GSTIN is a Goods and Services Tax Identification Number which is assigned to each person registered under GST. It is a 15-digit unique identification number. The Tax Identification Number or TIN has been substituted with GSTIN, and those businesses that have TIN would automatically be allotted GSTIN, unlike new businesses that are mandated to register under the GST Act. The number is primarily used by tax authorities to maintain GST payments and due records of those registered under the GST Act.
The GST regime provides a single platform to businesses for all procedures of compliance and administration under a single authority. The regime provides a single number – Goods and Service Tax Identification Number, in place of multiple numbers for VAT, Tax, Service Tax, etc. for a single business. GSTIN is public information.
Structure of GSTIN
You can know your GSTIN in a simple method as it has a fixed format and structure. Every GSTIN has 15 characters. These 15 characters are based on the following:
- STATE CODE: The first two characters of a GSTIN is the state code of the state in which the person who has been registered under the GST Act operates. Every state has a unique code, and the first two digits of GSTIN are assigned accordingly.
- PAN: PAN is a Permanent Account Number. The 10 digits after state code that is the 3rd to 12th characters of a GSTIN is the PAN of the person who pays tax as per the GST Act.
- REGISTRATION NUMBER: The 13th digit of GSTIN is the entity or registration number of the person whose PAN number is preceded in GSTIN that is the person who pays taxes as under the GST Act. The number is assigned on the basis of the number of registrations in the state of the taxpayer who has registered.
- “Z”: The 14th or the penultimate digit in the GSTIN is constantly the alphabet “Z” for all people registered under the GST Act.
- CHECK CODE: The last digit of GSTIN is a check code that may either be represented by an alphabet or a number.
- Example of a GSTIN is 29GGGGG1314R9Z6 wherein ’29’ is the state code for the state of Karnataka, ‘GGGGG1314R’ is the example of a PAN, ‘9’ is the entity or the registration number, ‘Z’ is a constantly used character in GSTIN and finally ‘6’ is the check code which has been denoted by a numerical in the given an example.
How to Apply for GSTIN?
GSTIN will be assigned after one registers under the GST Act. Taxpayers can register under the GST Act and accordingly obtain a GSTIN:
- By visiting the GST Seva Kendra set up by the Government; or
- By registering through the online GST Portal – https://reg.gst.gov.in/registration/
Once the application of the taxpayer to be registered under the GST Act is approved, the concerned individual will receive a unique 15-digit number – GSTIN. This will be sent across through email as well as SMS to the taxpayer’s registered email id and phone number respectively.
How to Know and Check GSTIN?
The GSTIN of a taxpayer would be mentioned in the GST certificate that one obtains when a taxpayer registers under the GST Act. The GSTIN can be verified by entering the number in the government portal. The information relating to GSTIN is public and hence can be verified easily through the government portal.
If you want to know your GSTIN, you can also find it by entering your PAN number in the government portal – https://services.gst.gov.in/services/searchtp
Misuse Of GSTIN
GSTIN can be misused by suppliers to manipulate customers. Basic instances of misuse of GSTIN are:
- The supplier can use fake GSTIN ID to evade paying taxes to the government.
- There can be fake inward invoices created by a supplier to balance the amount of tax liability. These invoices would be created even without actually supplying goods to anyone.
Therefore it is better to check and verify GSTIN to avoid manipulation and misuse of GSTIN. In addition, GSTIN seeks to maintain transparency in business transactions and attempts to ensure that genuine GST Returns are filed for the particular tax period. GSTIN verification is also advantageous as Input Tax Credit can be claimed when proper GSTIN is used.
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