We all are familiar with PAN or Permanent Account Number. It is an identification number assigned to the taxpayers under the Income Tax laws. Similarly, VAT laws assigned its taxpayers an identification number called TIN or Taxpayer Identification Number. Under the GST Act, the taxpayers are assigned an identification number in a similar fashion. This number is called GSTIN or Goods and Services Tax Identification Number. In this article, you will learn all about GSTIN and the process to easily verify it online.
What is GSTIN and its Full Form?
The full form of GSTIN is Goods and Services Tax Identification Number. It is an ID which is assigned to every business entity which registers under GST.
GST number is a 15-digit alphanumeric ID assigned to the taxpayers after registration. Let’s look at its structure in detail.
- GSTIN number is assigned state-wise to the taxpayers. If a business entity operates in multiple states, it needs to get a GSTIN in every state. E.g., if a business operates in 5 states, it will require 5 GSTINs.
- Out of the 15 digits, the first two digits indicate the state code. The state code represents the state from which the GSTIN has been obtained. Each state is represented by a unique code according to the Indian Census 2011. E.g., your GSTIN’s first two digits will be 08, if you obtain registration in Rajasthan. Similarly, if you get a GST registration in Gujarat, your GST number will begin from 24. Taxpayer’s PAN number forms the next 10 digits of GSTIN. So, if the taxpayer has multiple GSTINs, these ten digits will be the same for all of them.
- A business entity can also have multiple registrations within the same state. The 13th digit indicates the number of registrations you have within the same state. The first 9 registrations are represented by the numbers 1-9. Let’s say that a taxpayer has three GST registrations linked to your PAN within the same state, the thirteenth digit of your GSTIN obtained from the said state will be 3. If your registrations exceed 9, then your number of registrations are represented by alphabets A-Z. Hence, an entity with 12 registrations will have the alphabet C as the three thirteenth digit in the GST number.
- The fourteenth digit is the same for all the taxpayers and denoted by the letter Z.
- The last or 15th digit of your GSTIN is a check code. Its purpose is the detection of errors.
How to get GST Number?
The only way one can get a GSTIN is by registering under GST. It can be done in the following ways:
- Registering online on the GST Common Portal, or
- Visiting a GST Seva Kendra to register offline, or
- Using the convenient platform of SahiGST for hassle-free online registration
How to get GSTIN by registering on GST Common Portal?
One can follow the steps given below to register:
- Visit www.gst.gov.in and login
- Click on the Services tab and select the New Registration option
- Fill in the required information like your PAN, mobile number, email ID etc. and click on the “Process” button.
- You will get two OTPs to verify your email ID and mobile number. These OTPs recite after 10 minutes from the time of generation. Fill the OTPs in their respective boxes. Post this step, you get a temporary reference number. Click on “Proceed” button.
- Fill the “Temporary Reference Number or TRN” and captcha code to get another OTP.
- You will be taken to My Saved application page where you can fill the registration form. You get 15 days to fill the form.
The process to Fill GST registration form
There are various sections in the form which one needs to fill. The applicant also needs to upload the scanned copies of the following documents with the form:
- Proof of Constitution/ incorporation of business
- Proof of primary place of business
- Photo of promotor, HUF or partner etc. whichever is applicable with respect to the constitution
- Photo of authorised signatory
Bank Statement/ Passbook or cheque book containing the complete details of Bank and account holder. Once the applicant has the scanned copies of the documents mentioned above, he is ready to begin filling the form. Steps are as follows:
- Fill details under every mandatory tab and click on the Save and Continue button for each page/ section.
- Provide the required information under Business and the Partners/Promotors tab and upload the Proof of Constitution
- Fill the required data in the Authorized Signatory section. In case you want to e-sign the form then the mobile/email of the Authorized signatory will be used. If you wish to sign with the DSC, then the PAN of the Authorized signatory should be linked with the DSC.
- Provide required information asked under other tabs as well and upload the required documents.
