Quoting of Document Identification Number (DIN) / Document Reference Number (RFN) is mandatory for States

In the evolving landscape of indirect taxation, the adoption of Document Identification Numbers (DIN) or Reference Numbers (RFN) has emerged as a pivotal element for ensuring transparency and accountability. Initially implemented by Central Tax Officers, the Supreme Court’s directive in 2022 propelled State Tax Officers to integrate the DIN system. This shift aims to bring uniformity and efficiency in tax communication, enhancing governance. Despite the legal framework and the potential benefits, only a handful of states have embraced this directive, underscoring the need for widespread implementation to achieve comprehensive and effective governance in the realm of indirect taxes.

Circular No. 128/47/2019-GST dated 23.12.2019, issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), marks a significant stride toward transparency. It mandates the inclusion of Document Identification Numbers (DIN) in all communications, including emails, sent to taxpayers nationwide. Notably, non-compliance with this electronic DIN requirement renders specified communications invalid. Intriguingly, while this directive found adherence among Central Tax Officers, the same commitment was notably absent among their counterparts, the State Tax Officers, revealing a disparity in the adoption of this crucial practice within the broader landscape of tax administration.

In the case of Pradeep Goyal v. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 320 of 2022 dated July 18, 2022], the esteemed Supreme Court ruled that the GST Council holds the authority to offer recommendations to states on all GST-related matters. Moreover, the GST Council is empowered to issue advisories to states, urging the implementation of the Document Identification Number (DIN) system. Emphasizing the broader public interest, the court expressed the view that adopting electronic DIN generation by State Tax Officers for all communications with taxpayers serves to enhance transparency and accountability in indirect tax administration, contributing significantly to good governance. The court explicitly directed the GST Council to issue advisory instructions and recommendations to states for the seamless integration of the electronic DIN system.

Further, in compliance with the above directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and in view of Government’s objectives of transparency and accountability in tax administration through use of information technology, a facility for electronic generation of DIN / RFN by the State Tax Officer has been developed by GSTN in few States:

State

Circular No. Clarification
Andhra Pradesh Circular No. 2 of 2022 dated 01.08.2022 No correspondence like notices, letters, mails, personal hearing notices etc., will be issued during any enquiry by any proper officer as defined under the acts on or after August 1st 2022, without a computer-generated document identification number.

Exceptional communication may be issued without an auto generated DIN (subject to regularization within 24 hours):

  • When there are technical difficulties in generating electronic DIN.
  • When communication regarding investigation/ enquiry, verification etc., is required to issue at short notice or in urgent situations and the authorized officer is outside the office in discharge of his official duties.

Any communication which does not bear the electronically generated DIN/Unique identification number shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.

Delhi Circular No. F.6 (4)/GST/Policy/2022/ 1122-A8 dated 29.11.2023 No search authorization, summons, arrest memo, inspection notices and letters issued in the course of any enquiry shall be issued by any officer or by any persons employed in the implementation of the Act without a computer generated DIN / RFN being duly quoted prominently in the body of such communication.

Exceptional communication may be issued without an auto generated DIN (subject to regularization within 15 days):

  • o When there are technical difficulties in generating electronic DIN.
  • o When communication regarding investigation/ enquiry, verification etc., is required to issue at short notice or in urgent situations and the authorized officer is outside the office in discharge of his official duties.

Any communication which does not bear the electronically generated DIN/Unique identification number shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.

Exemption:

  • With regard to notices orders and communications statutorily issued through the GST backend system by the SGST officers, and which is intended to be communicated to the Taxpayer through the GSTN Portal generation of DIN / RFN is exempted.
  • For VAT related documents, the functionality for generation of RFN is also available on DVAT Portal.
Karnataka Circular No. GST-02/2023-24 dated 23.05.2023
  • The tax officer can generate a RFN for the physically generated correspondence to be sent to taxpayers or other concerned persons.
  • All the officers are hereby instructed to generate RFN (Reference Number) in respect of all offline communication [physically generated communication] such as Notices, Adjournments, Orders, Reminders and RFN so generated shall be superscribed on the document.
Kerala Circular No 14/2023 dated 22.07.2023 Reference is made to Circular No. 8/2020 dated 04.08.2020 of the Commissioner of State GST

The State GST Department has transitioned from a Model 1 to a Model 2 back office system. In the Model 2 back office system, a special Reference Number (RFN) facility is used instead of DIN. Consequently, the circular instructions referred to above need to be modified accordingly.

No communication, including e-mails, shall be issued to taxpayers and other concerned individuals by any officer or person employed in the implementation of the Act without duly quoting a computer-generated Reference Number (RFN) prominently in the body of such communication.

Exceptional communication may be issued without an auto generated DIN (subject to regularization within 15 days):

  • When there are technical difficulties in generating electronic DIN.
  • When communication regarding investigation/ enquiry, verification etc., is required to issue at short notice or in urgent situations and the authorized officer is outside the office in discharge of his official duties.

Any communication which does not bear the electronically generated DIN/Unique identification number shall be treated as invalid and shall be deemed to have never been issued.

Exemption:

  • The generation of RFN is not required for notices, orders, and communications that are legally issued by SGST officials through the GST Model-2 back office system and are meant to be delivered to the taxpayer via the GSTN Portal. However, under no circumstances shall any manually issued message be eligible for this exemption.
West Bengal Trade Circular No. 01/2023 dated 29.03.2023 All communications under the WBGST Act and rules made thereunder by officers, not below the rank of State Tax Officer of any Charge / Circle / Large Taxpayer Unit/ Unit or Zone of Bureau of Investigation, as the case may be, shall contain an electronically generated WBGST DIN from the online system of the Directorate of Commercial Taxes excepting in the following cases:

  • when any such communication is made through the GSTN portal containing a unique reference number;
  • when any communication is made from the offices under the Directorate of Commercial Taxes other than any Charge/Circle/Large Taxpayer Unit/Unit or Zone under Bureau of Investigation;
  • when FORM GST MOV-01 and FORM GST MOV-02 are issued manually by the authorized officer who is outside the office while discharging his official duties.

Exceptional communication may be issued without an auto generated DIN (subject to regularization within 3 days):

  • When there are technical difficulties in generating electronic DIN.
  • When communication regarding investigation/ enquiry, verification etc., is required to issue at short notice or in urgent situations and the authorized officer is outside the office in discharge of his official duties.

Out of all the States, only five (5) States have issued a circular for generation of DIN / RFN in the communications / notice issued by them.

Conclusion: The move towards the electronic generation of Document Identification Numbers (DIN) or Reference Numbers (RFN) in State Tax communications is a significant step towards transparency and accountability in the indirect tax administration. While the Supreme Court has provided a legal framework, only a handful of states have fully embraced this initiative. Uniform adoption of the DIN system across all states is crucial for achieving the desired goals of efficient governance and enhanced accountability in tax administration.

Author Bio

Qualification: CA in Job / Business
Company: N/A
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Member Since: 20 Jul 2021 | Total Posts: 16
I was enrolled as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in 2016. I have experience of almost 6 years in the field of Indirect Tax. Working as a CA in services associated at a CA Firm handling compliance, advisory, automation and litigation related matters pertaining to GST and View Full Profile

My Published Posts

Join Taxguru’s Network for Latest updates on Income Tax, GST, Company Law, Corporate Laws and other related subjects.

Join us on Whatsapp

taxguru on whatsapp GROUP LINK

Join us on Telegram

taxguru on telegram GROUP LINK

Download our App

  

More Under Goods and Services Tax

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search Posts by Date

February 2024
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829