written by Khatabook | June 29, 2021

How Can You Become a Certified GST Practitioner?

The GST or Goods and Service Act specifies a single law for indirect taxes charged across the whole country. Under this, every POS or point of sale is levied with tax. Thus there are three types of taxes:

  • The CGST or Central GST charged by the Centre.
  • The SGST or the State GST charged by the State.
  • The IGST or the Integrated GST charged for interstate sales.

Since 2017, over 1 Crore taxpayers under GST laws face doubts when filing for refunds, registering under the regime, etc. The government has introduced GST Practitioners and Facilitation Centers to assist taxpayers with filing and other requirements.

GST Practitioner

Who are GSTP or GST Practitioners?

The GSTP or GST Practitioner is approved by the State and Central Governments to perform the following activities on behalf of the taxpayers.

  • Cancel or amend the registration with the right applications. 
  • File new registration applications under GST Act.
  • File GST returns monthly, quarterly, annually, and amended or final returns like Form GSTR – 1, Form GSTR – 3B, Form GSTR – 9 etc.
  • Provide inward or outward supply details. 
  • Maintain the electronic cash ledger credits by making payments due under various heads like the penalty for late filing, tax, interest, fees etc.
  • Answer and appear before the appellate tribunal or authority, officers of the department etc., as the taxpayer’s authorised representative. 
  • File refund or claim applications.

Now let's take a look at how to become a GST practitioner. Let us start with the eligibility conditions to become a GST tax practitioner.

GSTP Eligibility and Conditions:

A GST Practitioner should:  

  • Be an Indian citizen.
  • Be of sound mental health.
  • Have financial capacity or never been declared insolvent.
  • Have a sound character with no convictions for offences leading to the imprisonment of more than two years. 
  • Have required educational qualifications or work experience for the role of a GST Practitioner.

The eligibility criteria mentioned in the GST law requires the GST Practitioner to be any of the following. 

  • Retired officers like Gazetted Group-B Officers with two years work experience at that level, officers of the State Government, Commercial Tax Department, or the Central Board of Customs and Excise.
  • Post Graduate/ Graduates from Indian Universities with degrees in Law, Commerce, Banking, Business Management, Business Administration, Higher Auditing etc., and as deemed equivalent by the law in force if graduating from a foreign university.
  • Has passed the Government examination for appointment as GSTP.
  • Persons with over five years experience as enrolled Tax Returns Preparers or as Sales Tax Practitioners. 
  • Graduates of degree examinations of a Foreign/Indian University and qualifying any of the following examinations.
  • Institute of Cost Accountants of India final examinations
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India final examination 
  • Institute of Company Secretaries of India final examinations.

Since most enrollments and the practice of a GSTP requires fluency in computer operation, Excel sheets, spreadsheets and forms, you must also have a valid  

  • Mobile Number linked to Aadhar Card.
  • PAN Card.
  • Email ID.
  • Professional address.
  • Aadhar Card.

Also Read: Missed the GST Notifications? We have it for you!

Why is the GST Practitioner Exam important?

The GST Practitioner exam is a must for all GST practitioners. It certifies that you're competent and earns the trust and credibility of the taxpayers. The exam is to be passed within two years of enrollment as a GST Practitioner. Those enrolled as a GSTP before the1st of July 2018 get 1-year to pass the GST Practitioner exam. The GST Practitioner salary is also a great draw as the average earnings are Rs.6,40,000 per annum in India.

How to become a GST practitioner?

You should register for GSTP on the GST portal and pass the required GSTP Exams. The 2-step process is explained below.

Step 1: 

Registration on GST portal using Form PCT-01 and enrolment (Form PCT-02) as GST practitioner with an Enrollment Certificate: This registration and enrollment procedure is done on the GST portal to generate a TRN or Temporary reference number. The registered mobile number receives an OTP, and you can upload all documents. The enrollment number and certificate is sent to the registered mail-id within 15-days of such registration’s verification.

Step 2: 

Qualify at the NACIN’s GSTP Exam for certification as GST PractitionerThe GST Practitioner exam registration and certification must be cleared within 2-years of GSTP enrollment. The NACIN (National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes & Narcotics) GSTP exam requires a 50% score to qualify as a Certified GST Practitioner. Once qualified, the list of enrolled practitioners is displayed on the GST portal for the taxpayers to approach the GST Practitioner of their choice.

