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E-Invoicing Under GST – Brief Introduction to E-Invoicing System

E-Invoicing Under GST – Brief Introduction to E-Invoicing System

E-Invoicing Under GST

The GST Council has approved introduction of ‘E-invoicing’ or ‘electronic invoicing’ in a phased manner for reporting of business to business (B2B) invoices to GST System, starting from 1st January 2020 on voluntary basis. Since there was no standard for e-invoice existing in the country, standard for the same has been finalized after consultation with trade/industry bodies as well as ICAI after keeping the draft in public place. Having a standard is a must to ensure complete inter-operability of e-invoices across the entire GST eco-system so that e-invoices generated by one software can be read by any other software, thereby eliminating the need of fresh data entry – which is a norm and standard expectation today. The machine readability and uniform interpretation is the key objective. This is also important for reporting the details to GST System as part of Return. Apart from the GST System, adoption of a standard will also ensure that an e-invoice shared by a seller with his buyer or bank or agent or any other player in the whole business eco-system can be read by machines and obviate and hence eliminate data entry errors.

The GST Council approved the standard of e-invoice in its 37th meeting held on 20th Sept 2019 and the same along with schema has been published on GST portal. Standards are generally abstruse and thus an explanation document is required to present the same in common man’s language. Also, there are lot of myth or misconception about e-Invoice. The present document is an attempt to explain the concept of e-invoice, how it operates and basics of standards. It also contains FAQs which answer the questions raised by people who responded to the draft e-invoice standard used for public consultation. It is expected that the document will also be useful for the taxpayers, tax consultants and the software companies to adopt the designed standard.

1. What is e-invoice?

If an invoice is generated by a software on the computer or Point of Sales (PoS) machine then does it become an e-invoice? Is e-invoice as a system where taxpayers can generate the invoices centrally? Many such questions are raised when e-invoice gets discussed.  

E-invoice does not mean generation of invoices from a central portal of tax department, as any such centralization will bring unnecessary restriction on the way trade is conducted. In fact, taxpayers have different requirements and expectation, which can’t be met from one software generating e-invoices from a portal for the whole country.  Invoice generated by each software may look more or less same, however, they can’t be understood by another computer system even though business users understand them fully. For example, an Invoice generated by SAP system cannot be read by a machine which is using ‘Tally’ system. Likewise there are hundreds of accounting/billing software which generate invoices but they all use their own formats to store information electronically and data on such invoices can’t be understood by the GST System if reported in their respective formats. Hence a need was felt to standardize the format in which electronic data of an Invoice will be shared with others to ensure there is interoperability of the data. The adoption of standards will in no way impact the way user would see the physical (printed) invoice or electronic (ex pdf version) invoice. All these software would adopt the new e-Invoice standard wherein they would re-align their data access and retrieval in the standard format. However, users of the software would not find any change since they would continue to see the physical or electronic (PDF/Excel) output of the invoices in the same manner as it existed before incorporation of e-Invoice standard in the software. Thus the taxpayer would continue to use his accounting system/ERP or excel based tools or any such tool for creating the electronic invoice as s/he is using today.

To help small taxpayers adopt e-invoice system, GSTN has empaneled eight accounting & billing software which provide basic accounting and billing system free of cost to small taxpayers. Those small taxpayers who do not have accounting software today, can use one of the empaneled software products, which come in both flavors, online (cloud based) as well as offline (installed on the computer system of the user).

2. e-Invoice and Tax Department

The e-invoice system being implemented by tax departments across the globe consists of two important parts namely,

     a) Generation of invoice in a standard format so that invoice generated        on one system can be read by another system.

     b) Reporting of e-invoice to a central system.

The basic aim behind adoption of e-invoice system by tax departments is ability to pre-populate the return and to reduce the reconciliation problems. Huge increase in technology sophistication, increased penetration of Internet along with availability of computer systems at reasonable cost has made this journey possible and hence more than 60 countries are in the process of adopting the e-invoice.

GST Council has given the responsibility to design the standard of e-invoice and update the same from time to time to GSTN which is the custodian of Returns and invoices contained in the same. Adoption of e-invoice by GST System is not only part of Tax reform but also a Business reform as it make the e-invoices completely inter-operable eliminating transcription and other errors.

3. Other derived benefits of introduction of e-invoice from GST perspective

 

Objectives

Outcome

Better taxpayer services

• One time reporting on B2B invoice data in the form it is generated to reduce reporting in multiple formats (one for GSTR-1 and the other for e-way bill).

• To generate Sales and purchase register (ANX-1 and ANX-2) from this data to keep the Return (RET-1 etc.) ready for filing under New Return. e-Way bill can also be generated using e-Invoice data

• It will become part of the business process of the taxpayer

• Substantial reduction in input credit verification issues as same data will get reported to tax department as well to buyer in his inward supply (purchase) register.

• On receipt of info thru GST System as buyer can do reconciliation with his Purchase Order and accept/reject in time under New Return

Reduction of tax evasion

• Complete trail of B2B invoices

• System level matching of input credit and output tax

Efficiency in tax administration

• Elimination of fake invoices

Generation of e-invoice will be the responsibility of the taxpayer who will be required to report the same to Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) of GST, which in turn will generate a unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) and digitally sign the e-invoice and also generate a QR code. The QR Code will contain vital parameters of the e-invoice and return the same to the taxpayer who generated the document in first place. The IRP will also send the signed e-invoice to the recipient of the document on the email provided in the e-invoice.   

Note: To begin with, there will be only one IRP, but more IRPs will be added to provide higher availability, redundancy, speed and a diversified and distributed service to tax payers with a choice.

4. What type of documents are to be reported to GST System?

While the word invoice is used in the name of e-invoice, it covers other documents that will be required to be reported to IRP by the creator of the document:

  • Invoice by Supplier
  • Credit Note by Supplier
  • Debit Note by Supplier
  • Any other document as required by law to be reported by the creator of the document

4. What will be the workflow involved?

The flow of the e-invoice generation, registration and receipt of confirmation can be logically divided into two major parts.  

  1. The first part being the interaction between the business (supplier in case of invoice) and the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP).
  2. The second part is the interaction between the IRP and the GST/E-Way Bill Systems and the Buyer.  

e-invoice

The two parts of the workflow are depicted diagrammatically below and followed up with an explanation of the steps involved. As the process evolves and system matures the same would be intercommunicated between buyer’s software and seller’s software, banking systems etc.

Part A: Flow from Supplier (commonly known as seller) to IRP.  

Step 1 is the generation of the invoice by the seller in his own accounting or billing system (it can be any software utility that generates invoice including those using excel or GSTN’s provided Offline Utility).  The invoice must conform to the e-invoice schema (standards) that is published and have the mandatory parameters.  The optional parameters can be according to the business need of the supplier.  The supplier’s (seller’s) software should be capable to generate a JSON of the final invoice that is ready to be uploaded to the IRP. The IRP will only take JSON of the e-invoice.

e-invoice

Note: Seller should have a utility that will output invoice data in JSON format, either from his accounting or billing software or his ERP or excel/word document or even a mobile app.  Those who do not use any accounting software or IT tool to generate the invoice, will be provided an offline tool to key-in data of invoice and then submit the same. The small and medium size taxpayers (having annual turnover below Rs 1.5 Crores) can avail accounting and billing system being offered by GSTN free of cost. 

