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Form 16 Password: Steps to Access Your Salary Certificate

Updated: Jun 4

Form 16 Password: Steps to Access Your Salary Certificate

Form 16 is the most important document for every salaried person in India. It is issued by the employers, detailing an employee's salary and the taxes deducted from it throughout the financial year. However, accessing this document often comes up against a very simple yet common challenge: a password-protected PDF. This article shall help you with the basics of Form 16, why it is protected by a password, and step-by-step process of how you can open it. Whether you are filing your taxes or simply organizing your financial documents, knowing how to access your Form 16 is the key to making your financial responsibilities easy.


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Understanding Form 16

Form 16 is a certificate issued by employers in India to their employees under Section 203 of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This certificate shows income earned and tax deducted from salary by the employer during the fiscal year. There are two parts to this certificate: 

  • Part A: This section acts as a TDS Certificate that shows the TAN of the employer, PAN details of the employer and employee, tax deducted, and details of the amount deposited on a quarterly basis and total salary paid. It also includes a unique TDS Certificate Number. 

  • Part B: This part of Form 16 is an annexure to Part A and contains the breakup of salary paid, deductions allowed under the Income Tax Act, and relief under section 89. The breakup details are gross salary, exemptions under Section 10, deductions under Chapter VI-A (For example, under sections 80C, 80D, and so on), and total income on which tax is computed. 

The Role of Form 16 in Income Tax Returns and Proof of Income Documentation

Form 16 serves several crucial purposes in the context of an individual's financial and professional life:

  • Facilitation of Income Tax Returns: Form 16 provides all the necessary details required to file an accurate income tax return. The information about TDS and income details helps in reconciling the tax payments and calculating any additional tax liability or refund due. 

  • Proof of Income: Beyond tax filing, Form 16 is often used as a comprehensive proof of income document. It is frequently required when applying for loans, visas, or other financial assessments where verification of income is necessary.

  • Tax Deducted Amount Validation: It validates that the employer has deducted the TDS and further deposited it with the government, which is very important for avoiding any discrepancy arising from the Income Tax Department. 

  • Financial Planning and Analysis: For employees, Form 16 is a critical document for understanding salary structure, planning investments, and managing personal finances effectively.

Why is Form 16 Password Protected?

Form 16 has information on personal and financial details, such as income, tax deductions, and personal identification numbers like PAN. Due to its all-inclusive nature, there is a need to secure it with a password to prevent unauthorized access and possible misuse of sensitive data. The digital age also brings with it data breaches and theft of information, potentially leading to serious consequences like identity theft and financial fraud. Protecting Form 16 with a password ensures that the confidentiality of the document is maintained and that only the intended recipient, that is, the employee, can access the document's contents.

Reasons for Securing Form 16 with a Password

  • Compliance with Information Technology Act: The Information Technology Act of 2000 in India makes it compulsory for organizations dealing with sensitive personal data or information to follow reasonable security practices. Hence, by password-protecting Form 16, employers are complying with the requisite legal provisions to protect personal information against potential security breaches. 

  • Adherence to Income Tax Guidelines: The Income Tax Department of India emphasizes the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of taxpayer information. By password protecting, one enforces this directive since only the authorized personnel or departments can access the taxpayer's financial details contained in Form 16. 

  • Protection against Unauthorized Access: Password protection is a simple yet effective barrier to mitigate the risk of unauthorized viewing or manipulation of sensitive financial information. This is critical in the corporate environment, where there might be multiple people who have access to financial documents for processing, but not necessarily all of them are authorized to view employee-specific details. 

  • Enhancing Data Privacy: In a world where data privacy concerns have become increasingly important to regulatory discussions, securing financial documents like Form 16 with a password is a proactive approach to privacy. It enhances the trust of the employees, reassuring them that their personal and financial data are handled responsibly and with due diligence.

  • Legal Option and Liability Management: If there is a leakage or misuse of data, having robust security measures like password protection in place may also provide legal cover by showing the employer has taken reasonable precautions to protect employee data, therefore potentially limiting liability in case of a breach.

Standard Formats of Form 16 Password: Steps to Access Your Salary Certificate 

The password protection effected for Form 16 is usually designed to be sufficiently secure yet easy enough for the employee to guess or remember. Employers or issuing authorities typically follow a standard format using personal identifiers known only to the employee. This approach minimizes the risk of unauthorized access while still being easy to use. These formats may include personal information not easily accessed by others but which are easily remembered by the employee.

Some Examples of Typical Password Structures 

  • PAN Number and Date of Birth Combinations: 

  • Full PAN Number: A common approach to use the employee's PAN, or Permanent Account Number, as the password. For example, if the PAN is ABCDE1234F, then the password would be abcde1234f. 

