SC: States Shall Mention Document Identification Number in GST notices

The Supreme Court directed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council to issue advisories to all the states and UTs on mentioning the Document Identification Number (DIN) on all department notices.

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 the government affixes to every communication sent to taxpayers.

The court stated that implementing the DIN system would be in the larger public interest and enhance good governance. Also, it will bring accountability and transparency to the indirect tax administration.

The Apex Court’s order states that mentioning DIN helps prevent any abuse by the departmental officers of pre-dating communications and ratifying actions by subsequent authorizations made out on the files.

The Apex Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking steps to implement a system for the electronic generation of a DIN for all communications sent by state tax officers to taxpayers.

The petition also sought direction from the Central Government and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) to introduce a centralised DIN for the entire nation.

In 2019, the CBIC specified that all communications, including search summons, authorizations, inspection notices, and arrest memos, shall be accompanied by a DIN. Later on, the department expanded the DIN process to other communications.

However, it was not being implemented at the state level. As of now, only Karnataka and Kerala states are issuing notices with DIN.

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