If one had to measure the degree of bureaucratic lunacy in India, all one has to do is try and fill out a PAN application. Permanent Account Number or PAN as it is more widely known is the way the Income Tax (I-T) bureau tracks your revenues.
After filling out the papers for my bank account application at another bank, I was told that for any investments, I’d need to get a PAN. Just Google it, said my relationship manager. I did and very shortly I found the application form. Then came the big stopper. Try filling out the first four required fields:
Yes, I did notice the “click here” bits as you may have NOT imagined. And where does it get us? I’ll go for the Non International Taxation AO – i.e. National Taxation AO – did I not say it was a loony form? This is where it leads. Helpful, yes? You’d expect it to be. I certainly did. Try it yourself and let me know how you fare.
Yes, where exactly is South Delhi or anything I could possibly relate to? Am I, the Aaam Aadmi that our beloved government harps on about, supposed to know how to figure this out?! And believe you me, there’s no link anywhere in the form or on the instructions that points to an answer.
I’ll cut to the chase. I called UTI offices and after trying for 40 mins got redirected to Gurgaon’s I-T office where some bright information officer provided me with a way to get the answer. To fill out this bit about AOs and whatnot, you need to visit the TIN site. On the left you’ll find a dropdown where you have to locate your state. Once that’s done it takes you another form where you re-enter your state and the city. This then gives you a list of facilitation centers near you. This is a screen grab of the page for Delhi, New Delhi:
From this page you should locate the one closest to your home (or office if you’re registering a business, I presume). Call them up and ask them for the 4 things you need. Here’s the info for Defence Colony:
- Area code: DEL
- AO Type: W
- Range Code: 54
- AO Number: 4
I wonder if this Range Code and AO number could actually be replaced by regular PIN codes. Is this a parallel system for managing taxation territories? For example the PIN Code of Defence Colony is 110024. 110024 represents the following areas in India – not just Delhi as one might assume.