Here’s a step-by-step process to be followed to register and enrol for the GST Practitioner Certificate on the GST Portal.

Step-1: Online Procedure for GSTP Enrollment:

  • Log on to the website using the link https://www.gst.gov.in/.

 

  • Click the “Services” tab. Choose ‘Registration’ and click on the ‘New Registration’ tab. 

 

This brings up the screen displayed below. 

  • You have to select GST Practitioner in the drop-down ‘I am a’ list and select the Union Territory/State/ District from the list in a drop-down box to display your area. 
  • Under the legal name, you can use the name as on your PAN card. 
  • Enter the email id and mobile number of the Authorized Signatory/ GSTP to receive the OTP. 
  • Enter the code characters in the Captcha test and click on the proceed tab at the bottom of the page. This leads to the page where the PAN linked GSTP IDs, Provisional ID’s/ GSTINs/ UINs are displayed and validated. Then you are directed to the OTP verification page.
  • Enter the OTP sent to the mobile number, and then the OTP sent to the registered email id. Once you enter both OTPs, click on the ‘Proceed’ tab at the end of the page.
  • Now you will reach the next page where you have to fill in all details, upload documents etc.
  • You will receive the 15 digits Temporary Reference Number by email. Enter the TRN number and the captcha code. Then click on Proceed.
  • You will receive 2 OTPs one on the phone and the other by email. Enter the OTPs on the next page, “My Saved Application”, and click on the Edit icon under Action

.

  • Fill in the ‘General Details’ as follows.
    • Enter State/UT/Centre for appropriate Enrolling Authority from the drop-down list.
    • Enter Institute/University details, year of graduation, qualifying degree details and the type of proof document from the appropriate boxes and their drop-down lists.
    • Select and upload all relevant documents in JPEG/PDF compressed formats.
    • Once done, use the ‘Save and Continue’ button to proceed further.
  • Fill in all applicant details like the  
    • Date of Birth.
    • First name, Middle and Surname/Last Name.
    • Gender.
    • Aadhar Number.
    • Upload the JPEG photograph.
    • Click ‘Save and Continue’ to fill in the next step.
  • Fill in the Professional Address.
    • Enter the complete address of the place of practice with the appropriate PIN code. 
    • Choose the document produced as proof of address and then upload documents in PDF/JPEG formats.
    • Click ‘Save and Continue’.
  • Complete verification.
    • Tick in the verification statement check-box.
    • Enter in details of the enrolment place.
    • Click on verification options to choose submission and verification format like E-Sign, DSC or EVC.
  • Using E-Signature

    • Choose the ‘Submit with E-Sign’ button and click on the ‘Agree’ button.
    • Enter the E-Signature and 2 OTPs sent via SMS and email and hit the ‘Continue’ button.
    • Acknowledgement of submission is generated via email and SMS in 15-minutes.
  • Using DSC

    • Choose the ‘Submit with DSC’ button and click ‘Proceed’ to submit using the DSC option.
  • Using EVC-Electronic Verification Code

    • Choose the ‘Submit with EVC’ tab and click on “Agree”.
    • Enter OTP sent to the Aadhar-linked phone number and click ‘Continue’.
    • An acknowledgement with the ARN- Application Reference Number is generated and sent via email and SMS within 15 minutes.

Here’s how you go about taking the GSTP Exams.

Step-2: How to qualify for NACIN’s GSTP Certification

GST Practitioner Exam 

All eligible candidates should:

  1. Meet the concerned officer for eligibility verification. 
  2. Enrol on the GST portal using Form PCT-01 and get an ARN enrolment number using Form PCT-02. 
  3. The candidate must qualify at the GSTP certification exam within two years of enrolment as a GSTP. 

Here are some helpful details regarding the exam. 

Conducting Authority:

The NACIN- National Academy of Customs, Indirect taxes and Narcotics examination is the authority for certifying the GST Practitioner course by the government.

GST Practitioner Exam Date:

The GSTP exams are conducted biannually at designated centres across India and the dates notified on the GST portal, newspapers and the Secretariat of the GST Council by NACIN. 

GST Practitioner Exam Website Details:

You can register for the GSTP exam on the link http://nacin.onlineregistrationform.org using the GST enrollment number as the User ID and PAN details as the password.  

GST Exam Fee Details:

The details of the GST Practitioner exam online registration fees are available with payment options on the NACIN website.

