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In this article author discuss the change in IEC with the introduction of GST w.e.f. (the notified date.)

IMPORT EXPORT CODE registration is required by a person for exporting or importing goods. It is a 10 digit code, which is PAN based, as on date PAN has one to one correlation with IEC which is issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under The Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992. All businesses which are engaged in Import and Export of goods require registering Import Export Code. IE code has a lifetime validity.


With the implementation of the GST w.e.f. (The notified date), GSTIN would be used for purposes of:

  • The credit flow of IGST on import of goods, and 
  • Refund or rebate of IGST related to the export of goods.

Registration No. under the GST, called GSTIN, is a 15 digit alphanumeric code, with PAN prefixed by State Code and suffixed by 3 digit details of business verticals of the PAN holder. In view of this, it has been decided that the importer/exporter would need to declare only GSTIN (wherever registered with GSTN) at the time of import and export of goods. The PAN level aggregation of data would automatically happen in the system.


GST will apply when turnover of the business exceeds Rs 20 lakhs (Limit is Rs 10 lakhs for the North Eastern States). [Earlier the limit was Rs 10lakhs and Rs 5 lakhs for NE states.] 

However, following categories of persons shall be required to be registered compulsorily irrespective of the threshold limit: (As per Section 24 of CGST Act, 2017 Compulsory registration in certain cases)

a) Persons making any interstate taxable supply
b) Casual taxable persons
c) Persons who are required to pay tax under reverse charge
d) Non-resident taxable persons
e) Persons who are required to deduct tax under section 37
f) Persons who supply goods and/or services on behalf of other registered taxable persons, whether as an agent or otherwise
g) Input service distributor
h) Persons who supply goods and/or services, other than branded services, through an electronic commerce operator
i) Every electronic commerce operator
j) An aggregator who supplies, services under his brand name or his trade name
k) Such other person or class of persons as may be notified by the Central Government or a

State Government on the recommendations of the Council. Since obtaining GSTIN is not compulsory for all importers/exporters below a threshold limit of turnover, all exporters/importers may not register with GSTIN [barring compulsory registration in certain cases as provided in section 24 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017) or in cases where either credit is claimed of IGST], therefore, GSTIN cannot become universal, as IEC is for import/export business.


No recognition for individual transactions; As a measure of ease of doing business, it has been decided to keep the identity of an entity uniform across the Ministries/Departments. Henceforth (with the implementation of GST), PAN of an entity will be used for the purpose of IEC, i.e., IEC will be issued by DGFT with the difference that it will be alphanumeric (instead of the 10 digit numeric at present) and will be same as PAN of an entity.

For new applicants, w.e.f. The notified date, application of IEC will be made to DGFT and applicant’s PAN will be authorized as IEC. For residuary categories under Para 2.07 of HBP 201520, the IEC will be either UIN issued by GSTN and authorized by DGFT or any common number to be notified by DGFT.


For the existing IEC holders, necessary changes in the system are being carried out by DGFT so that their PAN becomes their IEC. DGFT system will undertake this migration and the existing IEC holders are not required to undertake any additional exercise in this regard. IEC holders are required to quote their PAN (in place of existing IEC) in all their future documentation, w.e.f. The notified date. 

The legacy data which is based on IEC would be converted into PAN based in due course of time.


DISCLAIMER: The entire contents of this document have been developed on the basis of relevant information and are purely the views of the authors. Though the authors have made utmost efforts to provide authentic information however, the authors expressly disclaim all or any liability to any person who has read this document, or otherwise, in respect of anything, and of consequences of anything done, or omitted to be done by any such person in reliance upon the contents of this document. READER SHOULD SEEK APPROPRIATE COUNSEL FOR YOUR OWN SITUATION. I SHALL NO BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY OF THE CONSEQUENCES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY.

The author is a company secretary in Practice from Nagpur (Maharashtra) and can also be reached at

CAclubindia's WhatsApp Groups Link


Published by

Anjali Gorsia
(Practicing Company Secretary)
Category Custom   Report

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