If you are reading this, chances are you are a provider of goods or services. You are probably wondering how the Goods and Services Tax (GST) works and how to navigate GST rules. For starters, you need to understand the importance of completing your online GST registration and getting a Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN).

What is GSTIN?

Your Goods or Services Tax Number or GSTIN is a unique identification number exclusive to you. Providers of goods or services get a GSTIN once they complete their GST online registration. Here’s what your GSTIN looks like:

  • The starting two digits of your GSTIN represent your state code. Every state in the country has its own state code.

  • The ten characters that follow represent your Personal Account Number (PAN).

  • The two digits after this denote the entity code. The entity code tells you how many registrations were carried out in the state.

  • The GSTIN ends with a check code, which is used to find errors.

Are you liable to get a GSTIN?

If your business crosses a turnover of Rs. 40 Lakh, you will be liable to register for a GST number. If you are situated in a special category state like Himachal Pradesh and parts of the North-East, you will be required to get a GSTIN if your turnover is over Rs. 20 Lakh. Here are a few scenarios that will call for a GST new registration:

  • If you happen to be a casual taxable person
  • Being the agent of a supplier
  • If your business is registered under another tax structure such as the Value Added Tax (VAT) structure
  • If you deal with the inter-state supply of services and goods
  • Acting as an operator or aggregator for E-commerce
  • If you happen to be an input service distributor
  • If you are making tax payments as per the reverse charge mechanism
  • Supplying through E-commerce aggregators
  • If your business is transferred or demerged

Why is it Important to apply for a GSTIN?

Here’s why it is crucial to get a GSTIN:

  • A GSTIN boosts your chances of being recognized as an authentic and credible supplier of goods and services. If your business operates with complete transparency and you file your GST returns in timely fashion without any issues, your chances of becoming increasingly credible in the eyes of the government go up.

  • Secondly, it helps make the process of claiming your Input Tax Credit easy for you. Unless you are evading taxes or making tax payments irregularly, you should not have a problem receiving income returns on the tax payments you make. Of course, you need to specify your GST number correctly in order to claim your Input tax credit.

  • As a provider of services and goods, inter-state transactions might be a priority for you. You need to make sure you are registered to a GSTIN to run inter-state transactions successfully.

How GST numbers are being Misused

As with most rules and protocols that are enforced, companies and individuals have managed to find a way around the GST system. As it turns out, numerous companies have managed to get away with fake GST invoices to get out of paying taxes. However, you should keep in mind that most of them get caught red-handed when the GST returns need to be filed, which is when irregularities in their tax payments begin to surface.

How do you perform a GST Number Search?

If you’ve registered your business and received a GSTIN, and the sheer number of companies that have been generating fake GST invoices, you need to know how to verify your GST number. Here’s how the GST number check works:

Search GST number Via PAN

Conducting a GST number search through the use of your Personal Account Number is a process that is easy to navigate. It is a three-step process, as described below:

  • Firstly, visit the GST portal online.
  • Then hit the ‘Search Taxpayer’ tab that you will find on the menu.
  • Then, click on the ‘Search by PAN’ option.

Conducting a GSTIN search by name

If you want to search GST numbers using a name, you may utilize tools like KnowYourGST or Masters India