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19 Sep 2017

Find out how to spot a fake GST bill

How do invoices look like post GST?

The format in which businesses issue invoices has changed post GST. Earlier, bills contained VAT, Taxpayer Identification Number and Central Sales Tax number.

Now, they have to carry the GST Identification Number (GSTIN) and the break-up of Central (CGST) and State (SGST) taxes.

But many unauthorized dealers are collecting GST from customers.

Here's how you can find out if the bill issued is correct.

In context

How do invoices look like post GST?

To start with, who are eligible for collecting GST?

Small businesses having a yearly turnover of less than Rs. 20L need not register for GST. For the seven northeastern states, J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, the limit is Rs. 10L. However, they can sign up voluntarily.

How have merchants been cheating customers?


How have merchants been cheating customers?

Merchants can't collect GST without mentioning GSTIN. If GSTIN is mentioned, the break-up of CGST and SGST has to be shown. For those who have applied for GSTIN but not yet received it, they have to use their provisional GSTIN.

Some have been collecting CGST and SGST with no GSTIN mentioned, only with their old TIN.

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What does the GSTIN look like?

The first two digits of the 15-character GSTIN are the state code, followed by the business' 10-figure PAN. The 13th digit will be the firm's state registration number, the 14th will be 'Z' (default), and the last, the 'check code', is for I-T's internal purposes.


How can you verify the authenticity of the GSTIN?

To check if a GSTIN is valid, log on to www.gst.gov.in, then click on 'Search taxpayer' and choose 'Search by GSTIN/UIN'.

Enter the GSTIN and 'Search'. If it is correct, details of the business will be displayed.

If the portal says 'Active pending verification', it is acceptable: it means GSTIN has been applied for.

In case of complaints, you can write to helpdesk@gst.gov.in.

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