Online GST registration process: Step-by-step guide

For businesses to pay taxes in India, they must first obtain their unique GST number. GST refers to the ‘Goods & Services Tax’ structure that was implemented in India on the 1st of April in the year 2010.


A company must go through the online GST registration process by filling in the application form with all the necessary details. The GST number is a unique 15-digit number that is assigned to a business after successful registration.


If your business is operating in different states within the country or has different branches, then you must also register separate GST numbers for them.

Eligibility criteria for GST registration


GST registration for businesses is mandatory if you are a supplier of goods and your turnover is more than 40 lakhs Indian rupees.


There is an exception to this rule for northeastern states including Uttarakhand, J&K, and Himachal Pradesh where you must apply for a GST number if your turnover is more than Rs. 10 lakhs. 


When it comes to service providers, GST registration is mandatory for businesses with a revenue of Rs. 20 lakhs or above and Rs. 10 lakhs or above for certain special category states.


You must also have the following documents to ensure a smooth registration process:


• PAN (Permanent Account Number) card


• Aadhaar card


• Business address proof such as a utility bill like electricity or telephone bill. 


• Bank account statement and canceled cheque


• Incorporation Certificate or the business registration proof


• Digital Signature


• Director’s or Promoter’s ID proof, address proof, and passport size photographs


• Letter of Authorisation or Board Resolution from an Authorised Signatory

Who should register for GST?


There are certain businesses for whom the GST registration process is mandatory regardless of their turnover:



Casual taxable person/Input service distributor (ISD)

A casual taxable person is an individual who conducts business or supply of goods or services occasionally but does not have a fixed place of operation. An ISD is an entity that receives tax invoices for the supply of goods or services.


Non-resident taxable person

An individual who is a part of the supply of goods or services in India but is not a resident of the country must also register their business for a GST number to comply with the tax laws of the country. 


Interstate supplier of goods and services

A business that supplies goods or services outside its state of operations is known as an interstate supplier. If this type of business has multiple branches in different states, then they must register each branch for a unique GST number. 



Supplier of goods through an e-commerce portal

Any business selling and supplying goods or services through an e-commerce portal must also register for a GST number.


TDS/TCS deductor

If you are a business that deducts TDS (tax deducted at source) on payments or you are a business that collects tax at source (TCS - tax collected at source) then you must obtain a GST number. 


Online data access or retrieval service provider

Any business selling digital services or products online through information technology is also liable to pay taxes and register for GST.


Related read - Complete Guide to GST in India

What entities are exempted from GST registration?


There are certain types of businesses and individuals who are not required to register for GST:




People who do not fall in the tax-paying threshold

Businesses that do not earn revenue as per the turnover criteria need not register for GST. Although they can voluntarily complete the online GST registration process if they want to. 




People supplying goods and services that are exempt under the GST regime

There are many people who are involved in the business of supplying goods and services that are exempt under the GST tax law. These include


• Unprocessed food items like salt, eggs, milk, rice, vegetables, wheat, meat, fish, bread, cereals, etc


• Education


• Healthcare but not medicines


• Train travel by local and sleeper classes


• Hotels that have a rent of less than INR 1000



People making Non-Taxable/ Non-GST supplies of goods or services

Certain items such as alcohol for human consumption, electricity, natural gas, petroleum & crude petrol, high-speed diesel, and aviation fuel are non-taxable goods and services. 



People engaged in activities that do not include the supply of goods or services

There are certain businesses or professional activities that do not fall under the supply of goods and services and are hence exempt from GST. These activities include


• The services of a court or Tribunal 


• Services provided by an employee to the employer


• Funeral services


• The sale of land/building


• The functions and duties of government authorities, an individual having a constitutional position, and a person who is a Chairperson/Member/Director of a body. 



People making supplies that are only under the reverse charge mechanism

If a person is involved in the supply of goods or services that are charged with tax only under the reverse mechanism, then they need not register for GST. 




Agriculturists

People who are involved in supplying products cultivated on land are also exempt from GST registration. Other agricultural input services such as irrigation, fertilizers, and machinery are also exempted from GST tax laws. 


Suggested read - 6 benefits of GST registration in India for small businesses

What are the types of GST registration?


1. Normal taxpayer

A normal taxpayer is any business that falls under the regular tax laws of the country and is not a part of any other scheme or composition. This is most businesses within the country that fall under the turnover criteria to mandatorily register for GST.




2. Casual taxable person

A casual taxable person is part of a business that is seasonal or occasional in nature. So this type of business must only pay taxes equal to the seasonal operations of the business.


Such businesses are generally provided a tenure of 3 months for GST registration but they can also apply to extend this period or renew it. 




3. Composition taxpayer

Under the composition scheme, a business pays a fixed amount of GST regardless of what its turnover is.


