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What is a Fake GST Invoice? Here Is How You Can Verify The GSTIN And GST Tax Rates

Updated on :  

08 min read.

A Goods and Services Tax (GST) invoice or a GST bill is a list of goods sent or services provided, along with the amount due for payment. Every registered business under GST must issue an invoice that contains a valid GSTIN, and further show the breakup of Integrated GST, Central GST and State GST. Also, it is important to know the particulars of an invoice and check whether the issued GST invoice is genuine or not.

Format of GST invoice

A tax invoice under GST usually has 16 mandatory fields and typically looks like below:

GST invoice

How to identify a fake GST invoice?

Hence, if any of the vital information required in a GST invoice is missing, it can be a fake invoice. For Example, 

(i) If a trader issues a GST invoice without GSTIN, it would be considered a fake invoice. 

(ii) If a business has not been registered under GST but uses a fake GSTIN on the invoice and charges GST, it will also be considered a fake invoice as the tax paid will not get deposited with the government.

The image below helps identify the correct format of a GSTIN:

GSTIN format

A GSTIN is a 15 digit unique code assigned to each taxpayer, which is PAN-based and allocated state-wise.  If there is any change in the structure of this number, it can be easily identified as a fake number. However, just because a GSTIN is mentioned in the correct format does not mean that the GSTIN is valid or belongs to the enterprise issuing the invoice.  

This article further discusses how to identify a fake GSTIN and cross-check the tax rates charged on the invoice.

How to verify the GSTIN entered on a GST invoice to check whether it is genuine or fake?

If a customer finds something suspicious with an invoice, you can easily verify the authenticity of any GSTIN with ClearTax in the below ways:

Also, one can follow the steps below on the GST portal to check if the GSTIN mentioned on the invoice is correct:

Step 1: Go to https://www.gst.gov.in and click on ‘Search Taxpayer’ and ‘Search by GSTIN/UIN’

GSTIN search

Step 2:  Input the GSTIN and then click ‘Search’. If the GSTIN is correct, the below screen will be displayed with the name of the company, state, date of registration, etc.

GSTIN search

However, if the GSTIN is incorrect, the message will be displayed as  “The GSTIN/UIN that you have entered is invalid. Please enter a valid GSTIN/UIN.”

Note: Even if the portal displays the message as ‘Active pending verification’, the GSTIN is valid. It just means that the establishment has applied for GSTIN, and the current number is provisional.

How to check if the GST rate charged by a supplier applies to you?

After verifying the genuineness of the GSTIN, a customer needs to check the correctness of the GST rate charged. The customer can verify the GST rate by visiting the GST rate chart on the CBIC portal.You can also search either by HSN code or by product name using ClearTax’s “HSN Code List & GST Rate Finder”.

rate chart

Note: If you are searching by product name, ensure that it falls under the correct HSN code, as several products with the same name could have different HSN codes, based on their description, and hence have multiple tax rates.

Related Articles

Invoicing Under GST

GST Number Search Online – Verify GSTIN

GSTIN Number Search by Name

HSN Code List & GST Rate Finder

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