 

Step 2 is to generate the unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) (in technical terms hash of 3 parameters using a standard and well known hash generation algorithm e.g. SHA256). This is an optional step. The seller can also generate this and upload along with invoice data. The 3 parameters which will be used to generate IRN (hash) are:

  1. Supplier GSTIN,
  2. Supplier’s invoice number and,
  • Financial year (YYYY-YY).  (The IRN or hash generation algorithm will be prescribed by GSTN in the e-invoice standard).  

Step 3 is to upload the JSON of the e-invoice (along with the hash, if generated) into the IRP by the seller.  The JSON may be uploaded directly on the IRP or through GSPs or through third party provided Apps.    

Step-4: The IRP will also generate the hash and validate the hash of the uploaded json, if uploaded by the supplier. The IRP will check the hash from the Central Registry of GST System to ensure that the same invoice from the same supplier pertaining to same Fin Year is not being uploaded again. On receipt of confirmation from Central Registry, IRP will add its signature on the Invoice Data as well as a QR code to the JSON. The QR code will contain GSTIN of seller and buyer, Invoice number, invoice date, number of line items, HSN of major commodity contained in the invoice as per value, hash etc. The hash computed by IRP will become the IRN (Invoice Reference Number) of the e-invoice.  This shall be unique to each invoice and hence be the unique identity for each invoice for the entire financial year in the entire GST System for a taxpayer. [GST Systems will create a central registry where hash sent by all IRPs will be kept to ensure uniqueness of the same].

Step 5 will involve sharing the uploaded data with GST and e-way bill system. More details are given in Part-B below.

Step 6 will involve returning the digitally signed JSON with IRN back to the seller along with a QR code. The registered invoice will also be sent to the seller and buyer on their mail ids as provided in the invoice.  

Part B: Flow from IRP to GST System/E-Way Bill System & Buyer

e-invoice

The following diagram shows how e-Invoice data would be consumed by GST System for generation of e-way bill or populating relevant parts GST Returns, stated in Step-5 above.

Step 5 (a) will be to share the signed e-invoice data along with IRN (same as that has been returned by the IRP to the seller) to the GST System as well as to E-Way Bill System.

Step 5b The GST System will update the ANX-1 of the seller and ANX-2 of the buyer, which in turn will determine liability and ITC.  

Step 5c E-Way bill system will create Part-A of e-way bill using this data to which only vehicle number will have to be attached in Part-B of the e-way bill.

Note 1: The e-invoice standardized schema has mandatory and optional items.  The e-invoice shall not be accepted in the GST System unless all the mandatory items are present.  The optional items are to be used by the seller and buyer as per their business need to enforce their business obligations or relationships.

Note 2: Seller may send his e-invoice for registration to more than one registrar.  But the GST system and IRP will perform a de-duplication check with central registry to ensure that the IRN that is generated is unique for each invoice.  Therefore, the IRP shall return ONLY ONE registered IRN for each invoice to the seller.  In case of multiple registrars (more than one IRPs) only one IRP will return a valid IRN to the seller. Except one, all other IRPs will reject the request of registration.

Note 3:  The QR code will enable quick view, validation and access of the invoices from the GST system from hand held devices.

6. Direct Invoice Generation on IRP (Invoice Registration Portal)

Many people think that e-invoice will be generated from government’s tax portal. This is a myth and invoices will continue to be generated using an Accounting or a billing software, keeping in view the varied need of item master, buyer master, UQC etc. along with sub-second response from IR Portal (IRP). Thus, direct creation/generation of e-invoice from GST portal or any other government portal is not envisaged/planned.

Small taxpayers can use one of the eight free accounting/billing software currently listed by GSTN. Also, GSTN will provide Offline Tool where data of an invoice, generated on paper can be entered which in turn will create JSON file for uploading on the IRP. Taxpayers can also use one of the commercially available accounting/billing software for this purpose. All accounting and billing software companies are being separately asked to adopt the e-invoice standard so that their users can generate the JSON from the software and upload the same on the IRP.

7. Features of e-invoice system

The Format of Unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN):

The unique IRN will be based on the computation of hash of GSTIN of generator of document (invoice or credit note etc.), Year and Document number like invoice number.  This hash will be as published in the e-invoice standard and unique for this combination. This way hash will always be the same irrespective of the registrar who processes it. The hash could also be generated by the taxpayers based on above algorithm. The providers of accounting and billing software are being separately asked to incorporate this feature in their product.  One can pre-generate and print it on the invoice book, however, the same will not make the invoice valid unless it is registered on the portal along with invoice details.

Note: The hash algorithm that is to be used by the taxpayers has been specified in the e-invoice standard that is published.  The hash will be the IRN.

To ensure deduplication, the registrar will be required to send the hash to Central Registry of GST System to confirm whether the same has been reported already. In case it has been reported by another registrar (as and when more registrars – IRPs – are added) and the Central Registry already has the same IRN, then the registrar will reject the registration and inform the sender. Only unique invoices from a taxpayer will be accepted and registered by the registrar.

Digital Signing by e-Invoice Registration Portal: The invoice data will be uploaded on the IRP (Invoice Registration Portal), which will also generate the hash in order to verify it and then digitally sign it with the private key of the IRP. In case the taxpayer submits hash also along with invoice data, the same will be validated by IRN system. The IRP will sign the e-invoice along with hash and the e-invoice signed by the IRP will be a valid e-invoice and used by GST/E-Way bill system.   

QR Code: The IRP will also generate a QR code containing the unique IRN (hash) along with some important parameters of invoice and digital signature so that it can be verified on the central portal as well as by an Offline App. This will be helpful for tax officers checking the invoice on the roadside where Internet may not be available all the time. The web user will get a printable form with all details including QR code.  The QR code will consist of the following e-invoice parameters:

  1. GSTIN of supplier
  2. GSTIN of Recipient
  3. Invoice number as given by Supplier
  4. Date of generation of invoice
  5. Invoice value (taxable value and gross tax)
  6. Number of line items.
  7. HSN Code of main item (the line item having highest taxable value)
  8. Unique Invoice Reference Number (hash)

The offline app will be provided on the IRP for anyone to download to authenticate the QR code of the invoice offline and its basic details. However, to see the whole invoice, one will have to connect to the portal and verify and see the details online. The facility to download entire invoice will be provided to tax officers, the way it is currently available under E-way bill system.

Note 4:  The facility of QR code verification will be made available only through the GST System and not the IRP.  This is because the IRP will not have the mandate to store invoices for more than 24 hours.  In order to achieve speed and efficiency, the IRP will be a lean and focused portal for providing invoice registration and verification service, IRN and the QR codes.  Hence, storing of the invoices will not be a feature of the IRP.

