Most small and medium enterprises do not want to opt for a GSTIN to avoid the compliance cost that comes with it. However, it is very difficult for businesses to operate without a GST number as nobody wants to deal with an unregistered dealer. This ultimately leads to fake GSTINs being printed on an invoice by such dealers.
GST offers various benefits to businesses and a very important benefit is input tax credit. However, for a business to smoothly avail input tax credit, just being compliant is not enough. It also needs to ensure that its business partners i.e. vendors/suppliers are also GST compliant. If they are not registered under GST and use fake GSTIN on their invoices, your business can face problems while filing GST returns and it will not be able to claim input tax credit. Therefore, it is important for you to verify the GSTIN of all your vendors/suppliers.
It’s an important point to know that GSTIN is of 15 characters which is a combination of numbers and characters. These 15 digits are broken into 5 parts as follows:
[ Read: What is GSTIN? ]
Verifying GST Identification Number online is a very simple procedure. First, you need to check the GST Identification Number on the receipt. It’s 100% mandatory to mention GST number on the invoice or bill. If someone is charging GST, without mentioning the GSTIN, then it’s illegal. Earlier it was service tax registration number / VAT TIN number, now its GSTIN which must be mandatorily put on the invoice.
Although you can verify GSTIN of any person on the GST common portal, the task could be tedious if the list is long. As a business, you may have a long list of vendors and you may want to verify their GST numbers to avoid any trouble while filing returns. H&R Block gives you access to an advanced GSTIN Verification Tool which can help you verify GST Identification Numbers in bulk. You can either verify the numbers yourself or share the complete list with us and we will do it for you.
Some businesses still don’t have the registration number confirmed, but they have the provisional GSTIN with them, so you can also check the provisional GSTIN online and verify them.
Some shopkeepers and business owners are playing the trick of “I have already applied for GSTIN, Its not yet approved?” This is to give a feeling to customer that they are rightfully charging GST. But this is again a fraud. When they apply for GSTIN, they get a provisional GSTIN anyways and they need to either put a GSTIN or provisional GSTIN on the invoice/bill. Don’t fall for this trap and demand to see the GSTIN.
The offences relevant to fake GSTIN are as follows:
For all the three cases above the highest penalty leviable shall be 100% of the tax evaded or Rs 10,000 whichever is higher. In a case where any person aids in committing these offences the penalty may extend up to Rs 25,000.
|Tax amount evaded||Imprisonment|
|100 to 200 Lakhs||Upto 1 year and fine|
|200 to 500 Lakhs||Upto 3 years and fine|
|Above 500 Lakhs||Upto 5 years and fine|
[ Read: Offences and Penalties under GST ]
GST department has dedicated the helplines for you to complain or ask any queries regarding GST. Here are the emails and phone numbers:
A. A person must apply for registration within 30 days of becoming liable to registration.
A. If the person is registered under GST and has been allotted a GSTIN, it is mandatory to print the GSTIN on the invoice issued.
A. Count the number of digits of the GSTIN. If it is not 15 digits, then it is definitely fake.