This scheme can only be opted for by businesses that have annual revenue of up to INR. 10,000,000 in India. Companies choose this scheme when they see that it is monetarily beneficial for them. 



4. Non-resident taxable person

People and businesses that do not live in India but are involved in the supply of goods or services to people who reside within India are also liable to pay taxes as a non-resident conducting business.


The tenure issued to a non-resident taxable person for GST is 3 months. This can also be renewed or extended if needed. 

Benefits of GST registration for small businesses


Legal recognition of a business

Getting your business GST registration done under the GST tax laws in India greatly benefits in legitimizing your business entity.


Having a GST number helps you be legally recognized by authorities and other businesses to validate and prove you’re a real business. 



Uniform accounting of taxes

Before GST was introduced in India, the lax laws in the country were pretty confusing. Many states had their own tax structure making it tough for businesses to operate and manage all financial and accounting tasks for the same.


With GST, the entire country follows one tax structure making it easier for accountants to manage financial operations.




Can avail benefits under the GST regime

The major benefit that businesses get under the GST tax structure is that they don’t have to face the cascading effects of compounding taxes as a product moves through the supply chain. This also benefits consumers to get cheaper products.

Steps to complete the online GST registration process


Documents required for business GST registration:


• Incorporation certificate of your business or proof of business registration


• The promoter's or the director's photograph, address proof, and identity proof


• A copy of your Aadhar card


• The PAN of the applicant


• Your digital signature


• Your bank account statement or a canceled cheque


• An authorization letter for the authorized signatory

PART A


• Go to the GST portal using the following link gst.gov.in 


• Click on the ‘Services’ tab and then click on the ‘Registration’ tab, and then finally click on the ‘New Registration’ quick link.


• This will take you to a new page where you must fill in the necessary information by selecting the ‘New Registration’ radio button. 


• Select the type of taxpayer you are from the list provided.


• Select the state or Union Territory that your business operates in. 


• Select the relevant district from the options given.


• Enter the legal name of your business as mentioned on the PAN card.


• Enter the PAN (Permanent Account Number) of your business.


• In case you do not have a PAN card, you will have the option to proceed with separate details.


• Next, you must enter the contact details of the authorized signatory including their email address and mobile number.


• Then fill in the captcha code and click on the ‘Proceed’ button.


• When you do this, the portal will show you other GST numbers that are already registered to this account number if you happen to have other businesses registered through the same PAN account. Simply click on proceed.


• Once you do this, you will receive two unique OTPs (one-time passwords) on your mobile number and email address that you must enter in the relevant fields.


• Once you enter the correct OTP values and click on proceed the first step of the online GST registration process is complete and you will be shown a TRN (Temporary Reference Number) 


• Make sure you save the TRN safely with you.


• You can now proceed to part B of the application process. This can be done immediately or within the next 15 days. 

PART B


To complete part B of the online GST registration process you will need the following documents:


• Photographs of the authorized signatories


• Business address proof


• Bank details (account number, bank name, bank branch, and IFSC code)


• Authorization form


• Constitution of the taxpayer


Process to complete part B:


• Go to the GST portal using the following link gst.gov.in 


• Click on the ‘Services’ tab and then click on the ‘Registration’ tab, and then finally click on the ‘New Registration’ quick link.


• This time when it takes you to a new page select the ‘TRN’ button instead of the ‘New Registration’ radio button. 


• Once you do this, you will get the option to enter the 15-digit TRN and captcha code. After filling them in, click on proceed and verify the details using an OTP that will be sent to you.


• After you have successfully submitted the OTP, you will be taken to your saved application dashboard. You will be able to see an ‘edit’ button icon in the shape of a pencil that you must click to proceed with the application.

Details required to fill in each part of the application


1. Business details section

The details to be filled in this section remain the same for most types of taxpayers. There will be fewer fields for non-residents, UN bodies, and TDS/TCS collectors.


Some fields will be auto-populated based on part A of the registration, while you must fill in the other sections such as Trade Name, Constitution of Business, District, Sector, Commissionerate code, Division code, Range code, Reason to obtain registration, Date of commencement of Business, Date on which liability to register arises, and Indicate any existing registrations.


You also get the option to select Yes/No as to whether you are applying for registration as a casual taxable person or not and if you are opting for a composition. Click on Save & Continue.



2. Under the promoters/partners tab

In this section, you must fill up details regarding the promoter/partner/proprietor. Fill in the person’s First Name (mandatory), Middle Name, and Last Name.


Fill in their father’s First Name (mandatory), Middle Name, and Last Name. Enter your date of birth, mobile number, email address, gender, and telephone number with the STD code.


Then enter the necessary residential address and upload a photograph in jpeg format that is of max 1 MB in size. Click on Save & Continue.



