GSTIN, short for Goods and Services Tax Identification Number is a unique 15 digit identification number assigned to every taxpayer ( primarily dealer or supplier or any business entity) registered under the GST regime.
Obtaining GSTIN and registering for GST is absolutely free of cost. Before GST was introduced, all dealers registered under the state VAT law were issued a unique TIN number by the respective state tax authorities; GSTIN has replaced the same. Business entities registering under GST are now provided with a unique identification number known as the GSTIN.
Structure of GSTIN
Every taxpayer under the GST regime is provided with a State + PAN-based 15-digit Goods and Services Taxpayer Identification Number (GSTIN). Here is the breakdown of the GSTIN format:
- The first 2 digits of the 15 digit GSTIN represents the state code.
- The next 10 digits are the PAN Number of the person or the business entity.
- The thirteenth digit is based on the number of registrations done by the firm within a state under the same PAN.
- The fourteenth digit will be the alphabet “Z” by default
- The last digit is called the check code to detect errors and can be denoted by either a number of an alphabet
If any legal entity or business firm has only one registration in the same state then the number “1” will be assigned as the 13th digit of GSTIN under its format. If the same company obtains one more or second registration in the same state itself, the thirteenth digit of GSTIN will be assigned as number ”2”. Similarly, the letter “B” will be assigned as the 13th digit of the GSTIN if the entity has done 11 registrations in the same state. In the same way, any legal entity 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 comes under the GST enrolment procedure. Once your GST application is approved by the concerned GST officer, a unique GSTIN is allocated. There are 2 ways to apply for GSTIN, viz.
- Log on to GST online portal https://services.gst.gov.in/services/quicklinks/registration
- Go to ‘New Registration’ and fill in the details such as your name, e-mail ID and mobile number in Part A of the application
- The portal will then verify your details by sending an OTP to your registered mobile and email
- After the completion of the verification process, you will receive an Application Reference Number (ARN) via mobile or email
- You can now fill Part B of the application using the ARN. The documents that you will need in this step include:
- Constitution of taxpayer
- Proof(s) of the location of the business
- Bank account details
- Authorization form
- In the next step, provide all the information and upload the required documents in the application and submit the application using DSC or Aadhaar OTP
Once you have submitted the Part B also, the GST officer will verify your application within 3 working days. The officer, after verification, can either approve your application, in which case you will receive your Certificate of Registration (Form GST REG 06), or the officer may ask for more information using the Form GST-REG-03.
The additional details must be provided within 7 working days. Once you have provided the details, the officer has the authority to reject the application providing reasons for the same in the Form GST-REG-05. If the GST officer finds the details provided by you genuine, then the application will be processed and you will receive a Certificate of Registration.
GST Seva Kendra
The second way to register for GSTIN is by visiting a GST Seva Kendra directly. The government has established a plethora of service centers or “Seva Kendras” to facilitate all things related to GST and for the ease of taxpayers as well. The government has set up the Seva Kendras to facilitate the migration to GST for many taxpayers. These taxpayers are the people who do not have access to or don’t have an idea of how to make use of the GST’s online portal.
How to Verify GSTIN?
There are many firms that produce invalid and fake GSTIN numbers just to charge extra money and avoid taxes under GST regulations. First of all, as per the regulations, every service provider/ trader charging GST to their customers has to print their GSTIN number on all their produced invoices. You can, however, check the validity of the GSTIN provided to you in case you are having some doubts.
Checking the validity of the GSTIN Number is quite easy; just follow the given below steps:
- Go to the GST Portal https://www.gst.gov.in/
- You will see a “Search Taxpayer” option on the menu bar
- Enter the GSTIN you wish to verify in the search box along with the captcha code provided to you.
- If the given GSTIN is a valid GST registered business as per the regulations of GST, 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
5. If the entered GSTIN is an invalid one, the website will display a message saying “error”
Benefits of getting a GSTIN
- Legal recognition of the business entity as a supplier of goods or services. This, in turn, helps in attracting more customers and grow business
- You will become more competitive than small businesses as purchasing from them will ensure input credit.
- A person who is having GSTIN can take input credit on their own purchases and input services
- No restrictions on interstate sales (it will be treated as casual taxable persons). Thus, the potential market for SMEs reach to the next level
- You can either register on e-commerce sites or open your own eCommerce website. This will again enhance the scope of business for a registered person
- GST registration will ensure that your business is compliant (because most returns are automated). This will result in a good GST rating of your firm and help to boost the business.