Make sure your GST invoice is genuine

GST bills have a complex structure and they require increased
attention to details to ensure they are valid under GST. Checking the GSTIN number is
the first thing to start with. Read along to find out more.

Lack of knowledge and understanding of GST rules among buyers might lead to receiving unauthentic or inaccurate GST bills from shopkeepers and businesses. Lots of buyers do not pay enough attention to the GSTIN number of their seller, which creates favorable conditions for imposture.

Difference between trading with registered and unregistered sellers

There can be two types of businesses: registered and unregistered. A GST registered business has a valid GSTIN number while an unregistered business does not have one and does not trade under the GST rules.

A valid GST invoice issued by GST registered sellers has a GSTIN number, a place of supply and a breakdown of the GST rate into CGST and SGST or IGST. Not all taxpayers have to register under GST, businesses with a turnover less than INR 25 lakh are not obligated to do so. This means that the sellers you are doing business with might still be registered under traditional taxation.

When a registered business trades with an unregistered one, the tax liability falls on the registered business. In some cases, unregistered businesses charge GST and do not transfer it to the government, so it’s important to keep track of their GSTIN number and make sure it is a genuine one by checking it on the government website.

What to do if a seller issues you an old type of invoice?

If you receive an old bill with VAT, TIN or CST number instead of GSTIn but with a breakup of the applicable tax rate into CGST, SGST or IGST, then you can refuse the bill and log a complaint against the seller who practices this. If a business does not display the GSTIN number on the bill then this bill is considered void and it will not be valid. For more clarifications on this, you can directly approach the tax department or go to consumer forums for more details.

What is the GSTIN structure? Know your GSTIN number

For all registered businesses, issuing invoices with a GSTIN number is mandatory, whether it is a permanent one or a provisional one.

A valid GSTIN has 15 digits and is a unique number across the country. GSTIN is made up of: 2 digits: Each state has a unique code under GST. The first 2 digits of each GSTIN represent the state code of the business. Here is a list of all the state codes:

2-digit State Code

State Name

Jammu And Kashmir


Himachal Pradesh














Uttar Pradesh






Arunachal Pradesh














West Bengal








Madhya Pradesh




Daman And Diu


Dadra And Nagar Haveli




Andhra Pradesh






Lakshadweep Islands




Tamil Nadu




Andaman And Nicobar Islands




Andhra Pradesh (New)


Next 10-Digits: These represent the 10 digit PAN number of a business or taxpayer;

3th Digit: This is based on the number of registration in a particular state and is assigned accordingly.

14th Digit: Is represented by the letter Z by default;

15th Digit: This is a checksum digit for the tax department’s use. Can be a number or a letter.

Check GSTIN: Check the authenticity of GST invoices

Since one of the most important aspects of a GST invoice is having a valid GSTIN number on it, you can make sure your bill is authentic by searching the GSTIN number on the government GST portal. Here’s a step by step guide for doing that:

1. Go to the government portal here and enter the GSTIN number:

2. Enter the captcha and click on the ‘Search’ button:

3. You will get a page display with all the registration details of the company, including registration status and location.

What does the message displayed after searching for GSTIN mean?

Message displayed

GSTIN status

The GSTIN / UIN that you have entered is invalid. Please choose a valid GSTIN / UIN

Invalid GSTIN

If these details are shown: legal name of business, state, date of registration, private or public ltd company, partnership or sole-proprietor


Active pending verification

Valid GSTIN (Provisional GSTIN issued)

Taxpayer type

Regular, composition scheme, UIN holder, TDS deductor etc

Note: If the taxpayer type shows composition, then the shop owner is not eligible to charge GST from its customers

To see if you were charged at the appropriate GST rate for the goods / services you bought, you can check the GST rate list available from the government

GST Explained

GST, short for Goods and Services tax, is a new tax that will be imposed on the sale and purchase of goods and services in India. GST is meant to replace all taxes in India with a single unified tax applied to value addition instead of the total value of the product at each stage in the supply chain.

This method provides credit for the input tax paid on the purchase of goods and services, which can be offset with the tax to be paid on the supply of goods and services. As a result, this reduces the overall manufacturing cost, with the end customer paying less.

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With certain current taxes remaining, the following goods and services will be fully or partially exempted from the GST

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Free movement of goods: Business owners will be able to sell more in other states without having to worry about interstate transaction costs. With GST, the entry tax will be eliminated, which will save time and money spent.

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Currently, there are many indirect taxes that both the state and central governments are collecting on every purchase and sale.

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The GST will follow a similar model with the one before it

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GST will have a 4-tier tax structure

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One of the main reasons for GST being introduced in India is the tax burden that falls both on companies and consumers. With the current tax system, there are multiple taxes added at each stage of the supply chain, without taking credit for taxes paid at previous stages. As a result, the end cost of the product does not clearly show the actual cost of the product and how much tax was applied. This cascading structure is too complex and inefficient.

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For inter-state transactions, the Centre will levy Integrated GST (IGST), which is equal to the average of the CGST and SGST rates. After applying IGST, CGST and SGST credits received from purchases, the seller will then pay the remaining IGST on the added value.

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Businesses with turnover revenue of 20 lakhs and above will have to register and file for GST returns, with a threshold of 10 lakhs for businesses in the north east and hill states.

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A combination of CGST and SGST will be applied to the import of goods and services that come to India. Tax benefits and credits will be given to the state where the imported goods and services are consumed.

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