3. Authorized signatory

An authorized signatory is a person who is a part of the business and will be responsible for adhering to all GST requirements such as authentication of documents, returns, and any refund applications.


The information asked here is similar to the previous section. Enter identification details such as the designation/status, DIN (Director Identification Number), PAN, Passport number, and Aadhaar number.


Select Yes/No to whether you are a citizen of India. Click on Save & Continue.



4. Authorized representative

This section is not mandatory but you can fill in the details if you are taking the help of a GST practitioner or some other type of authorized representative.


Add their enrolment ID, name of the person, email address, mobile number, designation/status, PAN, Aadhaar number, telephone number with STD code, and FAX number with STD code. Click on Save & Continue.



5. Enter principal place of business details

The place of the business section requires you to fill in details regarding the operational location of the business.


Enter the address of your business as per the required fields, latitude and longitude, and state details including the district and PIN code.


Fill in the contact information of the business such as the official email address, office telephone number, office FAX number with STD code, and office mobile number. Select the nature of possession of the business premise.


Upload documents that prove the principal place of business such as a utility bill for the premise. Select the nature of the business activity being carried out from the given options.


Then select Yes/No for whether you have an additional place of business. Click on save and continue. 



6. Additional places for business

You will have to fill up this section only if you selected ‘Yes’ for an additional place of business in the previous section. If you’ve not, then simply proceed to the next step.



7. Goods and services

Under the goods and services tab you must select the item of goods and services that your business is selling by searching the correct HSN for goods or SCC for services. Click on save and continue.



8. Details of bank account

In this section add your bank account details such as the account number, type of account, and the IFSC code. Upload a document that acts as proof of the bank account details you have entered. 



9. State-specific information

This section will ask you to fill up state-specific information if it is applicable to you.


Fill in the details such as professional tax employee code (EC) number, professional tax registration certificate (RC) number, state excise license number, and the name of the person in whose name the excise license is held. Click on save and continue. 



10. Aadhar authentication

In this section select Yes/No for Aadhaar authentication. If you select ‘Yes’ then you will not have to mandatorily make a site visit. The Aadhaar authentication process is not requested for non-residents, UN bodies, and TDS or TCS applicants. 




11. Verification

The final step for part B of the online business GST registration is the verification section. Here you must choose a method of verification between using a digital signature, e-signature, or EVC.


Once you finish the verification an ARN (Application Reference Number) is generated and sent to the mobile number and email address of the authorized signatory.


For those who selected ‘Yes’ to Aadhaar authentication, they must complete the process by clicking on the link sent to their email ID, and then you will get your ARN.

Post registration steps you need to follow


1. Check your GST registration status


Visit the official GST portal and navigate through the following tabs - 'Services’ > ‘Registration’ > ‘Track Application Status.’


Enter your ARN number & Captcha code. Once you do this, you’ll be able to see the status of your GST registration as one of the following:


• Pending for processing - This status denotes that your application has been filed successfully but it is pending to be processed by the tax officer. 


• Pending clarification - This status notifies you that the tax officer has requested clarification on your application. This clarification must be done within 7 days from the date of the notice given for clarification.


• Clarification filed-Pending for order - This status denotes that the clarification has been filed successfully and that the application is pending with the tax officer for order.


• Clarification not filed-Pending for order - This status tells that the clarification was not filed within the given time period and the application is pending to be rejected by the tax officer. 


• Approved - Once the tax officer has verified and approved the application you will be sent the Registration ID and password via email. 


• Rejected - This status denotes that your GST application has been rejected. 


• Withdrawn - This status is shown when you/the applicant/taxpayer has voluntarily chosen to withdraw the GST application. 



2. The procedure to download the GST registration certificate


• Visit the official GST portal


• Log in using the Registration ID and the password that was mailed to you after the successful completion of your GST registration process.


• Once you enter the username and password you will have to navigate through the following tabs - ‘Services’ > ‘User Services’ > ‘View/Download Certificates’ > ‘Download’.


• Here you will get the option to download your GST registration certificate. 

How to do GST registration via authentication of aadhaar?


When you apply for GST registration, you are also provided with the option to choose Aadhaar authentication. The steps mentioned below apply to those who selected ‘Yes’ to Aadhaar authentication during their GST registration process online. 


• After the successful submission of the GST application form an authentication link will be sent to the registered email ID and mobile number.


• Click on the authentication link. This will take you to a page where you will have the option to add your VID (virtual identity) or your Aadhaar number. 


• Enter the Aadhaar number and select ‘Validate’. 


• Once the details have been matched, a common OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number and email ID linked to the Aadhaar number.


• Enter the OTP to complete the process. You will now get your ARN and receive the new GST registration within three working days.

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