State GST notices must ensure Document Identification Number

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to issue advisories to all the states to ensure mention of Document Identification Number (DIN) on all notices sent by state GST authorities.

Implementation of the DIN system by states is expected to make the entire process of sending notices more transparent and prevent harassment by tax officials.

A DIN is a 20-digit identification code that is affixed to every communication sent to taxpayers by the government.

A bench of justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna said this would be in the larger public interest and enhance good governance. It will bring in transparency and accountability in the indirect tax administration.

“It is submitted that the same may prevent any abuse by the departmental officers of pre-dating communications and ratifying actions by authorizations subsequently made out in the files,” the order said.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking steps to implement a system for electronic (digital) generation of a DIN for all communications sent by state tax officers to taxpayers.

It has also sought direction to the central government/Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to introduce a centralised DIN for the entire country.

In 2019, the CBIC had specified that all communications, including search authorisations, summons, arrest memos and inspection notices will be accompanied by a DIN, which was later expanded to other communications. However, it was not being implemented at the state level.

Currently, only Karnataka and Kerala are issuing notices with DIN.

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