14 Dec 2020

If you are a startup business or a small-medium enterprise that intends to sell its products and services in India, you are liable to have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). In the case of intra-state trade, the same is acknowledged as a VAT number.

In this section, we help you understand TIN in detail.

What is TIN?

As stated earlier, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is a unique unit assigned to each business in India by the Commercial Tax Department of the respective state. TIN is an 11-digit numerical that represents a company that is registered with VAT for trading purposes.

The last two digits of the TIN is a unique code issued by the state, whereas the remaining nine digits can vary depending on the State Government that registers the company. TIN can also be recognised as a VAT number when the company is involved in intra-state trading.

However, note that VAT is replaced by GST, since July 01, 2017.

Why is TIN Essential?

TIN is necessary for businesses and traders. Here’s why -

  • With the TIN of the company, accessing the essential tax-related information has become easy

  • It helps identify assets under the Income Tax Act

  • Companies in India that primarily deal with trading, manufacturing, and exporting of products and services require TIN for purchase as well as sale

  • Any information related to the company is accessible by states where the company functions. It thus helps maintain the efficiency of the inter- and intra-state tradings

How Does TIN Work?

The Indian Revenue System (IRS) uses the TIN on several tax-related documents such as tax returns, tax statements, and tax reports. Every business in India has a unique TIN that allows them to purchase and sell their products and services to other entities across the country. It is mandatory to include the TIN on all the documents you submit to the IRS when claiming several tax benefits and paying taxes.

How to Apply for TIN?

The standard TIN application process followed in India is explained below -

Step 1: Register at the VAT portal of your respective State Government website. Once you are registered, login to the portal with the credentials.

Step 2: Fill the application available on the portal with the necessary details and upload the supporting documents.

Step 3: Once you submit the application, it will be verified by the Commercial Tax Department of your state.

Step 4: After the initial verification, a provisional certificate and TIN is issued.

Step 5: For final verification and issuance of the final certificate, a VAT inspector will visit your business address and seal the deal.

Documents Required for TIN Application

Here’s a list of documents that you may need when registering for TIN in India -

  • Proof of identity

  • Proof of residential address

  • Proof of business address

  • PAN Card of the proprietor

  • Passport-sized photos of the proprietor

  • References

What is the Difference between TAN and TIN?

The following table helps understand the difference between TAN and TIN in India -


Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number (TAN)

Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)


The Income Tax Department of India allocates the TAN.

The Commercial Tax Department of the applicant’s respective state allocates the TIN.


TAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number that is assigned to entities that are liable to collect and deduct taxes.

TIN is an 11-digit number assigned to businesses in India for those for whom VAT is applicable.


TAN helps streamline the tax deduction and collection process at the source.

TIN helps track VAT-related activities of companies in India.

Forms Related to the Application

Form 49B

Different states have different forms for companies applying for TIN.


Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is assigned to businesses with a primary focus on trading and manufacturing, for which Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable. These companies have to quote TIN as a mandatory detail when filing taxes in India.

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  • ✔️Are there any penalties for not mentioning TIN in an invoice?

    Yes. If companies forget to mention the TIN in an invoice or any of the sales documents, they are liable to pay the penalty. The amount paid as the penalty is determined by the State Government that assigns the TIN to the company.

  • ✔️Can I use my residential address in the TIN application?

    Some states allow the mentioning of the residential address of the applicant when filling the TIN application form. However, check with your state authorities before doing so, as in most cases, it can lead to the cancellation of your TIN application during the final verification process.

  • ✔️Can unregistered businesses apply for TIN?

    For those starting a Sole Proprietorship Firm can apply for TIN and then open a current bank account based on the TIN certificate.

  • ✔️Is the VAT number the same as TIN?

    Yes. TIN is referred to as a VAT number in most cases.