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The imposition of Goods and Service Tax proclaiming ‘One nation, one tax’ has indeed fulfilled its agenda of unifying all diverse taxations under one single head. GST being a nascent regime has left certain loopholes for evaders.

One such glitch is the issue of unauthentic or improper bills to the customers throughout the nation. It is the lack of awareness which is causing all the menace for the customers as a whole.

Let’s walk through certain essential cheat codes which will smoothen your buying experience:

How To Identify Outlets Which Are Not Eligible And Still Charging GST

It is not mandatory for every shop in India to get themselves enrolled under GST by securing a unique GST Identification Number.

There are certain criteria for enrollment; the following are kept out of the GST ambit:

  • Small Businesses, whose all- India annual turnover is below Rs. 20 lakh
  • A business with all- India annual turnover is upto 10 lakh, situated in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and the Northeastern States.

However, such businesses have the liberty to voluntarily opt to register even if their annual turnover is below the threshold limit.

This provision has created much confusion. There are few businesses which are not eligible and nor registered, yet collect GST from their customers and do not pass on such receipts to the government.


What Should You Check For In Invoices
As a GST informed customer, make sure you seek an authentic invoice before any purchases. Make sure:

  • Invoices are not according to the old format, bearing VAT(Value Added Tax) or CST (Central Sales Tax) or TIN( Taxpayer Identification Number)
  • At times invoices bear VAT/ CST along with CGST and SGST, which is a wrong imposition of taxation.
  • Make sure the invoices are charged with GSTIN showing a clear breakup of Central GST and State GST.

However, a common malpractice which is discovered is, that many shopkeepers are charging CGST and SGST without any reference of GSTIN. In their defense, they take a plea that they have applied for GSTIN and will transfer the proceeds to the government, on its approval.

GST number is not yet verified! Is it a legitimate pretext?

No, businesses are rather expected to use their provisional GSTIN to file returns, issue invoices etc. Since the final GSTIN number issued will be the same as GSTIN provisional number; there will be no retrospective alterations.

How to verify the GSTIN in Invoices

You can determine the authenticity of any suspicious bill you come across. Check if the GSTIN mentioned is correct by:

1. Log on to https://www.gst.gov.in

2. Under the ‘Search Taxpayer’ tab, click on ‘search by GSTIN/UIN’

3. Enter the GSTIN.

4. If GSTIN is invalid/ incorrect, the following will be displayed: The GSTIN/UIN that you have entered is invalid. Please enter a valid GSTIN/UIN.

5. If GSTIN is valid, it will display the following details:

However, at times the status will be ‘Active pending Verification’. It depicts that the number is the provisional GSTIN number issues to the business owner, thereby proving an authentic GST registration.

What does the GSTIN Depict?

Are you curious to decode the 15 digit GSTIN number, allotted by the authorities?

Follow the breakup:



  • The first two digits: 22

It represents the State Code. Every state has a unique code. For Delhi, it is 07.

  • The next 10 digits: AAAAA0000A

It represents the PAN numbers of the businesses.

  • The 13th digit: 1

It is assigned based on the number of registration within a state.

  • The 14th digit: Z

It is Z by default

  • The last digit: 5

It can either be a number or an alphabet for check code.

In case you discover any business owner or a shopkeeper evading GST, or any discrepancy in the invoices issued, or in case of any other concern, as an aware consumer, you can raise a complaint by writing to helpdesk@gst.gov.in.

Click here to Know the Role of GST Practitioner?


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  1. P V Kannan says:

    Nice article. But, how to make sure that the GST that is collected from us is deposited with the government treasury. Is there a way out to check this. You will please note that many of the hotels all over IIndia, specially the ones on the high ways give only a thermal paper print out of the bills which is discarded by the customer once they step out of the hotel. Wonder if the entire tax that is collected by the hotels are indeed remitted by them.

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July 2024