The GSTP Exam:

The exam for a GST Practitioner is an online exam with 100 Multiple Choice Questions to be answered in 2.5 hours and a qualifying score of 50%. There is no limitation on the number of attempts in the two years.

Declaration of Results:

NACIN communicates the results through post/email within one month of the exam.

GST Practitioner Course Examination syllabus:

The GST Practitioner exam questions are based on ‘GST Procedures and law’ mentioned in the below legislations of 2017.

  • IGST-Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act
  • CGST-Central Goods and Services Tax Act
  • SGST-States Goods and Services Tax Act
  • Compensation to States GST Act 
  • UTGST- Union Territory Goods and Services Tax Act
  • Central, Integrated Goods and Services and all States GST Rules
  • Orders, notifications, rules and orders issued under the above Rules and Acts.

Also Read: Things You Need to Know About GST Explained in Details

GSTP exam Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s:

  • Always register in advance for the GSTP exam and ensure timely payment of the exam fee.
  • Study the filing processes, rules, various laws and orders covered in the syllabus.
  • Ensure to carry originals of Admit Card, Voter ID, PAN, Passport, Aadhar Card etc.

Don’ts:

  • Be late as the gates close 15-minutes before exam commencement. Always be there ½ hour ahead.
  • Tamper with software/hardware deployed.
  • Carry Bluetooth devices, mobile phones etc., use unfair means, copy or misbehave, 

License Validity:

Unless cancelled by the authorities, the GST Practitioner license is valid for a lifetime and only in the area enrolled for.

Practice by GST Practitioner:

  • On enrollment, the GST Practitioner can file returns for the client using the portal for GST Practitioner login and Form GST PCT-05 for authorisation. 
  • The GSTP is bound to verify and file returns on a timely basis and with due diligence ensuring such forms bear GSTP digital signature. 
  • The filed GST returns are verified and approved by the GST officer and need the registered taxpayer to confirm the filed returns via SMS and Email. 
  • If the client fails to do so before the last filing date, the returns furnished by the GSTP are deemed final.
  • If a client is dissatisfied with the GSTP services, they can withdraw the authorisation form submitted on the GST Portal. 
  • Any reported misconduct of GST Practitioners provides for a fair hearing of the GSTP by the GST Officer, who is the authorised authority to cancel/ disqualify the GSTP practice license.

GST Practitioner forms:

The necessary forms for a GST practitioner are:

Form GST PCT-1

GSTP enrollment application form.

Form GST PCT-2

Enrollment Certificate form for GST practitioner issued by the GST officer.

Form GST PCT-3

Show-cause Notice asking for GSTP’s additional information on enrollment application/ reported misconduct.

Form GST PCT-4

Order on enrollment rejection/ GSTP disqualification in misconduct cases.

 

How the practice works: 

A GST Practitioner’s practice generally follows the below steps. 

  • A client selects a GSTP from the GSTP list on the portal using Form GST PCT-5 and authorises the GSTP to file and prepare returns using Form GST PCT-6. Such authorisation can be withdrawn using Form GST PCT-7.
  • The GST Practitioner prepares, verifies and files returns using a digital signature to prove one’s credentials on the GST portal.
  • A confirmation by SMS/email from the client is required within the last date for filing returns. If not provided, the returns accessed on the portal and filed by the GSTP are deemed final. 
  • The taxable client must always verify the GSTP statement filed as correct and true as the responsibility for the returns furnished lies with the client and not the GST Practitioner.

All the best with the enrollment and examination to start practice as a GST Practitioner!

FAQs

1. Who is a GST Practitioner?

GST Practitioner is a professional who helps you prepare tax returns and other related activities.

2. Can I file GST Returns for my client?

Yes, you can. Though, it is recommended that you should be a registered GST Practitioner.

3. Can I save my GST Practioner Registration Application if I am unable to complete it?

Yes, you can save your Registration Application. But it is valid only for 15 days from your TRN generation date.

4. Should I register in every State and Union Territory?

A Single Enrolment is enough for practising on an all India basis. 

5. Will GSTN provide me with a separate user ID & password to work on behalf of my clients? 

Yes, GSTN provides you with a separate user ID & password to GSTP to work on behalf of your clients. 

6. Can the taxpayers change the GSTP?

Yes, a taxpayer can change their GSTP on the GST Portal.

7. How much should I pay for the GST Practitioner’s Exam?

The GST practitioner’s Exam fees are set by the NACIN. Currently, it is Rs.500.

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