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If you are a GST registered business in India, then you must be familiar with the GST Identification Number, shortened as GSTIN. It’s a unique 15-digit identification number assigned to all taxpayers and businesses. It replaced the previously existing TIN number and today is the only qualifier you will require for all matters related to indirect taxes in GST (Goods and Services Tax). Here, we take a look at GST number in detail – its meaning, format, how to apply for GSTIN, how to do a GST number check (search GSTIN) and more.

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Visit the official GST portal website for more details and search for GSTINs: //www.gst.gov.in/

What is GST number (GSTIN)?

The GST number is a unique identifier for any GST registered business or taxpayer. Popularly known as the GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number), it’s a 15-digit code that can be used to track transactions, make payments, file GST returns, claim Input Tax Credit and maintain overall GST compliance.

With the GST system replacing multiple indirect taxes, the need for maintaining numerous registration numbers is removed. Today the GSTIN number is the only number a business will require.

Note: This does not include other business licences, IEC codes etc.

GSTIN format:

The GST number format comprise of 15 alphanumeric characters. It is designed to capture and store essential information about the taxpayer. Let’s consider an example to understand the GSTIN format.

GST number format example:

27XXXXX1234X2Z5

Where:

State code (27): Represents the State Code (here 27 is the GST state code for Maharashtra)

PAN card (XXXXX1234X): Is the PAN card number of the taxpayer/business (e.g., manufacturer, trader, service provider etc.)

Entity code (2): Registration number of the entity in the state (unique to taxpayer)

Default (Z): Default set by system

Checksum (5): Check digit for error detection, can be number or alphabet (i.e., checksum to ensure GSTIN authenticity, calculated using a specific formula)

GSTIN number format

Why is GSTIN important?

The GST number simplifies taxation for businesses and the government. It enables businesses to operate across city/state borders, with all sales and purchase related transactions being captured on a single portal through the appropriate GSTINs.

Some of the benefits of GSTIN number are:

  • Supports the unification of tax structure across different states and cities, making it easier for taxpayers to conduct business seamlessly
  • Reduces scope of tax evasion, tax duplicity, and other tax related challenges
  • Removes the cascading effect of taxes as ITC claims can be made during returns filing using GSTIN number (Also read: GSTR-2B – How to ensure accurate ITC claims)
  • Helps to track all transactions (inwards and outwards supply of goods and services) and ensures compliance at every stage

How to get GST number?

The GST registration threshold limit has been increased to ₹40 lakhs (for goods) and ₹20 lakhs (for services) in annual turnover. As such, if your business is generating annual turnover above the mentioned numbers, you should register for GST and get your GST number.

Here are the steps to get your unique GST number:

  • Visit the official GST portal: //www.gst.gov.in/
  • Click on ‘Register’ button to begin the GST registration process
  • Enter the required details (e.g., Business type, state, PAN, Legal name of business) etc.
  • Attach the required documents for GST registration (e.g., photograph, address proof, bank account details, partnership deed, authorized signatory proof of appointment etc.)
  • Submit details wait for your application to be verified (Note: Get the acknowledgment number)

The GSTIN number will be issued once you business is registered and profile checked.

Alternatively, you can visit a GST Seva Kendra and avail their services in registering your business and getting a GSTIN.

How much does it cost to get a GSTIN number?

Registering for GST and getting a GSTIN is a free service and there are no charges or fees that you will have to pay to get it.

How to do GST number check?

If you want to check the validity of a particular GST number or search for it, you can do so by visiting the GST portal.

  • Visit the GST portal: //www.gst.gov.in/
  • Click on ‘Search Taxpayer’ on the main menu
  • Select ‘Search by GSTIN/UIN’ from the dropdown menu
  • Enter the GSTIN number of the taxpayer
  • Click ‘Search’ to view results

GST number

How to verify GST number?

Once you have secured your unique GSTIN you should ensure to verify it. Verifying GSTIN number is important as it will help to:

  • Build authenticity and credibility for your business (i.e., establish yourself as an authentic business hence making it safe for potential customers to do business with you)
  • Detect fraud easily as GSTINs will be unique
  • Claim Input Tax Credit accurately and avoid inaccuracies during reconciliation
  • File returns appropriately based on specific GSTINs
  • Generate correct GST e-Invoices with GST number details

Below we look at the steps to verify GSTIN on the portal.

GSTIN verify steps:

  • Visit the GST portal: //www.gst.gov.in/
  • Follow the path: Search Taxpayer > Search by GSTIN/UIN
  • Enter your GSTIN in the new page
  • Click ‘Search’

Once your business has been registered, your business details will be reflected here indicating the validity of your business entity. If your business is pending registration, you should alternatively track the status of your application.

FAQs

What does a 15 digit GST number mean?

GST number or GSTIN number is a 15 digit code. It is unique to every business/taxpayer and contains a mix of numbers and characters. It enables the government and business to track all transactions, tax payments, ITC claimed, return filed and all other GST related activities.

Once registered, one can download the GST registration certificate that will come with the 15 digit GST number.

What is the format of GST number?

The GST number is a 15 digit code. The first 2 digits represent the State Code, followed by the 10 digits of the Business/Taxpayer PAN card number. The next digit is the Entity Code in the state, followed by the alphabet ‘Z’ which is a default set by state. The last digit is a check sum number for checking the validity of the GSTIN.

*This article is for information only. For more details please visit the official GST website or consult with a GST practitioner or CA or tax consultant for professional advice.

Sohini Banerjee

Sohini is a seasoned content writer with 12 years’ experience in developing marketing and business content across multiple formats. At Tata nexarc, she leverages her skills in crafting curated content on the Indian MSME sector, steel procurement, and logistics. In her personal time, she enjoys reading fiction and being up-to-date on trends in digital marketing and the Indian business ecosystem.