E-Way Bill Introduction: Introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) across India with effect from 1st of July 2017 is a very significant step in the field of indirect tax reforms in India. For quick and easy movement of goods across India without any hindrance, all the check posts across the country are abolished. The GST system provides a provision of e-Way Bill, a document to be carried by the person in charge of conveyance, generated electronically from the common portal. To implement the e-Way Bill system, ICT based solution is required. Hence, as approved by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, a web based solution has been designed and developed by National Informatics Centre and it is being rolled out for the use of taxpayers and transporters.
GST is touted to be the biggest reform in India’s taxation system which is expected to boost the country’s growth rate. Industry experts and analysts have said that the e-Way Bill is likely to be the game changer in the present Indian economy. Registered entities will have to pre-register the goods on GST portal before commencement of movement of goods. For quick and easy movement of goods across India without any hindrance, all the check posts across the country are abolished. E-Way Bill will enable tracking of movement of goods and prevent tax evasion by way of unauthorized movement of goods.
Purpose and Intended Audience
This document aims to explain the operational procedure on how to use web based e-Way Bill system. Also it explains the features and roles of the stake holders in using this system.
This document is intended for registered taxpayers under GST and un-registered transporters, who are the main stakeholders of e-Way Bill system under GST.
Scope of E-Way Bill
The scope of this document covers:
- Explaining the features of the e-Way Bill system.
- Activities of the various stake holders.
- Registering and enrolling for the e-Way Bill system.
- Processes involved in generation of web based e-Way Bill.
- Enabling the various modes of the e-Way Bill generation.
- Managing the sub-users by the stake holders.
Waybill under Earlier VAT system
In order to monitor bulk trade, – which necessarily takes place through trucks – it was mandated under VAT that each such consignment shall be accompanied by a ‘Delivery Note’ which were issued from the VAT offices to the taxpayers. At the end of every month the taxpayer had to submit an utilisation statement of the forms issued. The intention of the tax office was that to control the tax evasion being done by few of the tax payers. The taxpayer was also put a great deal of hardship while seeking the blank Delivery Notes. He/she would have to make several visits to the tax office. At check-posts the trucks, would get detained for a long time on frivolous grounds. Thus, it was a loselose situation for the trade as well as the government.
e-Way Bill System under GST
Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of Goods and Services Tax is One Nation- One Tax – One Market. Introducing a separate way bill for each State under the GST system would definitely complicate the compliance and in turn affect the business of the taxpayers and transporters. Such a system of separate e-Way Bill for each State would result in hindrance of movement of goods and free trade from one State to another. The State and Central Government officers will also find it difficult to cross-verify such e-Way Bills if generated independently by each State.
A new process is thus required which would ensure that a taxpayer, prior to movement of goods via a conveyance , would inform each transaction’s details to the tax department, obtain an acknowledgement number for having thus informed, and then use this acknowledgement number as a valid document accompanying the truck. The idea is that the taxpayer be made to upload the details of each transaction to a common portal through the Internet, and once uploaded, the common portal would automatically generate a document is issued, it can be tracked and verified easily by any stakeholders.
Inspection and verification of goods
- In case of inspection of goods in transit, a summary Report within 24 hours of inspection, and the final Report within 3 days of inspection, shall be recorded online.
- Physical verification can only occur once during the entire transit period unless specific information relating to evasion of tax is received, indicating the need for another inspection.
Validity Period of E-Way bill:
|Upto 100 km||1 day|
|For every 100 km or part thereof thereafter||1 additional day|
Such validity shall commence from the date and time at which e-Way Bill is generated. Each day shall be counted as 24 hours.
Every time the validity is breached, a new bill will have to be generated.
The Commissioner may, by notification, extend the validity period of e-Way Bill for certain categories of goods as may be specified therein.
Verification of documents and conveyance
- The commissioner or an officer empowered by him may authorize an officer to stop a consignment to verify e-Way Bill.