Multiple Registrar for IRN System: Multiple registrars (IRPs) will be put in place to ensure 24X7 operations without any break. To start with, NIC will be the first Registrar. Based on experience of the trial more registrars will be added.

Standardization of Invoice: A technical group constituted by the GST Council Secretariat has drafted standards for e-invoice after having industry consultation. The e-invoice schema and template, as approved by the GST Council, are available at https://www.gstn.org/e-invoice/.

8.CREATION OF E-INVOICE

Modes for getting invoice registered: Multiple modes will be made available so that taxpayer can use the best mode based on his/her need. The modes given below are envisaged at this stage under the proposed system for e-invoice, through the IRP (Invoice Registration Portal):

  1. Web based,
  2. API based,
  3. SMS based,
  4. mobile app based,
  5. offline tool based and
  6. GSP based.

API mode: Using API mode, the big tax payers and accounting software providers can interface their systems and pull the IRN after passing the relevant invoice information in JSON format. API request will handle one invoice request at time to generate the IRN.  This mode will also be used for bulk requirement (user can pass the request one after the other and get the IRN response within fraction of second) as well. The e-way bill system provides the same methodology.

Printing of Invoice

The taxpayer can continue to print his paper invoice as he is doing today including logo and other information. E-invoice schema only mandates what will be reported in electronic format to IRP.

General Questions on e-invoice system

Generic questions on e-invoice

1. Will businesses now be required to generate e-invoices on the GST portal or the e-invoice portal or the IRN portal?

a. No.  

b. Businesses will continue to generate e-invoices on their internal systems – whether ERP or their accounting / billing systems or any other application.

c. The e-invoicing mechanism only specifies the invoice schema and standard so as to be inter-operable amongst all accounting/billing software and all businesses.

2. Please clarify whether there the current e-invoice schema is for the invoice to be issued by Govt or has to be maintained in the IT system by the tax payer?

a. The invoice schema has to be maintained and invoices generated using this schema by the taxpayer himself.

b. The GST portal or Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) will NOT provide facility to generate invoices. IRP is only to report the invoice data.

c. The ERP or accounting billing software or any other software tool to generate e-invoice of the seller shall only generate invoices.

3. Will there be separate invoice formats required for Traders, Medical Shops, Professionals and Contractors?

a. No.

b. Same e-invoice schema will be used by all kinds of businesses. The schema has mandatory and non-mandatory fields. Mandatory field has to be filled by all taxpayers. Non-mandatory field is for the business to choose. It covers all most all business needs and specific sectors of business may choose to use those non-mandatory field which are needed by them or their eco-system.

4. How long will the e-invoice generated would be available at the Government portal?

a. It is again clarified that the e-invoice will not be generated at the GST portal.

b. It will be generated only at the seller’s system – whether ERP or the accounting/billing system/other software tools of the seller.

c. It will be uploaded into the GST ANX-1 only once it has been validated and registered by the invoice registration system.

d. After it has been validated and is available in the ANX-1, it will be visible to the counter party in his ANX 2.

e. Thereafter it will be visible and available for the entire financial year and archived.

f. As far as data on IRP is concerned, it will be kept there only for 24 hours.

5. While all businesses generate invoice at the same time, how will the server react?

a. The businesses will generate the invoice at their system and hence that will not impact the servers of IRP.

b. The capacity of the system at IRP shall be built so as to handle the envisaged loads of simultaneous upload based on data reported in GSTR1 for last two years.

c. Subsequently, multiple invoice registrars will be made available that will be able to distribute the load for invoice registration.

6. Is it possible to auto populate fields of the e-invoice based on credentials entered?  That way it can minimize data entry errors.

a. Since the invoice generation is to happen at the business end, this can be built into the ERP or invoicing system of the seller. Most of such software provide this facility in the name of item master, supplier master, buyer master etc.

7. Will it be possible to add transporter details as well?

a. No.

b. The transporter details must be entered in the E-Way bill system only.

Contents of e-invoice

1. There are certain fields today which are optional and some mandatory.  How are these to be used?

a. The mandatory fields are those that MUST be there for an invoice to be valid under e-Invoice Standard.

b. The optional ones are those that may be needed for the specific business needs of the seller/business. These have been incorporated in the schema based on current business practices in India.

c. The registration of an e-invoice will only be possible once it has ALL the mandatory fields uploaded into the Invoice registration Portal (IRP).

d. A mandatory field not having any value can be reported with NIL.  

2. What is the maximum Number of line items supported by e-invoice?

a. The maximum number of line items per e-invoice is 100.

3. Does the e-invoice schema provide the maximum length of the various fields in the schema?

a. Yes.

b. Each field specification has been provided with the type of characters that are to be entered and its length as well.

4. What will be the threshold requirement for E-Invoicing applicability?

a. This will be notified by the Government at the time of rollout.

b. As already mentioned above, the rollout of the e-invoice mechanism will be in phases.

5. Will the e-invoice have columns to show invoice currency?

a. Yes, the seller can display the currency.  Default will be INR.

6. Whether the IRN is to be captured in the Supplier’s ERP?

a. The IRN (hash) will be generated by GST System using GSTIN of supplier or document creator, financial year and the unique serial number of the document/invoice. The IRN can also be generated by the seller.

b. The serial number of invoice will be unique for a GSTIN for a Fin Year and the same has to be captured by Supplier’s ERP.

c. Supplier has to keep the IRN against each of its invoice. It will be advisable to keep the same in the ERP as invoice without IRN will not be a legal document.

7. Whether e-invoice generated is also required to be signed again by the taxpayer?

a. Not mandatory. However, if a signed e-invoice is sent to IRP, the same will be accepted.

b. The e-invoice will be digitally signed by the IRP after it has been validated. The signed e-invoice along with QR code will be shared with creator of document as well as the recipient.

c. Once it is registered, it will not be required to be signed by anyone else.

8. Whether the facility of adding discount amount at line item-level would be mandatory in nature?

a. The e-invoice has a provision for capturing discount at line item level.  

b. The discounting at line item level is to be mentioned only when and if it is applicable in the particular transaction.

9. Can the seller place their LOGO in the e-Invoice Template?

a. There will NOT be a place holder provided in the e-invoice schema for the company logo.

b. This is for the software company to provide in the billing/accounting software so that it can be printed on his invoice using his printer. However, the Logo will not be sent to IRP. In other words, it will not be part of JSON file to be uploaded on the IRP.

10. There should be a space provided for the QR code to be placed.

a. The QR code will be provided to the seller once he uploads the invoice into the Invoice Registration system and the same is registered there.

b. Seller can at his option may print the same on Invoice.

11. Will we be able to provide the address and bill-to party and PAN details in the e-invoice?

a. Yes.

b. It will be possible to provide all these details in the placeholders provided in the schema.

12. Would the Supplier be allowed to issue his own invoice and if yes, will the Invoice number and IRN be required to be mentioned?

a. Yes, the supplier will issue his own system’s invoice, in the standard e-invoice schema that has been published. Invoice number is a mandatory item under GST and hence for e-invoice.

b. IRN (Hash) can be provided after the e-invoice has been successfully reported to the IRP. E-Invoice will be valid only if it has IRN.

