In its current format, India’s GST is significantly different from the GST which is applicable in 150 odd countries. Although it is fundamentally different from the previous mind-numbing taxation structure and has had numerable benefits, people are finding it difficult to navigate through GST. The earlier taxes such as CST, VAT and Service tax have been subsumed under one tax law to be governed by single taxation authority. Subsequently, the multiple identification numbers have been replaced by a single registration number - GSTIN.

The GSTIN stands for Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (not a code a normal Joe can’t crack). The GSTIN is a state-wise PAN-based 15-digit alpha-numeric identification number. Earlier, any dealer registering under the VAT law would be assigned a personal TIN (i.e. Taxpayer Identification Number) by the Commercial tax department of the respective state. Similarly, a service provider was assigned a Service Tax registration number by the CBEC.

Procedure to obtain GSTIN:

In accordance with provisions of sub-section (9) of section 25, GSTIN will be assigned to the taxpayers who have registered under GST. The taxpayers are required to submit an application electronically in Form REG-26. This should be duly signed or verified through EVC (Electronic Verification Code) in the manner specified in rule 1 at the common portal, either directly or through a Facilitation Centre notified by the Board or Commissioner.

The concerned officer upon submission of the form or after filling up of the said form, may assign a Unique Identity Number to the assessee and issue a certification in Form REG-06 within three working days from the date of submission of application. Here is a complete brief of the GST Identification Number:

  1. First two digits represent the state code according to the Indian Census 2011 which makes it mandatory for every state to have a unique two digit code.
  2. The next 10 digits are taken from the PAN number of the taxpayer.
  3. The 13th digit is assigned based on the number of registration within a state.
  4. The 14th digit is Z by default.
  5. The last digit is for check code.  

Businesses have to display their GST Identification Number in a visible manner and can get obtain the number by registering under GST.