What’s the Difference Between PAN, TAN, TIN, and GSTIN?

PAN, TAN, TIN, and GSTIN are usually used in the context of Income Tax. However, their differences can be confusing to many.


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PAN- Permanent Account Number

A PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number that’s unique to every taxpayer in the country. It’s issued by the Income Tax department and must be used by all individuals that involve in financial transactions exceeding a certain limit.

TAN- Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number

Just like PAN, TAN is also a 10-digit alphanumeric number. However, it’s mainly used by the entities that deduct or collect tax from someone. They have to quote their TAN in their TDS or TCS documents when collecting the tax.

TIN- Taxpayer Identification Number

TIN is an 11-digit numeric code which was used by businesses that participated in transactions that attracted VAT (Value Added Tax). However, when the GST regime was implemented, it was replaced with GSTIN instead.

GSTIN- Goods and Services Tax Identification Number

GSTIN is a 15-digit alphanumeric unique identification number that’s used by businesses participating in transactions that attract GST.

The following are the main differences between these 4 tax terms:

  • While PAN and TAN are issued by the Income Tax Department, TIN was issued by the commercial tax department of the concerned state. GSTIN being a national concept is issued by the GSTN (GST Network) for all the businesses across India.
  • PAN and TAN have 10 digits. TIN has 11 digits, while GSTIN has 15 digits.
  • To apply for PAN, you have to fill and submit form 49A (Indians) or form 49AA (foreigners). For TAN, you have to fill and submit form 49B, and for TIN, it varies from one state to another. GSTIN application, on the other hand, has to be completed at the GSTN portal.
  • PAN is used as an identifier for financial transactions while TAN is used as an identifier for the collection of taxes. TIN was used to track VAT-related activities, and GSTIN is now used for tracking GST-related activities.