13. The current e-invoice template provides for total discount for all the products or services. Will this be possible in the e-invoice?

a. Yes.

b. There is a mechanism and placeholders to provide discounting on item level as well as total discounts on the invoice value.

14. Will there be an option for linking multiple invoices in case of debit note/ credit note?

a. Yes, it will be allowed to link the credit/debit notes as hitherto fore.

15. Will the e-invoice schema cater to reverse charge mechanism?

a. Yes.

b. E-invoice system has a reverse charge mechanism reporting as well.

Method of Reporting e-Invoice to GST System

1. In addition to the above, we understand that electronic invoice which will be uploaded on GST portal will be authenticated and IRN will be allocated for each e-invoices generated.

a. Yes, the e-invoice will be authenticated with the digital signature of the IRP (invoice registration portal).

b. IRN (Invoice Reference Number) will be the hash generated by the IRP.  

c. The registered invoice will be valid to be used by the business.

2. Will it be possible for bulk uploading of invoices for e-invoicing as well?

a. Invoices have to be uploaded on IRP one at a time.

b. The IRP will be able to handle a large sequence of invoices for registration and validate them. Essentially bulk upload will be required by large taxpayers who generate large number of invoices. Their ERP or accounting system will have to be designed in such a way that it makes request one by one. For the user, it will not make any difference.

3. Will the requirement for such invoices to be authenticated by the supplier using a digital signature/signature be done away with?

a. The seller will need to upload the e-invoice into the Invoice Registration Portal.

b. The signing of e-invoice by seller is not mandatory.

4. Will there be a time limit for e-invoice uploading for registration?

a. Yes, that will be notified by the Government.  Without registration of e-invoice the same will not be valid. Required changes will be made in the law.

b. Once uploaded to the invoice registration portal (IRP), it will be registered immediately, on real-time basis.

5. Will it be possible to allow invoices that are registered on invoice registration system/portal to be downloaded and/or saved on handheld devices?

a. Yes.

b. IRP System after registering the invoice, will share back digitally signed e-invoice for record of supplier. It will also be sent to the email address of recipient provided in the e-invoice.

6. Will it be possible to print the e-invoice?

a. Yes.

b. It will be possible for both the seller as well as the buyer to print the invoice, using the QR code as well as signed e-invoice returned by the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP).

Amendment/cancellation of e-invoice

1. Whether e-invoices generated through GST system can be partially/fully cancelled?

a. E-Invoice can’t be partially cancelled. It has to be fully cancelled.

b. The e-invoice mechanism enables invoices to be cancelled. This will have to be reported to IRN within 24 hours. Any cancellation after 24hrs could not be possible on IRN, however one can manually cancel the same on GST portal before filing the returns.

2. How would amendments be allowed in e-invoice?

a. Amendments to the e-invoice are allowed on GST portal as per provisions of GST law. All amendments to the e-invoice will be done on GST portal only.

Relationship with e-way bill

1. With the introduction of e-invoices, what are the documents need to be carried during transit of goods?

a. For transportation of goods, the e-way bill will continue to be mandatory, based on invoice value guidelines, as hitherto fore. This aspect will be notified by the Government when this mechanism will be notified.

Export/Import

1. Please clarify whether exports would require e-invoice compliance.

a. Yes.

b. The e-invoice schema also caters to the export invoices as well. The e-invoice schema is based on most common standard, this will help buyer’s system to read the e-invoice.  

2. Does the e-invoice allow the declaration of export invoices/ zero rated supplies?

a. Yes.

b. It allows the declaration of export invoices / zero rated supplies.

Others

1. What will be the workflow of the end to end e-invoice mechanism?

a. The end to end workflow will be provided by at the time of rollout of the e-invoice system.

2. Will the industry be provided sufficient time for preparation?

a. Yes.

b. The e-invoice mechanism is expected to be rolled out in phases from 01st Jan 2020 on voluntary basis.

c. Initially, the e-invoice mechanism will be allowed for tax payers above a certain turnover or above a certain invoice value or also to volunteers.

d. Subsequently, it will be enabled for all tax payers in a phased step-wise manner.

e. Details of these will be published subsequently.

Source: GSTN

What is GSTR 9? Have a Thorough Knowledge about GSTR 9 Online Filing Procedure

What is GSTR 9? Have a Thorough Knowledge about GSTR 9 Online Filing Procedure

These days you might have come across different types of returns which are to be filed under the GST regime. Here, we shall discuss the filing process of the GSTR 9 return in detail. GSTR 9 refers to an annual return which should be filed on a yearly basis by those taxpayers who are registered under the GST system. Further, it includes details related to inward and outward supplies received or made during the preceding year under various heads like SGST, CGST, IGST, and HSN codes. In fact, it is a consolidated statement of the entire monthly/quarterly returns such as GSTR 1, GSTR 2A, GSTR 3B, etc., which are filed during the relevant year. Though this return seems to be a bit complicated, it helps in the reconciliation of data, thereby facilitating complete transparency in the disclosures.

Who All are required to File GSTR 9?

All those taxpayers or taxable individuals who are registered under the GST regime are required to file their GSTR 9 return. Anyhow, the below-mentioned individuals need not file this return:

  • Those taxpayers who opt for composition scheme (they should file GSTR 9A)
  • Input service distributors
  • A casual taxable person
  • Those individuals who pay TDS under section 51 of the CGST Act
  • Non-resident taxable individuals

Important Note: According to the decision made in the 37th GST Council meeting held on 20th September 2019, the GSTR 9 filing for businesses that have a turnover up to Rs.2 crore have been made optional for FY 17-18 and FY 18-19* (*this has been subject to notification).

Due Date, Late Fee, and Penalty for Not Filing GSTR 9 Return

The annual GSTR 9 return form should be provided on or before 31st December in the concerned financial year bracket. In fact, the due date for filing GSTR 9 has been further prolonged to November 30th 2019.
If the GSTR 9 return has not been filed within the due date, the late fee is Rs.100
per day, according to both CGST and SGST Act. In other words, the total liability would be Rs.200 per day of default. Further, this would be subject to a maximum of 0.25% of the turnover of the taxpayer in the concerned state or Union Territory. Anyhow, as per the IGST Act, no late fee is required.

The Important Details Which are Required to be filled in the GSTR 9 Form

The GSTR 9 form has been broadly divided into 6 parts and 19 sections. Every part asks for information which is readily available from the previous returns as well as the books of accounts. Generally, the disclosure of annual sales needs to be done in this form, dividing it between the cases which are subjected to taxation and those which are not subjected to taxation. As concerned with the purchase side, the annual value of inward supplies, as well as the corresponding ITC (Input Tax Credit) availed, should be furnished. Further, these procurements should be categorized as inputs, capital goods, and input services. Moreover, the information concerning ITC that should be reversed owing to ineligibility should also be entered.