- Tax officials would be empowered to inspect the e-Way Bill or the e-Way Bill number in physical form for all interstate and intrastate movement of goods at any time during the journey to check for tax evasion.
- Physical verification of conveyances may also be done. In case there is ‘specific information’ of tax evasion, physical verification of a conveyance can also be done by an authorized officer
E-way bills can be generated by any of the following methods:
- Web-online using browser on laptop or desktop.
- Android based Mobile App on mobile phones.
- Via SMS through registered mobile number.
- Via API (Application Program Interface) i.e. integration of IT system of user with e-Way Bill system for generation of e-Way Bill.
- Tool-based bulk generation of e-Way Bills.
- Third-party based system of Suvidha Providers.
- E-Way Bill has been rolled out on a trial basis from 16th January 2018
- The states can opt to follow the e-Way Bill system for intrastate transport anytime latest by 1st June 2018, after which it becomes mandatory for all states.
e-Way Bill in GST Rule
- Information to be furnished by every registered person prior to commencement of the movement of goods and generation of e-Way Bill.
- Upon generation of the e-Way Bill on the common portal, a unique e-Way Bill number (EBN) shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal.
- The person in charge of a conveyance shall carry — (a) the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be; and (b) a copy of the e-Way Bill or the e-Way Bill number.
- The details of e-Way Bill generated shall be made available to the recipient, if registered, on the common portal, who shall communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment covered by the e-Way Bill.
- The information furnished while generating e-Way Bill such as 1) GSTIN of recipient, 2) Place of delivery, 3) Invoice Number, 4) invoice date, 5) Value of goods, 6) HSN code, etc. shall be made available to the registered supplier on the common portal who may utilize the same for furnishing details in FORM GSTR-1.
- An officer authorised by the State can intercept any conveyance to verify the e-Way Bill or the e-Way Bill number in physical form for all inter-State and intra-State movement of goods.
- A summary report of every inspection of goods in transit shall be recorded online by the proper officer in specified format within twenty four hours of inspection and the final report in specified format shall be recorded within three days of the inspection.
- Where a vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding thirty minutes, the transporter may upload the said information in a specified format on the common portal.
Objectives of E-Way Bill
- Single e-Way Bill for movement of the goods throughout the country.
- To prevent the evasion of tax.
- Hassle free movement of goods across India.
- Tracking the movement of goods with e-Way Bill number.
- Easier verification of the e-Way Bill by officers with previous verification records.
The objective behind introducing e-Way Bill is to effectively address the expectations and concerns of the stakeholders by leveraging the use of ICT.
The following are four key stakeholders of the e-Way Bill:
- Suppliers – Generate the e-Way Bills and reject the e-Way Bills generated by other party against his/her name, if it does not belong to him/her.
- Recipients – Generate the e-Way Bills and reject the e-Way Bills generated by other party against his/her name, if it does not belong to him/her.
- Transporters – Generate the e-Way Bills, consolidated e-Way Bills and update the vehicle numbers for the e-Way Bills assigned to him for transportation by the taxpayers.
- Department Officers – Verify the e-Way Bills and consignments carried with the e-Way Bills.
Benefits of E-Way Bill
The major benefits are as follows:
- The traders need not visit tax offices to collect and submit the Way Bill forms as used to be done in VAT regimes in some states.
- Average waiting time at mobile squad reduces drastically – As the verification of the e-Way Bill is done with the common portal, it will speed up the process of verification and allowing the vehicle to pass faster.
- Self-policing by traders. A trader while uploading gives the identification of the buying trader who will also account the transaction automatically.
- Environment friendly – The need of the paper form of the multiple copies of way bill is eliminated. Hence, the tons of paper are saved per day.
- Generation of GSTR-1 returns – GSTR-1 return of the supplier is auto prepared, hence he need not have to upload the same.
- Officials saved of monotonous work collecting and matching the manual way bill with the returns of the taxpayers.