- Sign your application form digitally using the digital signature of the Authorised Signatory as specified in the registration form.
- Submit the application by choosing any of the three options namely verification with DSC, verification with e-signature or verification with EVC.
- Post submission of application, the applicant gets an Application Reference Number or ARN on his mobile number and email ID which can be used to track the status of the application. The facility to track application is available under Services > Registration > Track Application
- Once the application is processed and approved, he will be notified via email and SMS. The message will contain a temporary username and password.
- Use the temporary username and password to log in and download your Registration Certificate from Services > User Services > View or Download Certificates.
Verifying GST Number
GST offers several benefits to the registered taxpayers but with registration comes the compliance cost. Several small and medium business Enterprises do not opt for a GSTIN to avoid this compliance cost. However, you can reap the benefits of GST taxation regime only if you and your business partners/ vendors also register and comply with the GST laws. One such big benefit is Input Tax Credit which can be successfully availed only if both the supplier and recipient comply with the GST laws. You will often come across some businesses which use take GSTINs to show their compliance. Hence, it is very important for you to verify the GSTIN of all your vendors.
How to Verify a Person’s GSTIN?
There are two ways to do GST number verification online:
- Verify GSTIN using GST Common Portal
- Verify GSTIN using the Search GSTIN (Free Online GSTIN Verification Tool) of SahiGST
- Verify multiple GSTINs at once using SahiGST
Steps to check validity of GSTIN on GSTN Website:
- Go to www.gst.gov.in
- Click on Search Taxpayer tab and select Search by GSTIN/ UIN
- Fill the GSTIN that you want to verify in the box provided
- If the GSTIN is correct, you will see various details of a taxpayer like Legal name of business, GSTIN/ UIN Status, Date of registration, Constitution of business -, taxpayer type (regular/ composition/ SEZ)
- If the GSTIN is incorrect, you will get an error message
Verify GSTIN using SahiGST
- Go to www.sahigst.com
- On the right hand top corner, select the option Search GSTIN.
- Enter the GSTIN in the box provided and click on ‘Search GSTIN’
Verifying Multiple GSTINs with SahiGST
If you have a large list of vendors, checking GSTINs one by one on the GST Common Portal can be a tedious task requiring a lot of time. However, the same task can be done by using SahiGST’s online GSTIN verification tool with ease. SahiGST’s smart GSTIN verification tool helps you check multiple GSTINs in one go this saving you a lot of precious time.
Being a GST Suvidha Provider or GSP, SahiGST also provides enriched GSTIN verification API to businesses. A business can add this API to its ERP so that whenever a new vendor joins the system, his details are automatically verified.
Reporting a Fake GSTIN
If you identify someone using a fake GSTIN, you can file a complaint with the GST Department by contacting them on:
- GST Complaint mail id: https://selfservice.gstsystem.in/ or firstname.lastname@example.org
- GST Helpline Number: 011-23370115 or 0124-4688999 or 0120-4888999
Consequences of using a Fake GSTIN
The CGST Act lists down 21 offences out of which three are related to the use of wrong/ incorrect GSTIN. Such offences are:
- Making a supply without invoice or with false/ incorrect invoice
- Failure to register despite being liable to be registered
- Using some other person’s GSTIN to issue an invoice or any document
These offences can lead to penalisation and prosecution of the offender. If a person is caught in any of the above offences, he can be asked to pay a penalty up to 100% of the tax evaded or Rs 10,000, whichever is higher. And a person who aids the offender in committing any of the above-mentioned offences can be asked to pay a penalty up to Rs 25,000.
In addition to the penalties mentioned earlier, the offender can also face jail time in any of the following cases:
- If the tax evaded is between Rs 100 lakhs and 200 lakhs, the offender can be imprisoned for up to 1 year
- If the tax evaded is between Rs 200 lakhs and 500 lakhs, the offender can be imprisoned for up to 3 years
- If the tax evaded exceeds Rs 500 lakhs, the offender can be imprisoned for up to 5 years