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The Different Types of Annual GST Returns

There are different types of annual returns which come under GST:

  • GSTR 9 Annual Return Form: A regular taxpayer who files GSTR 1 and GSTR 3B forms need to file the GSTR 9 return
  • GSTR 9A: All the composition scheme holders under GST are required to file the GSTR 9A return
  • GSTR 9B: All e-commerce operators are required to file the GSTR 9B return during a financial year
  • GSTR 9C: Those taxpayers whose annual turnover cross Rs.2 crore need to file the GSTR 9C return during a financial year. Further, these taxpayers need to collect the accounts which are to be audited, along with a copy of the tax reconciliation statement which has been already paid, the audited annual accounts, and the tax payable according to the audited accounts.

To summarize, you would be able to get a gist of the GSTR 9 online filing procedure from the information furnished here.

Explore the Salient Features of GSTR-1

Explore the Salient Features of GSTR-1

GSTR-1 refers to a particular kind of return for outward supplies, which should be filed by each registered dealer on a monthly or quarterly basis. It necessarily indicates the entire sales transactions of a business. This return is segregated into 13 sections which are listed below:

  1. The GSTIN of the business you are engaged in (you can also use a provisional Id as GSTIN, if you do not have one)
  2. The exact legal name of the business
  3.  The aggregate turnover achieved in the last financial year
  4. The taxable supplies/sales offered to registered individuals including UIN-holders
  5. Taxable sales/supplies offered to unregistered individuals who stay outside their base state and that exceeding Rs.2.5 Lakhs (which implies inter-state sales to unregistered individuals, which exceeds Rs.2.5 Lakhs)
  6. Export sales which is deemed and zero-rated
  7. Sales offered to unregistered individuals which is not included in the 5th point
  8. The entire sales which is carried out via an e-commerce operator
  9. The inter-state sales made to unregistered individuals up to an amount of Rs.2.5 Lakhs
  10. Exempted, nil-rated, and non-GST supplies – those which are exempted and not included in the above points
  11. Amendments made in taxable supplies/sales to registered businesses in the preceding months
  12. Amendments made in taxable supplies/sales to unregistered businesses in the past months
  13. Information regarding advances adjusted or received during a month, from the clients
  14. The HSN summary for outward supplies
  15. The documents which are issued during a month, which contain information on the invoice serial numbers, debit notes, and credit notes for the month.
Due Date For GSTR1

What is the Due Date for Filing GSTR-1?

The due date for filing GSTR-1 depends on the turnover of the business. Those businesses which have sales up to Rs.1.5 Crore would have to file quarterly returns whereas, other taxpayers that have sales more than Rs.1.5 Crore would have to file monthly returns which will be 11th of every month.

Who All Are Required to File GSTR-1?

Each registered person is needed to file GSTR-1, regardless of whether there are any transactions carried out during a particular month or not.

The list of registered individuals who are exempted from filing the return are given below:

  • Composition Dealers (The composition scheme is an easy scheme under GST for small-time taxpayers, in which they can avoid complicated GST formalities and remit GST for a fixed turnover rate. This scheme is applicable for those taxpayers that have a turnover less than Rs.1.0 Crore (as per a notification of CBIC, the threshold limit has been increased from Rs.1.0 Crore to Rs.1.5 Crore))
  • Input Service Distributors (An Input Service Distributor or ISD refers to a business for which invoices are issued for the services used by its branches. The tax paid is disbursed to these branches on a proportional basis by means of an ISD invoice. Further, though these branches can have dissimilar GSTINs, they need to have the same PAN as the ISD)
  • Those who are suppliers of Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval (OIDAR) services and have to pay tax by themselves according to Section 14 of the IGST Act
  • The taxpayers who are accountable to collect TCS (The TCS or the Tax Collected at Source refers to the tax owed by a seller which he collects from a buyer during the time of sale. There are certain organizations or people that are classified as sellers for TCS such as the State and Central governments, local authorities, statutory corporation or authority, the companies registered under the Companies Act, the partnership firms, etc. Similarly, there are a few buyers that are liable to pay TCS to the sellers like the Central and State governments, public sector companies, sports and social clubs, etc.
  • The taxpayers who are accountable to deduct TDS (The TDS or Tax Deducted at Source is a method to levy tax based upon a particular percentage on the amount, which should be paid by the receiver on services or goods. The tax which is collected thus would be taken as revenue by the government. The government agencies, local authorities, the departments or establishments belonging to the State or Central government, and some categories of people as per the notification of the government are liable in deducting TDS under the GST Law. Further, according to a recent notification, a board, or an authority, or any other body which is set up by the government, or a State Legislature, or Parliament, of which 51% equity is owned by the government are supposed to deduct TDS. Others who are eligible to deduct TDS include, a society which is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and has been established by a local authority or any State or Central government, and the public sector undertakings.
  • A non-resident taxable person (As per the GST Law, a non-resident taxable person refers to any individual who performs transactions which include the distribution of services or goods, or both, either as an agent or a principal, or in any other capacity, but do not have a residence or permanent place of business in India).

Is it Possible to Revise GSTR-1?

Once a return is filed, it is unable to revise the same. If there are any mistakes made in the filing of the return, it could be corrected in the next monthly or quarterly return. For example, if there is a mistake made in the September GSTR-1, you are able to rectify it in the October GSTR-1.

Consequences of Late Fee and Penalty

There is a late fee imposed if you do not file GSTR-1 on time, which is Rs.200 for each day of delay (Rs.100 each according to CGST and SGST Act. The late fee is charged from the date succeeding the due date.  As per a recent update, for nil returns, the late fee has been reduced to Rs.50 and Rs.20 for each day.

To sum it up, it is essential to know the basics of the GSTR-1 return before filing the same to avoid any mistakes. This blog gives an outline of what GSTR-1 is all about.

Realtors seek clarity on GST exemption on development rights 

Realtors seek clarity on GST exemption on development rights 

Mumbai: Realty developers are seeking clarity on recent exemption offered from the goods & services tax (GST) levied on development rights, including transferable development rights (TDRs), development rights certificates (DRCs) and joint development agreements (JDAs).

Realtors’ body, the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), has written to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs seeking clarity on this.

Last Sunday, the GST Council proposed that intermediate tax on development rights will be exempted only for such residential projects on which GST is payable.

The government decided to more than halve the GST rates for under-construction projects to 5% from 12%. The GST Council removed the input tax credit, while GST on affordable housing was reduced to a marginal 1% along with expanding the definition of such homes. Ready properties that have received occupancy certificate (OC) do not attract GST.

“What if some units are being sold after the project is completed? Being a completed project that has already received an occupation certificate, it will not attract GST. Will the JDA or TDRs used in this project still attract intermediate tax? We need to get clarity on this,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, national president, NARDECO.

The ministry has already announced that details of this scheme will be worked out by an officers committee and will be approved by the GST Council in a meeting to be called specifically for this purpose soon.

