What is Goods and Services Identification number (GSTIN)?
GST Number or GSTIN is essentially your businesses’ legal online identity. Under the GST regime, once your GST application is done, you are given a 15-digit alphanumeric identification number. This number is basically to be quoted at all GST Invoices issued to customers. In addition to this, the ident0fication number is also required for filing GST returns and handling everything related to GST of a particular business.
Before the implementation of GST, under the taxation system of VAT (Value Added Tax) dealers of goods were assigned a unique TIN number by the respective tax authorities. In addition to this, service providers were issued a service tax registration number by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
The GSTIN aims at consoldating the millions of taxpayers which were registered under varying tax paying schemes. It has been estimated that over 8 million taxpayers will be migrating from registration in different forms of taxation.
In this article, we will look at the format of GST identification Number, how to identify, as well as, verify the GST number. It is important to verify the GST number. Many businesses just put out a fake GSTIN in order to appear compliant to the GST regulations as it has become necessary.
Businesses put out invoices with accurate CGST and IGST breakup as well to appear tax regulatory. However, this is fake and the tax shown doesn’t go towards the government. It is more than just tax evasion and borderlines into a theft.
- The first 2 digits of the 15 digit GSTIN will represent the state code.
- The next 10 digits will be the PAN Number of person or firm engaged in Business.
- As proposed the State Code as defined under the Indian Census 2011 would be adopted In the GSTIN. As per the terms of the Indian Census 2011, every State has been allotted a unique two digit code. For 01 for Jammu and Kashmir, 02 for Himachal Pradesh, 03 for Punjab.
- The 13th would represent the number of registrations an entity has within a state under the same PAN. It will be an alpha-numeric number (first 1-9 and then A-Z) and will be assigned on the basis of a number of registrations a legal entity (having the same PAN) in the same state.
If any legal entity or company has only one registration in the same state then number “1” will be assigned as the 13th digit of GSTIN. If the same company obtains one more or second registration in the same state, number ”2” will be assigned as the 13th digit of GSTIN. And similarly, “B” letter will be assigned as the 13th digit if the entity has 11 registrations in the same state. This way up to 35 business verticals of any legal entity can be registered within a state using this system.
- The 14th digit would be alphabet Z by default. It has been been kept for future use.
- The last digit will be a checksum digit.
In case you are confused about GST as a business owner, feel free to consult the GST experts at LegalRaasta. You can get comprehensive assistance on GST Registration and GST Return Filing. You can also use our GST software for doing end-to-end GST compliance.
How to apply for GSTIN?
Applying for GSTIN comes within the GST enrolment procedure. On the approval of the GST application by the concerned GST officer, a unique GSTIN is allocated.
There are in total 3 ways to register yourself under the regulations of GST:
1. GST Portal: Head on over to https://services.gst.gov.in/services/quicklinks/registration. This the government’s official portal to apply for GST.
2. GST Seva Kendra: The government has set up many service centres or “Seva Kendras” to facilitate all things related to GST. The government has established the Seva Kendras to facilitate the migration to GST for many taxpayers. These taxpayers are those who do not have access to or don’t know how to make use of the GST’s online portal.
Here are the addresses of the GST Seva Kendras across the country.
The process of GST registration, as well as that of obtaining the GSTIN, are absolutely free of cost (via the government).
As we mentioned before, many firms produced invalid and fake GSTIN numbers in order to charge extra money and evade the taxes under GST regulations. First of all, by regulations, every service provider/ trader charging GST to their customers has to print their GSTIN number on the invoices.
Checking the validity of GSTIN Number
If you wish to verify the validity of the GSTIN provided to you here are the steps for the same.
- Head on over to the GST Portal https://www.gst.gov.in/
- Go over to the Search Taxpayer on the menu bar
- Enter the GSTIN you need to verify in the search box along with the captcha code provided to you.
- If the given GSTIN is a valid GST registered business under the regulations of GST, the following details about the business will be in front of you
- GSTIN Status
- Registration Date
- Type of Business Structure: Company, Sole proprietorship
- Type of Taxpayer. Regular Taxpayer, Composition, SEZ unit
- If the entered GSTIN is an invalid one, the website will display an error message
Many businesses misuse the GSTIN by furnishing fake GST numbers and in turn extracting GST from the consumers. If a particular business is in the process of acquiring their GSTIN number, they will have a provisional GSTIN number issued to them by the government. It is mandatory for businesses to either provide their GST number or their provisional GST number on any and all invoices that they furnish to the customers. You can as a consumer of goods/services demand to see the GST number of the particular business dealer. It is illegal not to furnish the details with regard to the GSTIN number of the trader.
Offences of using Fake GSTIN
The following are considered as offences under using a fake GSTIN
- Making supplies without an invoice or with false/incorrect invoice
- Failing to register under GST despite being eligible for registration
- Issuing documents/invoices with the GSTIN of another business entity
Penalties of using Fake GSTIN
IN case a business commits any of the offences above mentioned, the penalty for all such offences turns up to be 100% of the tax liability or ₹ 10,000 whichever is higher. In addition to this helping, a business commit any of these offences could lead to the penalty extending to ₹ 25,000.
|Tax Evasion Amount||Imprisonment|
|₹100-200 Lakhs||Up to 1 year and fine|
|₹200-500 Lakhs||Up to 3 Years and fine|
|Above ₹500 Lakhs||Up to 5 years and fine|
Complaining about fake GSTIN
The GST department has set up multiple helplines to help you report the offences and crimes committed to GST and the offences. Given below are the contact numbers:
- GST complain number: 011-23370115 or 0124-4688999 or 0120-4888999
- GST Complaint mail id: https://selfservice.gstsystem.in/ or firstname.lastname@example.org