  • PAN Number and Birth Year: Sometimes the PAN number may be followed or preceded by the birth year. For example, if an employee's PAN is ABCDE1234F, and their birth year is 1980, then the password might be ABCDE1234F1980 or 1980ABCDE1234F. 

  • Last Five Characters of PAN and DOB: Some organizations might use the last five characters of the PAN and the date of birth formatted as DDMMYY. For example, if the PAN is ABCDE1234F and the birth date is 15th April 1982, then the password could be 1234F150482.

  • Date of Birth (DOB) Only: 

  • Full Date of Birth: The full date of birth in various formats, for example, DDMMYYYY, MMDDYYYY, or YYYYMMDD. For example, if the employee's birthdate is April 15, 1982, then passwords might be 15041982 or 04151982 or 19820415. 

  • Combination of Date and Month: In some cases, only the date and month of birth are used, like 1504 for a person born on 15th April. 

  • Combination of Employee ID and DOB: Some organizations might be more inclined to use an employee-unique identifier, such as an employee ID combined with a part of the date of birth. So, if the employee ID is 12345 and the birthdate is April 15, 1982, a possible password could be 12345150482.

Form 16 Password: Steps to Access Your Salary Certificate

Follow the below steps to access Form 16:

  1. Access the Form 16 Sent through Email or Download Link Sent by Your Employer: Generally, employers send the Form 16 through a secure email or make it available from an employee portal. Check your registered email for a mail from your HR or payroll department. The email usually includes a link for directly downloading the document or instructions on how to access it via the company's employee portal. Ensure that your email address, as registered with the HR department, is correct and check your spam folder if you haven't received the email in your main inbox. 

  2. Know the Format of the Password: Before opening the Form 16 document, ensure you understand the password format that your employer uses. Common formats are your PAN number, date of birth, or a combination of both. This information might be in the email or can be found from the employee handbook or portal. If not explicitly stated, try common formats: your PAN number in lowercase or uppercase, or your date of birth in DDMMYYYY format, or a combination as previously described in your organization's communication. 

  3. Enter the Password Correctly: Open the PDF document of Form 16 and fill in the password in the password field. Be sure to watch out for case sensitivity and numeric formats. Always check if the password has to be entered in uppercase or lowercase. For instance, PAN numbers are generally in uppercase. Always ensure that numbers have been entered as per the specified format, especially the date of birth. For example, when the date of birth format is specified as DDMMYYYY, the 1st April 1990 must be entered as "01041990". Check the details you are filling in, especially for any zeros or ones which could look similar to the letters 'O' or 'I'. Keyboard Settings: Check that your keyboard's Num Lock or Caps Lock settings are set appropriately to whatever the password requires. 

  4. Opening the Document Successfully and Troubleshooting the Issues Procedure: When you put in the correct password, you should have no problem opening your Form 16. You can view, download, or print the document as desired.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

At times, there are technical glitches or procedural issues that restrict the access to Form 16. Below are some problem-solving means for common issues, along with advice on when and how to contact organizational support services.

Common Problems and Solutions 

  • Forgotten Passwords

  • Problem: You do not recall the password format used to encrypt Form 16.

  • Solution: Refer to previous communications from the HR or Payroll department regarding the password structure, which is often based on personal information like your PAN or date of birth. If you can't find this information, contact HR for a reminder of the password format.

  • File Not Opening

  • Problem: The PDF for Form 16 is not opening with the correct password.

  • Solution: Ensure that your PDF reader is updated because an older version may not support certain formats of encrypted PDFs. If an update doesn't solve the problem, try opening the file with a different PDF reader. Also, check to make sure you are entering the password correctly, considering factors like case sensitivity and numeric formatting.

  • Corrupted Downloads

  • Problem: The Form 16 file downloaded is incomplete or corrupted, which does not permit the file to be opened.

  • Solution: Try downloading the file again, ensuring that you have a stable internet connection. Avoid any interruptions during the downloading process. If the problem persists, it could be a problem on the server from which the document is being downloaded; in that case, it is advisable to bring the problem to the notice of IT support.

  • Wrong Password Attempts 

  • Problem: After a number of attempts, it seems the password you are trying to enter is incorrect, and you fear being locked out.

  • Solution: Recheck the password format and ensure that you are entering the correct details. If after several tries, the error persists, it is better to contact the HR department to cross-check your information or reset the password criteria.

IT/HR Department Contact Information

  • When to Contact HR: Contact your HR department in case there are discrepancies or if you are unsure of the format of the password, need a reset, or need to verify your personal details used in the password. The HR might also give you fresh downloads or rectify errors in the Form 16 itself. 

