While many of us have memorised our PAN card, not many know how to decode the pattern behind the 10-digit alphanumeric number. The number is nothing but a code containing some vital information about the PAN cardholder.


  • Every PAN card tells you something about the cardholder
  • Understanding the sequencing logic behind the PAN card can help you memorise the number easily

The income tax department, which issues PAN cards through UTI and NSDL, has adopted a methodology in the naming of the PAN. Unlike your mobile number, PAN is not generated randomly by a computer.

Every PAN contains 10 digits in a fixed combination of both alphabets and letters.

pan card

The first 5 characters are always alphabets, followed by 4 numeric digits and ending again with an alphabet.

If your PAN contains the letter ‘O’ or the numeric ‘0’ (zero), then it is common to get confused between the two. Knowing the pattern of laying out of number and digits will solve your confusion.

Out of the first five characters, the first three characters represent the alphabetic series running from AAA to ZZZ.

The fourth character of the PAN card tells who are you in the eyes of the income tax department. For all individual taxpayers, the fourth letter is also “P”.

“P” stands for Individual

“C” stands for Company

“H” stands for Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)

“A” stands for Association of Persons (AOP)

“B” stands for Body of Individuals (BOI)

“G” stands for Government Agency

“J” stands for Artificial Juridical Person

“L” stands for Local Authority

“F” stands for Firm/ Limited Liability Partnership

“T” stands for Trust

The fifth character of your PAN tells the first character of your surname. For example, if your last name or surname is Singh then the fifth character would be “S”. In the case of non-individual PAN cardholders, the fifth character represents the first character of the PAN holder’s name.

The next four characters are sequential numbers running from 0001 to 9999.

The last character of your PAN is always an alphabet.

Understanding the logic behind the sequencing in PAN characters can also help you memorise your PAN number easily