PAN Requirements for Foreign Nationals during Company Incorporation

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India’s Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has issued General Circular No. 16/2014 (dated June 10, 2014) to clarify the applicability of Permanent Account Number (PAN) requirements for foreign nationals when submitting an application for company incorporation. This follows the release of a similar circular, General Circular No. 12/2014, last month.

Previously, filing an application for incorporation of a company with Form INC-7 required the submission of PAN details for all “intending directors” at the time of filing. Under Circular no. 12/2014 and Circular no. 16/2014, intending directors who are foreign nationals are no longer required to possess and submit a PAN during incorporation, but instead have the option of submitting their passport number along with a statement that possession of a PAN does not apply to them under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Intended resident directors are still required to submit PAN details at the time of incorporation regardless of foreign national status, however.

Circular no. 12/2014 initially stated that the following information for foreign nationals could be submitted with Form INC-7 in lieu of a PAN, where applicable:


I…………(name)……………, son of………..(father’s name)…………, citizen of ………..(nationality)………….having passport No,…………..(passport Number)……….declare as under:

(i)             That I am not required under the provisions of Income Tax Act, 1961 to obtain Income Tax Permanent Account Number (PAN);

(ii)            That in view of the above I have not been issued any PAN; and

(iii)           That I undertake to furnish to the Registrar of Companies (mention jurisdiction) details of my PAN as soon as a Permanent Account Number is issued to me.




Name of the Person

Circular no. 16/2014 clarified this by adding that in addition to intending directors, foreign nationals who are subscribers/promoters at the time of company incorporation are also eligible to submit this information in lieu of a PAN. However, it also stated that the proposed resident director—regardless of foreign national status—is required to submit PAN details at the time of incorporation.

These circulars come as welcome relief to foreign nationals who are intended directors or subscribers/promoters of a company applying for incorporation in India but are not yet required to furnish a PAN under Section 139A of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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