  • When to Contact IT Support: If you are facing persistent corrupted downloads, problems with server access, or any other issue that might be an internal systems failure with your company, then it should be an IT support issue. 

  • How to Contact: Most often, employees are given specific contact information for their IT and HR support through their employee handbook or the company intranet. Look for email addresses, dedicated support portal links, or phone numbers. It's useful if you save these contacts somewhere for easy access when problems arise.

Best Practices for Storing and Using Form 16

Form 16 is an essential document that shows an individual’s salary earnings and tax deductions. It is important that it should be handled and stored properly not only for tax filing but also for other purposes, such as when applying for loans or visas. Below are some best practices for storing and using your Form 16 securely and effectively:

  • Digital Storage: 

  • Secure Backup: Always keep a digital copy of Form 16 backed up in a secure location. Use encrypted digital storage solutions like cloud services which offer enhanced security features. 

  • Password Protection: If you store the document on your local device or on cloud storage, ensure the folder or the document is password protected. Use strong passwords that combine letters, numbers, and symbols. 

  • Physical Copies: 

  • Safe Storage: If you prefer keeping a physical copy of Form 16, store it in a secure place like a locked drawer or a safe. It should be accessible only to you or someone you trust implicitly. 

  • Fire and Water-Resistant Containers: Consider using fireproof and waterproof containers to protect the physical copies from environmental damage.

  • Updates: Make sure that your backup copies are updated annually after you receive the latest Form 16. This keeps a complete and updated record of your financial documents.

How to Remove Form 16 Password?

Form 16 files are typically password-protected to keep the information confidential. However, if you need to access this document regularly, removing the password protection saves you from constant password entries. This can be done by saving a new PDF document without a password. Here is how you can do this using Google Chrome, one of the most straightforward methods:

  1. Right-click the PDF file that contains your Form 16.

  2. Choose Open with and select Google Chrome.

  3. If it is not listed, you might need to find it in the 'More apps' section.

  4. Enter the Password: Once the file is opened in Chrome, it will ask you for a password. Input the password in the specified format, that is, usually your PAN and date of birth or as directed by your employer.

  5. Click on the Submit button to access the document.

  6. When the document opens, locate the printer icon in the upper right corner of Chrome, or press the Ctrl + P keys to open the print dialog.

  7. In the print settings window, find the Destination section and click on Change. Select Save as PDF from the list of printer destination options.

  8. Save the Unprotected PDF: With 'Save as PDF' selected as the destination, click on the Save button.

  9. Choose the desired location on your computer to save the new PDF file. This new file will not require a password to open.

  10. Go to the location where you saved the new PDF and open it to check that it no longer asks for a password. Check if all pages and information are intact and readable.


Q1. What is Form 16?

Form 16 is a certificate issued by employers in India to their employees. It provides details on the salary earned and the tax deducted at source (TDS) by the employer over the financial year.

Q2. Why is Form 16 password protected?

Form 16 is password protected to ensure the security and confidentiality of personal financial information contained within the document.

Q3. What is the common password format for Form 16?

The most common password format for Form 16 is the employee's PAN in lower case and the date of birth in DDMMYYYY format.

Q4. How can I open my Form 16 if I don't know the password?

If you don't know the password for your Form 16, you are supposed to contact the HR or payroll department of your employer. They will offer you the password format or reset the password if need be.

Q5. Can I remove the password from my Form 16 for easier access?

You can remove the password from your Form 16 using a PDF Printer to save the file without password protection. Generally, this process includes the opening of a file in a PDF reader, entering the password, and then printing the document into a new PDF file.

Q6. Is it safe to remove the password from Form 16?

Removing the password from your Form 16 can expose your sensitive information. You should keep the unprotected file secure and reflect on the risks of unauthorized access before doing so.

Q7. What should I do if the password format provided does not work?

If the standard format of password doesn't work then double check you have filled in your details correctly, in particular the format of your Date of Birth or any leading zeroes in your PAN. If the problem persists, contact your employer for clarification.

Q8. I have downloaded Form 16 but it is not opening. What should I do?

Ensure that you use a compatible PDF reader and that the file did not get corrupted during download. Download the file again over a stable internet connection.

Q9. Can I use Google Chrome to open Form 16?

Yes, you can use Google Chrome to open and remove the password from Form 16 by opening the PDF directly in the browser, entering the password, and using the print-to-PDF feature to save an unprotected version.

Q10. What are the legal implications of sharing my Form 16?

Form 16 bears personal and financial information. Sharing of this document can lead to breaches in privacy and the potential misuse of information. Always be cautious to whom you are sharing your Form 16 with and ensure it is shared securely.

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