As the details of the scheme are yet to be worked out by an officers’ committee, the developers’ body has sought to make a representation to avoid confusions or litigations later on. NAREDCO is of the view that the condition to be fulfilled to receive the tax exemption — “only for such residential projects on which GST is payable” — may lead to litigations.

In its letter to the ministry earlier this week, the developers’ body has cited instances that can lead to confusion and litigations. These examples include that of a residential project with convenience and retail shops, smart and integrated townships tagged as mixed-use development, and sale of residential units post completion of the project.

The NAREDCO representation is that the wording should be: “Tax on development rights, such as TDR/ JDA, long-term lease (premium), FSI shall be exempted”. Effectively, there should be no levying of ‘intermediate tax’ and the exemption should not be restricted to just ‘residential property’, but to all segments and types of property including commercial.

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Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com
Taxpayers Alert! Check out these 8 new features at GST Portal: Here’s how easy GSTR filing gets for you

Taxpayers Alert! Check out these 8 new features at GST Portal: Here’s how easy GSTR filing gets for you

TDS/TCS Credit available for utilization

A new window has been enabled for claiming TDS/TCS credits. The taxpayer has the option of accepting or rejecting the TDS/TCS credits available and filing their return, after which the credits get transferred to the cash ledger and can be used for making GST payments.

This facility helps taxpayers easily identify such credits and take action accordingly.

E-way bill data can be imported for GSTR-1

The E-way bill (EWB) and the GST portal has now been integrated. The same gets automatically imported for the B2B and B2C (large) invoices sections as well as the HSN-wise-summary of outward supplies section. Users only need to verify the data and proceed.

This has definitely saved both time and effort for a business person, as it avoids unnecessary data-entry. However, many businesses were performing this sort of reconciliation themselves using smart tools to ensure accuracy of data.

List of preferred banks available for making payments

A taxpayer can choose from a list of 6 preferred banks that will be auto-saved at the time of making payments. If he makes payment through a 7th bank account, the same will get added, and the least used bank account will get removed. He has the option to delete the bank accounts at any point in time.

With this feature in place,the taxpayer need not enter bank details every time, as he can simply select a bank with the click of a button and proceed to make payment.

Refund applications can be filed monthly for quarterly filers

There is good news for taxpayers opting to make payments on a quarterly basis. They now do not have to wait for the quarterly filing of refund applications, as the same can be done monthly. However, a prerequisite for the same would be to ensure that GSTR-1 for the quarter has been filed.

This will definitely help mobilise the working capital flows of business as there is no longer a need to wait till the end of a quarter to apply for a refund.

Appeals can be filed online and system-generated acknowledgment will be issued

A taxpayer can file an appeal against an order passed by an appellate authority, or against an advanced ruling by an appellate authority on the GST portal. He even has the option to file an application with the appellate authority in the case of rectification of a mistake in order passed.

In the event of an appellate authority failing to issue a final acknowledgment within the stipulated time, then a system generated final acknowledgment will be issued with the remark “subject to validation of certified copies”. This has simplified the process of filing appeals and also helps to track the status of the same.

Composition taxpayers can reply to SCN online for compulsory withdrawal

For composition taxpayers, there is a simpler way to reply to show cause notices(SCN) now. This is in the case of a show cause notice being issued for compulsory withdrawal from the composition scheme, and if proceedings are initiated against the composition taxpayer, he now has the option to reply to show cause notices on the portal.

Bank account details not mandatory at the time of registration

Declaring bank account details are now optional at the time of registration for Normal, OIDAR and NRTP taxpayers. Previously, this was a mandatory requirement. The bank account details can be updated at a later date, which will be at the time of the first login.

Hence, a GST registration number can be obtained without the same. New businesses who are in the process of obtaining bank accounts can simultaneously proceed with GST registration, thus saving time.

Claiming of ITC and amendment of B2B invoices of 17-18 are re-opened up till March 2019

Users can now amend B2B invoices of FY 2017-18. The facility to amend the GSTR-1 details of FY 17-18 was closed on filing the September 2018 return. The same has been made available while filing returns for the months of January to March 2019. The input tax credit of FY 2017-18 that was omitted and hence unclaimed up till September 2018 can be claimed now up to March 2019 as well. This was a much-needed remedy for taxpayers who made errors reporting any invoice in the past or previously missed out claiming genuine credit.

While there are updates being rolled out from time-to-time, users are still hoping to see a smooth system that is completely online and indefectible. In the future, users can look forward to more new updates that would familiarise taxpayers with the new return system that is likely to be introduced by July 2019

 

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Source: zeebiz.com
Guest house for employees a perk, cannot claim GST input credit rules Odisha AAAR

Guest house for employees a perk, cannot claim GST input credit rules Odisha AAAR

A new ruling by the Appellate Authority of Advance Ruling (AAAR) can open a Pandora’s Box when it comes to an employer, employee relationship and the nature of perquisites being provided.

The case came up when the National Aluminum Company Limited (NACL), a manufacturer of aluminum metal, decided to appeal against the ruling pronounced by the Odisha Authority for Advance Ruling.

NACL has townships at Angul, Damonjodi, and Bhubaneswar for its employees and also runs hospitals at Damanjodi and Angul for its employees along with guest houses for touring employees and guests. The bone of contention was that NACL wanted to claim input credit in maintaining hospitals, residential colonies and guest house and also the upkeep of garden in the residential colonies, mine and office premises. When the case went to the Odisha Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR), input credit was disallowed for some activities.

According to the AAR, inward supplies received by way of management, repair, renovation for furnishing the residential colony does not qualify for the input tax credit as residential accommodation is an exempted supply.

The input tax credit is also not admissible in respect of services and goods procured for maintenance of hospitals and pharmacy outlet as such services, being nil rated also fall under exempt supplies. Similarly, the service availed in relation to plant & garden in the residential colony will also not qualify for input tax credit

NACL was, however, entitled to input tax credit of the tax paid on inward supply of input and input service for maintenance of the guest house, transit house & training hostel. Also, services availed in relation to plantation and gardening within the plant area including mining area and the premises of other business establishments will also qualify for input tax credit.

Following the order by the AAR, the Commissioner (CX &GST, Bhubaneswar) interestingly also preferred to appeal against the order, challenging that the order is not legal and proper to the extent it has allowed credit for maintenance of guest house, hostel and service utilized for plantation and gardening within the plant area, administrative building.

Justifications by NACL in its appeal:
The AAR has wrongly held that the company’s activities of management, maintenance or repair of the townships are not for or in relation to its core business while denying the credit of the tax paid on the goods and services used for management, maintenance or repair of the township of its employees, and horticulture in township. NACL said it undertakes such activities for its business in the course or furtherance of business and, therefore, it is entitled to take credit of tax paid on such services.
The infrastructure of township at Angul, Damanjodi and Bhubaneswar are necessary to run large scale business of manufacturing, where thousands of employees are working.
In terms of GST laws, not only the manufacturing activity but any incidental or ancillary activities thereof are also covered within the expression “business” in the GST laws. Maintenance of various facilities in residential townships is integrally related to the business activities of the appellant and not a welfare activity undertaken by the appellant.

