Document Identification Number (DIN) a new mandate for Investigation by the GST Department
Seeing this circular was being issued by the department, the first thing that comes in our mind is a prominent film where some fake officers enter premises of some leading business showing search warrant which in the end turns out to be fake. Our government has plugged that loophole in the system and has issued Circular No. 122/41/2019-GST which mandates in case of all the search authorisation, summons, arrest memo, inspection notices and letters issued in the course of enquiry to quote unique Document Identification Number (DIN). This issuance of DIN is mandated by the board under the power conferred under section 168(1) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act and is made effection from 8th November 2019
It is a well-known fact that some or the other way government is trying to digitalize the communications that are being made with assessee. We have already seen the fair amount of digitization in the case of Income Tax where all the notices are being issued by with the document identification number. We are finding many summons, investigations and arrests that are taking place and with great power comes great responsibility. Hence when such wide powers are being exercised by the officier, there is a need to keep check upon them whether such use is proper or not and there is no abuse of power.
1) Prominent Mention of DIN
DIN is to be prominently mentioned on search authorization, summons, arrest memo, inspection notices and notices issued in the case of any enquiry. DIN is to be generated on the website of www.cbicddm.gov.in. DIN can be issued from the login of the empowered officer after of entering the details of the communication and type of the document after verification of OTP.
2) Ensures authenticity and genuineness of the documents
We are finding that many numbers of Summons and notices are being issued from Non-official e-mail ids. After the implementation of this system, there can be surety regarding the genuineness of such summons. Any validly generated DIN would be available on www.cbic.gov.in, and any person can verify the authenticity of the documents so issued by the department.
3) Post facto generation of DIN in exceptional circumstances
There is also a provision wherein such documents can be issued without the generation of the DIN, but that should happen only in exceptional cases and it would be done by way of recording reasons in writing namely technical difficulties and shortage of time. Even in such cases, the document would be required to be regularised by generation of DIN within 15 days from the issue of the document.
4) No DIN no Validity
It would also be essential to note that any of the above-mentioned documents are being issued by the department without bearing DIN, such documents would be treated as invalid to the extent that they were never issued. Hence, in the case of enquiry proceedings every assessee should verify this DIN to identify whether proceedings are genuine or are merely harassment.
5) Digital Trail and Audit
Where such mandatory issuance of DIN would now bring audit trail of such documents that are being issued. It would be pertinent to note that issuance of search warrants there should be a reason to believe. Hence, after the introduction of DIN if such kind authorisations are being given without recording of reasons to believe at the time of issuance can be quashed during litigation.
6) Format of DIN
The composition of DIN can be identified as follows
CBIC-YYYY MM ZCDR NNNNNN
YYYY- denoted the calendar year in with the documents is being issued
MM – Denotes the month in which the document is being issued
ZCDR- Zone Commisionerate Division Range code of the field information
NNNNNN- 6 digit alphanumeric random number
1) Not binding on State GST Departments
It is interesting to note that this circular is being issued under the powers conferred under the CGST Act. What is important to note is that SGST departments are also having investigation wings, but they are not being covered under this circular. We have already seen ample of cases where once Central GST Department has conducted investigation, and for the same issue state has conducted the investigation. We see a dream of one nation one tax then issuance of DIN should be made compulsory for both departments not only one. However bringing all the state departments on one portal of CBIC would be a technical challenge.
2) Issuance of DIN should be made compulsory for all the notices or letters that are issued by the Jurisdictional offices
This compulsion of Issuance of DIN is only for the investigation cases. However there is no such requirement in the case of the typical letters or notices issued by the jurisdiction not to mention again mostly sent from non-offical mail ids. Such compulsion of issuance of DIN should be mandated to them also.