Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN

Last Update Date : April 29, 2019
Estimated Read Time: 5 min

What is TIN

In the pre-GST indirect tax system, TIN or Tax Identification Number was the unique identification number assigned to the registered taxpayers. In the GST regime, TIN has been replaced by GSTIN. In this comprehensive guide by earlyGST, you will learn all about TIN and how GSTIN has replaced it.

What is a TIN Number?

Tax Payer Identification Number is widely known as the TIN number. It is also commonly known by other names like VAT Number or CST Number, or Sales Tax Number. It is a unique number that is assigned by the Commercial Tax Department of the respective states. It is used to identify all the registered VAT dealers and for conducting inter-state as well as intra-state sales. TIN consists of eleven digit number which was mentioned in all VAT transactions and correspondence. First two digits indicate the issued state code and other 9 digits of TIN differ depending on state governments registering it.

Who should get a TIN Number?

Businesses selling goods or products say manufactures, exporters, shopkeepers, dealers, e-commerce, etc. were mandatorily required to have a TIN number or VAT registration. Basically, you required a TIN number if you were dealing in the VAT eligible products. In most of the states, TIN was generally required when your turnover crossed Rs 5 lakhs in a year. But even before commencing a business, you were required to have a valid TIN number. Let’s say, if you wanted to start an e-commerce business in the pre-GST era and wanted to sell your products on popular marketplaces like Myntra or Paytm or Amazon, you needed a TIN number.

Documents Required to Apply for a TIN Number

Generally, each state had its own rules and regulations regarding the kind of documents required to apply for the TIN number, but the following are the common documents required for applying for the TIN number:

  • ID proof/address proof/PAN card of proprietor along with 4 to 6 photographs
  • Copy of personal address proof like (Aadhaar card/Voter ID/Passport/Driving License)
  • Copy of firm’s address proof (electricity bill/gas bill/rent agreement/sale deed)
  • Surety/security/reference
  • First sale/purchase invoice
  • Copy of LR/GR payment/collection proof with the bank statement

How to Apply for TIN Number in India?

Application facility for TIN number was available online on the government’s website as well as offline in government’s facilitation centres across the country. As already discussed, rules and regulations vary from state to state. Here are some common steps described below:

  1. First of all, the applicant was required to find the respective State Government VAT department website.
  2. In most of the states, the initial procedure was online throughout the website, so the applicant had to create a unique login on the VAT portal.
  3. After creating the login id, the applicant had to fill up the application with basic details and upload the basic documents which are mentioned above.
  4. After filing the application form, the respective application was verified by the officer post which, a provisional certification and TIN number were issued to the applicant.
  5. After the provisional TIN number was issued, the Government department officer visited the premise and verified the location of the premise and issued final certification.

What’s the Difference between PAN, TAN, TIN, and GSTIN?

PAN or Permanent Account Number

  • PAN or Permanent Account Number is the unique identification number which must be declared by individuals carrying out monetary transactions exceeding Rs 50,000 in value.
  • It is required for payment of tax, tax demand, loans, assessment, or anything related to it.
  • A PAN is necessary for anyone who is liable to pay taxes, including TDS payments and other specific transactions.
  • Tax Deduction and Collection Account Number, commonly known as TAN is a 10 digit alphanumeric number required to be obtained by all persons who are responsible for deducting or collecting the tax.
  • However, a person who is required to deduct tax under section 194-IA can use PAN in place of TAN as he is not required to obtain TAN.
  • TAN is issued by the Income Tax department to all persons who are responsible for deducting tax at source (TDS) or who are required to collect tax at source (TCS).

Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN

  • Taxpayer Identification Number or TIN number is an eleven digit number designed for all the exporters/manufactures/dealers/wholesalers etc. carrying out inter-state as well as intra-state transactions.
  • It is controlled by the Commercial Tax department.

GSTIN or GST Identification Number

  • GSTIN is a 15 digit alphanumeric code given to each taxpayer in the country. It is state-wise and based on PAN number.


  • PAN and TAN are generally used for Income Tax purposes whereas, TIN or VAT was used for Sales Tax or other indirect taxes. GSTIN is used for GST.
  • PAN and TAN are issued by the Income Tax department whereas, TIN was issued by the Commercial Tax Department of India and GSTIN was issued by the CBIC.
  • PAN is like a universal number used for all business transactions whereas, TAN is an account to streamline TDS and TCS. TIN is a system to track all VAT/Sales Tax related activities in the country under one account.

How has GSTIN replaced TIN Number?

Before commencement of GST, when purchasing goods or products, you were usually presented a bill with TIN number mentioned on it. TIN was mandatory for all. But now, as the scenario is different and GST has subsumed all the indirect taxes, GSTIN has replaced TIN or VAT number. All the business entities registered under GST are provided with a unique identification number known as GSTIN or GST Identification Number. It is a 15 digit alphanumeric code given to each taxpayer in the country.

Note: Consumers must always check and make sure that the GSTIN given in bill by the trader is genuine. Some dealers may put some random numbers and charge you GST.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Was I required to make any security deposit to obtain TIN?

A. Most of the states required a fixed amount as a security deposit in terms of bank guarantee or fixed deposit. It was a refundable amount which was refunded after the cancellation of the registration.

Q. Do existing taxpayers under Central Excise/Service Tax/State VAT have to apply for fresh registration under GST?

A. They have to mandatorily switch to GST and apply for GSTIN.

How can earlyGST help you?

After the implementation of GST, the tax compliance requirements changed drastically. As a result, several businesses find it challenging to focus on their business while trying to be GST compliant. This is where we come into the picture. Our team of in-house GST experts can help you meet all the GST compliance requirements right from registration and filing of returns to handling notices.

We hope, this guide answers all the questions you had about TIN. If you still have any question in mind, you can post it on our TaxForum to get it answered from a tax expert.

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CA Chetan Shinde
CA Chetan Shinde
Chetan is the Lead Tax Advisor at H&R Block (India) with an experience of almost half a decade in audit and taxation. His professional areas of interest are GST advisory and statutory audit. Apart from taxation, he is passionate about social causes and works extensively towards rural school development and literacy.