Contentions by the Commissioner:
Residential colonies are built for the welfare and benefit of the employees and extending any sort of benefit to the employees cannot be treated as something used or intended to be used in the course or furtherance of business
Similarly, the ruling of the AAR that utility of service provided through plantation & gardening within the plant area including mining area will be eligible for credit is also not legal and proper as it does not do not pass the legal test, which is used or intended to be used in course or furtherance of business.

Final ruling of the Appellate Authority of Advance Ruling (AAAR):
After considering the legal provisions and facts of the case, the AAAR held as follows:
The ruling of the AAR that inward supplies received by NACL for management, repair, renovation, alteration or maintenance service or goods received for furnishing the residential colony will not qualify for input tax credit is found to be correct.
Expenditure incurred by NACL towards construction, reconstruction, renovation, additions or alterations or repairs to the residential colony including plantation and gardening is not eligible for input tax benefit as it is nothing but a perquisite. “This ruling is likely to open the debate on whether an expenditure incurred by employee qualifies as a perquisite or a business expense incurred during the course or furtherance of business. This is because credit for former is not available while for later it may be available. It is time to re-look at the employment contracts,” says Harpreet Singh, Partner, KPMG India.
However, the AAAR held that the ruling of the AAR entitling NACL to input tax credit of the tax paid on inward supply of input and input services for maintenance of guest house transit house and trainee hostel is found to be not correct as the same is also a perquisite in favour of the employees.
The AAAR, however, allowed credit to NACL on services availed in relation to plantation and gardening within the plant area including mining area and the premises of other business establishments citing that it is a business necessity for controlling pollution as well as atmospheric temperature.

The same is also mandated in various laws under which the Applicant conducts its business such as the Forest Conservation Act, the Environment Protection Act, etc. Therefore, such activities are integral to the business activity and hence can be treated as activities in course or furtherance of its business.

“This is a positive order for the industry as, while allowing input credit of services availed in relation to plantation and gardening within factory premises, the authorities have not only considered whether such expenditure was warranted by any statutory law, but also taken cognizance of the expenditure being a business necessity for controlling pollution, temperature and preventing soil erosion,” added said Singh.
There is a thin line between perquisite and business expenditure and the ruling does not do anything to reduce confusion. For businesses, it will be a setback that facilities like guesthouse that carry certain expenditure, does not qualify for input credit. In considering maintaining and running a guest house as a cost-to-company, the AAAR has stated it in not in furtherance of the business nor is it integral part of the business. The debate on employee benefit and business expenditure is likely to continue.

 

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Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com
GST collections pegged at Rs 7.61 lakh crore for FY20; FY19 budgeted target missed

GST collections pegged at Rs 7.61 lakh crore for FY20; FY19 budgeted target missed

New Delhi: GST collections by the Centre missed the budgeted target set for the current fiscal by Rs 1 lakh crore, while total mop-up from the indirect tax has been pegged at over Rs 7.61 lakh crore for 2019-20.

The government had budgeted to collect over Rs 7.43 lakh crore from Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the current fiscal ending March. However, in the revised estimates, the revenue mop-up has been pegged at over Rs 6.43 lakh crore.

So far, in the 10 months (April-January) of the current fiscal, total GST collections by the Centre and states stood at over Rs 9.71 lakh crore.

For the full fiscal 2018-19, the GST collection target of the Centre and states was Rs 13.48 lakh crore.

Presenting the Interim Budget for 2019-20, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said in spite of major rate reductions and relaxations, revenue trends are encouraging.

“The average monthly tax collection in the current year is Rs 97,100 crore per month as compared to Rs 89,700 crore per month in the first year,” Goyal said.

The state revenues, he said, are improving with guaranteed 14 percent annual revenue increase for the first five years from the implementation of GST.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) was rolled out on July 1, 2017, and has consolidated 17 central and state levies.

Goyal added that GST has resulted in the increased tax base, higher collections, and ease of trade.

“This will reduce the interface between the taxpayer and the government for day-to-day operations and assessments. Now returns are fully online and e-way bill system is in place,” he said.

Goyal said with the introduction of GST, inter-state movement of goods has become faster, more efficient, and hassle-free with no entry tax, check posts, and truck queues.

The minister also said that the GST rate has been continuously reduced, providing relief of about Rs 80,000 crore annually to consumers.

Most items of daily use for the poor and middle class are now in the zero percent or 5 percent tax slab, he said.

“Our government wants the GST burden on home buyers to be reduced and accordingly we have moved the GST Council to appoint a group of ministers to examine and make recommendations in this regard at the earliest,” he added.

Further, he said more than 35 lakh small traders, manufacturers, and service providers will benefit from the trader-friendly measures.

“Soon, businesses comprising over 90 percent of GST payers will be allowed to file a quarterly return,” Goyal said.

GST collection stood at Rs 1.03 lakh crore in April, Rs 94,016 crore in May, Rs 95,610 crore in June, Rs 96,483 crore in July, Rs 93,960 crore in August, Rs 94,442 crore in September, Rs 1,00,710 crore in October, Rs 97,637 crore in November, Rs 94,725 crore in December 2018 and over Rs 1 lakh crore in January 2019.

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Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com
GST entry error proves costly to company

GST entry error proves costly to company

But High Court has stepped in to save a firm that was deprived of credit of nearly Rs 10 crore, by asking the nodal officer to decide on a correction

The High Court has directed a GST nodal officer to consider the corrections sought by a company which had made a mistake while filing a GST form. This had led to the deprivation of credit to the tune of nearly Rs 10 crore. The company said it was a bonafide error which should be corrected.

Pragati Automation Pvt Ltd approached the HC with a petition seeking direction to the GST authorities to permit it to correct an error in the GST Tran-1 form it had filed. Due to the “bonafide error which has crept in while filing the form,” the company was “deprived of the transitional credit of an amount of Rs 9,74,57,802 in their electronic credit ledger”.

Considering the problem on hand the HC noted, “It is the contention of the petitioner that after the GST regime has been implemented in India, the petitioner filed GST TRAN-I claiming the credit of Rs 9,74,57,802 in Column-5 of Table 5(a) of Form GST TRAN-1 well within the time prescribed by the statute. Revised Form GST Tran-1 was filed by the petitioner on 27.12.2017 after including the details of goods sent to job worker and held in stock on behalf of the principal manufacturer in terms of Section 141 of CGST Act credit pertaining to job work.

However, credit claim was indicated only in Column-5 of Table 5(a) but not in Column-6. The electronic credit ledger reflected the credit of Rs 5,89,346.”

The nodal officer is obligated to consider the complaint and take a decision in the matter.

–High Court

The company made several complaints to the GST nodal officer but these were not considered, forcing it to file the petition before the High Court. The HC said that the nodal officer is obligated to consider the complaint and take a decision in the matter. Since it was not done, the HC ordered the nodal officer “to consider the complaint/representation made by the petitioner to the writ petition and take a decision in accordance with the law in an expedite manner.”

