Learn everything about GSTIN, DSC and DIN including the purpose, registration process, cost, documents required, and steps to start your application

What is GSTIN?

Goods and Service Tax Identification Number (GSTIN) is a unique 15 digit number assigned to a dealer or service provider by the tax department.

Before GST, a dealer had to get registered under state VAT laws, and a service provider had to get registered under Central Board of Excise and Custom (CBEC).

After the Government of India rolled-out GST, both dealers and service providers are registered under a single authority for compliance and administrative purpose and assigned a unique identification number called GSTIN.

Should I register for GST?

GST registration is mandatory in most of the states for businesses having an aggregate annual turnover of more than Rs 20 lakhs per year.

Also, businesses involved in inter-state supply, online commerce, import/export are required to obtain GST registration mandatorily irrespective of annual aggregate turnover.

Hence it would be best if you registered for GST for compliance purpose.

What is the structure of GSTIN?

GSTIN is an identification number, comprising of 15 characters as shown below:

29  AAFCC7831F  1  Z  M

#1 First two digit represents the state code. State code may vary between 01 to 37. Some example state codes are 01 for Jammu and Kashmir, 02 for Himachal Pradesh, 03 for Punjab, 07 for Delhi and 29 for Karnataka 29.

#2 The next ten characters represent the PAN number of the company.

#3 The next one character (i.e., 13th digit) represents the number of registrations that the company is having in the state. This is useful for a large company with many verticals that needs to register each of its verticals for GST in the state. For the second registration, digit two would be used, for the third registration digit, three would be used and so on. For 10th registration, letter A would be used, and for 35th registration, letter Z would be used.

#4 The next one character (i.e., character 14th) has been kept for future use and would have a default value of Z.

#5 The last character (15th character) is a checksum character to detect any error in GSTIN number. It is calculated based on the value of the first 14 characters.

How to apply for GSTIN?

Following are the two ways to register for GST:

  1. via GST online portal
  2. via GST Seva Kendra – GST registration offices set up by the Government of India

You would need following documents to register for GST:

  • Permanent Account Number (PAN) of the business
  • Your mobile phone number and email
  • Copy of bank statement
  • Address proof: Copy of landline/electricity bill/water bill, rent agreement (if rented premise) and NOC from the landowner
  • If you are a private limited company: company registration certificate, MOA & AOA, board resolution, PAN and ID proof of directors
  • If you are a Limited Liability Partnership: partnership registration certificate, LLP Partnership agreement, board resolution, PAN and ID proof of partners
  • If you are a partnership: Partnership deed, PAN and ID proof of partners
  • If you are a Sole Proprietorship / Individual ownership: a declaration to comply with GST provisions

Once you apply for GST registration, it would take around ten working days for you to get GSTIN with GST registration certificate.

You can check the status of your GST registration application by visiting the GST portal. You need to select Services -> Registration -> Track Application Status and enter ARN number of GST registration application.

What is the cost of obtaining GSTIN?

Registering for GST and obtaining GSTIN is free of cost.

How do I check if a GST number is valid?

Visit the GST portal to check if a GST number is valid. You need to select Search Taxpayer -> Search by GSTIN/UIN and enter GST number that you want to verify.

For a valid GST number, you would be able to see all the information about the business, including legal name, date of registration and details of GST return filing.

What is DSC?

You can use a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) to verify your identity electronically. It secures information that you exchanged during an online transaction in such a way that (i) the data is not changed in transit, and (ii) only the intended recipient can read it.

For companies with annual revenue of more than Rs 1 crore, it’s mandatory to use DSC to file their returns online through Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) website. Even to register for GST, a company needs DSC. Furthermore, the MCA has made it mandatory for companies to file all reports, applications, amendments, and forms using a DSC only.

Is Digital Signature mandatory for ITR?

Yes, Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is mandatory for filing income tax returns if your company’s annual revenue is more than Rs 1 crore or your individual income is more than Rs 25 lakh.

What is Class 2 and Class 3 Digital Certificate?

For Class 2 Digital Certificate, your identity is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database and you can download the certificate after verification.

For Class 3 Digital Certificate, you need to present yourself in front of a Registration Authority for identity verification.

How to apply for DSC?

You can get a DSC through the Certifying Authority, licensed by the Government of India, such as eMudra Limited. You may click here to apply for a DSC through eMudra.

Other certifying authorities include Code Solutions, National Informatics Centre and Safescrypt.

To apply for DSC, you would need identity and address proof along with duly filled application form. You can use PAN Card for identity proof and water/ electricity/driving license/passport for address proof.

It would take around 1-7 days for you to get your Digital Certificate. The validity of the certificate could be for 1-3 years.

What is the cost of DSC?

DSC will cost you around Rs 1000 – 2,500 depending on whether you are taking for individual use or your company and will depend on validity year and class for the digital certificate. Click here for pricing by eMudra.

What is DIN?

You will need a Director Identification Number (DIN) if you are going to be appointed as a director of a company. For a new company, you need to file form SPIC, and for an existing company, you need to file form DIR-3 to Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).

Your PAN card is mandatory to file for DIN. You would also be required to attach your address proof to the duly filled application form.

DIN application form would cost your Rs 500.

You can apply for DIN through Ministry of Corporate website here.

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