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Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN)

Every taxpayer under the GST system is given a 15 digit identification number called the Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN). Prior to the GST system, all dealers registered under the state VAT law used to get a unique TIN number. Now GSTIN has replaced TIN.

Before we get into the details of GSTIN, lets know how the unique number helps your business.

Benefits of getting a GSTIN

  • A valid GSTIN number allows legal recognition of the business entity as a supplier of goods and services. This allows a business entity to establish trust with its customers and helps in the growth of the organisation.

  • A person having a valid GSTIN number can take input credit on their own purchases.

  • With a GSTIN number you will be able to increase your competitiveness compared to a small business since purchasing from them will ensure input credit.

  • GSTIN also allows businesses to steer clear of restrictions on interstate sales.

  • The scope of your business can also be enhanced as you will be able to register on e-commerce sites or open your own eCommerce website.

Structure of GSTIN

The GSTIN number indicates the state and the PAN of the business. The breakdown of it is as follows:

  • The first 2 digits of the 15 digit GSTIN indicates the state code.

  • The rest of the numbers are the PAN number of the person or business entity.

  • The 13th digit is based on the number of registrations that the firm has done within a state using the same PAN.

  • By default, the fourteenth digit will be “Z”.

  • The last digit is known as the check code. The code is used to detect errors and can be a number or an alphabet.

For instance, if any business firm has only one registration in the same state then the number “1” will be assigned as the 13th digit of GSTIN. Suppose the same company gets one more registration in the same state, the thirteenth digit of GSTIN will be assigned as number ”2”.

The 13th digit will be “B” if the company has done 11 registrations in the same state. Similarly, any legal firm can have up to 35 business verticals and can be registered within a state using this system.

How to apply for GSTIN?

Applying for GSTIN falls under the GST enrolment procedure. As soon as your GST application is approved by the concerned GST officer, you will receive a unique GSTIN number. There are 2 ways to apply for GSTIN, viz.

GST Portal

  • Log on to GST online portal Go to ‘New Registration’ and fill in the details.

  • An OTP will be send to your phone for verification

  • Post the completion of the verification process,an Application Reference Number (ARN) will be sent on you mail or your mobile phone

You can now fill Part B of the application using the ARN. The documents that you will need in this step include:

  • Photographs

  • Constitution of taxpayer

  • Proof(s) of the location of the business

  • Bank account details

  • Authorization form

Your documents will be verified within 3 working days. The officer may ask you for more information using the Form GST-REG-03, which must be within 7 working days. You will receive a Certificate of Registration if the certificates are found to be genuine.

How to Verify GSTIN?

Fake GSTIN numbers could be found every other day. This helps the businesses evade taxes and allows them to charge extra tax. You must be aware that every service provider charging GST to their customers has to print their GSTIN number on all their produced invoices.

If you are unsure of the GSTIN number given, you can check it this way:

Go to the GST Portal

You will see a “Search Taxpayer” option on the menu bar

  • Enter the GSTIN number that you seek to verify in the search box along with the captcha code provided.

  • If the given GSTIN is a valid GST registered business, the following details will be in front of you in seconds

GSTIN Status

Registration Date

Type of Business Structure: Company, Sole proprietorship

Type of Taxpayer. Regular Taxpayer, Composition, SEZ unit

However, if the entered GSTIN is an invalid one, the website will display a message saying “error”.

The GSTIN number has helped bring transparency in the new tax system. The unique number has most importantly allowed customers to trust and allowed them to do the GSTIN check themselves. Most importantly a GSTIN number also allows businesses to steer clear of restrictions on interstate sales, an important differential from the system that it has replaced. For further details on how the GSTIN works, look no further than Finserv MARKETS where you will find in depth details on the topic.

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