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 Source: Bangalore Mirror Bureau

 

CGST Amendment Act – Key changes in the GST made effective from 1 February 2019

CGST Amendment Act – Key changes in the GST made effective from 1 February 2019

  • Out-and-out sales and high sea sales outside the ambit of GST:Transactions, where goods are physically moved from a place outside India to another place outside India, without such goods entering the territory of India (known as out-and-out sales in trade parlance), have been declared neither as supply of goods nor supply of services under as Schedule III of the CGST Act. Transactions of high sea sales are also included under Schedule III.
  • Reverse charge on procurements from unregistered dealers:Rather than a blanket levy of tax on procurements from unregistered dealers under reverse charge mechanism, Section 9(4) has been amended to levy tax only on procurements by notified assessees. It remains to be seen which class of assessees will be notified for this purpose
  • Ambit of input tax credit widened:Section 17 of the CGST Act has been amended to expand the scope of input tax credit to include motor vehicles having a capacity of more than 13 persons. Credit on other motor cars is also available if they are used for the specified purposes. Further, credit on health insurance, outdoor catering, etc. will be available if such services are required to be provided to employees by the assessee in terms of any law for the time being in force (e.g. Factories Act, labor laws, etc.).
  • Multiple registrations in one State:Earlier, separate registrations could be obtained in one State only if the assessee had distinct ‘business verticals’ in that State. This concept has been done away with by amending Section 25 and now, assessees may choose to obtain separate registrations in the same State irrespective of whether they qualify as distinct business verticals or not.
  • Flexibility in issuing debit/credit notes:Earlier, the law, as well as the GSTN portal, accepted a single credit note or debit note against one invoice. However, assessees faced practical difficulties since certain debit/credit notes were to be issued against thousands of invoices. Section 34 has been amended to permit issuance of a single debit/credit note against multiple invoices. This will obviate the difficulty faced by assessees, especially in the cement, steel and automobile industries
  • Simplification of GST returns:The GST Council approved putting in place system of filing a single monthly return in place of the existing 3 monthly returns. However, the existing system of filing GSTR-3B and GSTR-1 will remain in place until such a time the new monthly return is notified. Section 43A has been inserted in the CGST Act to carry out this change. However, this provision will not take effect from 1 February 2019 but will come into force only when the new system of returns is ready
  • Order of set-off: Section 49 of the CGST Act, SGST input tax credit can be set off against IGST liability only if CGST input tax credit balance is insufficient for this purpose. Hence, the order of set-off of input tax credit is strictly laid down under the CGST Act itself. Further, SGST or CGST credit balance can be utilized against IGST liability only after IGST balance has been exhausted. Earlier, while the law was ambiguous on this point, the GSTN portal allowed set-off of SGST only after CGST balance was exhausted
  • Transitional credit to exclude cesses: Section 140 of the CGST Act has been retrospectively amended to exclude cesses such as Krishi Kalyan Cess. This issue was hotly debated with the AAR denying the benefit of such credit in Re Kansai Nerolac Paints Ltd. [2018-VIL-11-AAR]

  • Amendment in place of supply provisions: The place of supply of transactions of transportation of goods to a place outside India will be the destination of goods in terms of the amendment made to Section 13 of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (the IGST Act). Consequently, the Indian logistics firm will be able to take advantage of this provision to claim export benefits. Further, the place of supply in case of job work services has been excluded from the performance-based rule. Hence, job workers based in India will be able to claim export benefits

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Source: mondaq.com
GST, a game-changer reform for logistics sector

GST, a game-changer reform for logistics sector

It has been 15 months since the rollout of what is considered one of India’s biggest tax reforms — the Goods and Services Tax (GST). But, we are already witnessing a major positive transition in the logistics sector.

Outsourcing and the value addition in the logistics sector is set to take off post-GST. Considering the double-digit growth, the logistics market would exceed $250 billion in the next two years. As per a recent survey, the Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to 22 million-plus people, which is expected to be over 40 million by 2020. The high rate of growth in the next couple of years is expected largely due to the implementation of GST.

GST has replaced at least 7 indirect tax heads and has eliminated the need for warehouse hubs across States. Further, GST has eliminated check posts across the nation and thereby waiting time, leading to at least 12-15% reduction in the turnaround time of trucks.

Better utilization of assets like vehicles and warehouses will lead to efficiency and increased productivity thus lowering overall cost. This would considerably benefit the supply chain directly and India’s growth indirectly.

The manufacturing and other services sectors have now started planning their supply chains, bearing in mind fleet cost and fast delivery, rather than tax structure and compliance.

Competitive edge

Pre-GST, the Indian logistics sector was struggling to add value to customers, compared to global peers. Indian firms were seen as labor contractors or mere transporters, which denied them the benefits of being a part of the supply chain. But the equation has changed now.

Manufacturers are looking to optimize supply chains and are willing to outsource value-added planning to logistics players, who have invested in technology and operate with a focus on quality and compliance. These logistics players are seeing a positive shift in the mindset of their clients and are gaining momentum. Further, small transporters can also now work with third-party logistics (3PL) providers and expand their fleet. GST has aided this move at a faster clip.

Post GST, there is a marked improvement in the use of technology and digitization by logistics players. 3PL players can become real ‘differentiators’ as they embrace technology to enhance the visibility of load carried, turn-around time, vehicle utilization, improvement in loading/unloading time by removing congestion at the docks, and the like.

Equipped with technology and software for load design solutions, vehicle geo-tracking, inventory (order/part level) tracking and route optimization, 3PL players add more value to their customers’ supply chain.

Logistics costs have been one of the biggest stumbling blocks for Indian manufacturers eyeing exports. At about 13-14% of GDP, India’s logistics cost is high and compares with about 8% in advanced nations that have efficient systems. This despite the percentage of outsourcing being higher in developed markets.

The Centre has made clear its intention to bring down this cost to less than 10%, which would make Indian manufacturers globally relevant.

The Centre created a new division in the Commerce Ministry to deal with the integrated development of logistics and urged all stakeholders to bring to India relevant best practices to enhance efficiency in logistics.

This is a good move as logistics firms used to deal with six different ministries separately and each would require separate paperwork and formalities. It is a big sense of relief to note there will soon be a system where a single document would be accepted for multi-modal logistics within India.

India has moved from the 54th position in 2014 to 44th in 2018 in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index.

Infrastructure status

The much-awaited ‘infrastructure’ status to the sector was conferred in November 2017, which is helping the sector avail cheaper finance (2% lower) for its warehousing and cold storage needs.

This will bring in a lot more players with an integrated service approach that would again help Indian manufacturers. New investments in this sector is good news as it could create a lot more jobs in the near future.

Together, the implementation of GST and other reforms have already started bringing efficiencies into the supply chain of various firms. Digitization, asset utilization, and visibility enhancement are facilitating better value-added outsourcing to logistics firms.

The government, too, has realized that aspirations for economic growth, employment generation, manufacturing, and exports are all inextricably linked to the efficient management of logistics.


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Source: The Hindu
Author: T V Sundram Iyengar 
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