PAN jurisdiction mainly consists of AO type, AO code, Range Code and AO number. The income tax department along with providing the PAN number provides the facility to know your PAN card jurisdiction. In case one needs to file for Income Tax returns, the PAN jurisdiction code is necessary. In fact, at the very instant when one is applying for a PAN number, PAN AO code is required. Therefore, it is equally important to know your jurisdiction as it is to know your jurisdiction officer.
The Assessing Officer can also be changed on the request of PAN holder. Although it is a typical process done by the Central Processing Cell, it can be done in the case of requirement. For instance, if someone is shifting from one place to another due to change in workplace, they need to change their jurisdiction AO. This can be done by following the process established for requesting the change in jurisdiction AO.