Friday, January 16, 2015

Getting an Indian PAN card for a Georgia S-Corporation

Our S-corporation is doing business for an Indian company. To get paid, we need an Indian Permanent Account Number (PAN) number. We just received our number.

Since this process was confusing, I wanted to help others by documenting the steps I followed. I tried to be as accurate as possible in the instructions but did not repeat the process, since I did not want to apply for a second card. Let me know if you find this article helpful.

Cost

It cost our business about $35 to apply for a PAN card ($10 for Certified Articles of Incorporation, $5 for apostille of Articles of Incorporation and postage, $16 for PAN card fee, $4 for postage of documents to India).

One of the parts of the process that confused me was the websites for multiple offices of the Consulate General of India lists steps for getting a PAN card and fees of $60 if applying in person or $80 if applying by mail. I followed the process below instead.

Time

It took me about a month to complete the process. I used regular postage to get documents apostilled and to mail documents to India. I started the process in mid-December and we received the number in mid-January by email. We are still waiting for the physical card. The holidays might have affected the processing time in India.

Reference Links

India Income Tax Department PAN information

PDF version of for 49AA:Application for Permanent Account Number

Instructions for form 49AA: Application for Permanent Account Number

Documents required for PAN card

PAN application status tracking

Directions
  1. Get a certified copy of your Certificate of Incorporation from Georgia Secretary of State
    • Log on to your Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division account (i.e., cGov360 account) at cgov.sos.state.ga.us
    • Under the Business Fillings tab from the Misc. column, select Web Certified Copies from the Document Order option. A page is displayed stating "a certificate attached to a copy of a document or electronic transmission filed by the Secretary of State, bearing his or her signature and the printed or embossed seal of this state, or its electronic equivalent, is prima-facie evidence that the original document has been filed with the Secretary of State". This means that the copy you pay for and download from this site is a certified copy. I printed a copy of this page to be sent in to be apostilled with the certified Articles of Incorporation. Click on the Next button to be taken to the Filer page.
    • From the Filer page, click Organization and enter Company Name and fill in the Complete Mailing Address section. Click the Add Filer button.
    • From the Select Documents page, enter part of your business name in the Inquiry box, select Entity Name as Search Type and click on Contains for Search Depth. Click on the Search button.
    • From the Search Results, select the Articles of Incorporation Document Type. Nothing will change on the screen. Click the Next button.
    • On the Validation page, you should see your business as the Filer and Articles of Incorporation as the Select Copies. Click the Next button.
    • The Payment page is displayed showing the amount due is $10, select Credit Card as the Payment Type and click the Next button.
    • Update credit card information on the Payment page.
    • Then you receive your copies as an electronic document with a cover sheet from the secretary of state stating "that the attached documents are true and correct copies of documents maintained by the Corporations Division of the Office of the Secretary of State of Georgia".
  2. Get the certified copy of the Articles of Incorporation apostilled.
    • In Georgia, the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority can apostille the documents for India since India is a participant of the Hague Treaty Convention 12. Even though the webpage General Apostille Information states that Corporate documents on file with the Georgia Secretary of State Corporations Division must be certified copies issued directly from the Corporations Division office and that apostilles are not issued on downloaded documents from the internet. The downloaded certified copies I paid for were apostilled.
    • Download, print out, and fill in the Georgia Superior Court Clerks’ Cooperative Authority Apostille Request Form.
    • Mail the completed form, the documents, payment ($3), and a self-addressed stamped envelope for document return.
  3. Fill out on-line PAN card application.
    • For a foreign business, you will need to fill out Form 49AA, Online Application for New PAN (Form 49AA). For an S-corporation, I selected Firm in the Apply for New PAN Card box and clicked the Select button.
    • Fill in the Application for Allotment of Permanent Account Number.
    • International Taxation AO details: I am unsure about the appropriate way to fill out the way to fill in the Area Code, AO Type, Range Code, and AO Number. Rereading the instructions, I would select the default DLC-C-35-1 code mentioned in the instructions paragraphs. I selected a different code on our application.
    • Question 5 Date of Incorporation: Enter day first and then month and year
    • Question 7 Address: I entered our business name for both the Name of Office and Name of Premises/Building/Village.
    • Question 9 Telephone No.: Do not use spaces in phone number.
    • Question 10 Status of Applicant: For an S-corporation, I selected firm.
    • Question 15 Documents enclosed: I used "Copy of certificate of Registration issued in the country where the applicant is located, duly attested by 'Apostitle' or by the Indian embassy/High Commission/Consulate in the country where the applicant is located or authorized officials of overseas branches of Scheduled Banks registered in India" for both proof of identity and proof of address.
    • Question 17(g) Taxpayer Identification Number in the country of residence: For place, enter United States
    • Payment Details:I selected Credit Card. My attempts to charge the 971 rupee fee, about $16, to our business VISA failed using the Citibank / BillDesk Payment gateway failed. I was able to use the transaction number provided to charge the fee to a personal VISA.
    • Once your payment is accepted, you get an Acknowledgement for request for new PAN card (Form 49AA) pdf that contains your Acknowledgement Number.
  4. Mail forms to India
    • Mail Apostilled copy of your Articles of Incorporation and a copy of the Acknowledgement for request for new PAN card to the address noted in the acknowledgement pdf. It cost us about $4 to send the documents to India by first class mail.
    • Use the acknowledgement number to track track the status of your PAN card request, Pan Status Track.The status changes from waiting for papers to under review to dispatched. I also received emails stating the status
    • You need to sign for the PAN card when it arrives.

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