The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) releases a Statistical Report on completion of 3 years of GST Implementation.
The report highlights the key statistics regarding registration trend from April 2018 to June 2020; active taxpayers as on June 30, 2020; month-wise returns filed since July 2017; GSTR-1 return filing trend from July 2017 to May 2020; GSTR-3B filing compliance as on June 30, 2020; and Invoice Count as per Turnover Slab.
The report in relation to payment highlights from April 2018 to March 2019 and from April 2019 to March 2020; it further highlights the Contribution to GST Revenue from different Constitutions of Business.
The report in relation to refunds highlights the Data Transmission to Customs for Refund of IGST Paid on Export of Goods from June 2019 till June 2020; and Online Refund Status as on June 30, 2020.
The report in relation to E-way Bills highlights the E-way bill Statistics from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020; E-way bill generation from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020; modes of E-way Bill Generation; E-way bill Statistics during COVID-19 Pandemic; and upward Movement in E-way Bill Generation from 3rd week of April.
The report further highlighted the GSTN Outreach Initiatives which included Tax Officials and Stakeholders Training during 2019-20 and GSTNs YouTube Channel 2017-2020.
The GSTN introduced a GST Interactive Technical Assistant named Chatbot on 26th June 2020. GITA is loaded with pre-drafted responses to the queries asked by taxpayers on common topics, such as- Payment, E-way bill, Registration, Refunds, and Returns, etc. The Chatbot works on Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technology. This 24×7 facility is available on the GST portal for mobile users too.
The report further included the Social Media Statistics; Services like helpdesk; Number of Officers Using GST Back Office; Taxpayer Helpdesk; and Taxpayer Assistance.
Even after the government repeated multiple times that all goods trucks are exempt from movement restrictions, their movement in April fell drastically to 15 per cent of what it was in February. The number in March fell by nearly 30 per cent compared to that in February.
Data of e-way bills issued — which is mandatory for transporting goods worth over Rs 50,000 — shows that even after the Centre allowed movement of all trucks and goods carriers on March 29, goods movement on the road has barely been able to bounce back since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25.
GST Network data shows that against 5.72 crore e-way bills issued in February, only 86.09 lakh such bills were issued in April. These numbers include both inter as well as intra-state e-way bills. In March, when truck movement had nearly come to a halt, the total e-way bills issued were nearly 4.07 crore. In the first five days of May, 10.46 lakh bills have been issued. This means that from an average of 19.7 lakh e-way bills issued daily in February, the number slipped to 13.1 lakh daily e-way bills in March, then drastically to 2.87 lakh in April and 2.09 lakh for May so far.
However, it is important to note that the Centre had, in March, extended the validity of all e-way bills issued before March 24, due to the disruption caused by the lockdown. Usually, each e-way bill is valid for a day for a 100-km stretch of the truck’s journey.
The government, in a notification issued on May 5, extended all the e-way bills issued before March 24 till May 31. It had also extended the deadline to file Goods and Services Tax (GST) returns for entities with turnover of over Rs 5 crore by 15 days from the due date without payment of any late fee, interest and penalty. GST returns for transactions in March were to be filed by April 20, which was extended till May 5.
Even as almost all goods movement froze after the lockdown was announced, the government first clarified that movement of essential goods is allowed. Through another order on March 29, it allowed movement of all essential as well as non-essential goods.
In a letter to the chief secretaries of states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla clarified that “transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, have been allowed”, giving permission for trucks and goods carrier to move within the states and across states as well.
However, the GST Network data shows that not only has intra-state movement of trucks and goods carriers been severely hit, their movement between states has been affected even more.
While the inter-state e-way bills issued for February and March were about 40 per cent of the total e-way bills for these months, in April, the share of inter-state e-way bills in the total was just 28.3 per cent. Of the 86.09 lakh bills, inter-state e-way bills in April were only 24.43 lakh. For the first six days of May, inter-state e-way bills account for only 30.8 per cent of the total e-way bills.
Interestingly, the Centre is yet to disclose the GST collection figures for April. GST numbers for each month are usually released on the first day of the next month, but the government has deferred the release of the April GST figures. GST mop-up in March 2020 had slid below Rs 1 lakh crore to Rs 97,597 crore, an 8 per cent fall from the March 2019 collection of Rs 1.06 lakh crore.
GST authorities have unearthed a tax racket and arrested one person for allegedly defrauding the government to the tune of about Rs 140 crore through fraudulent means. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in a release said that the Central GST Delhi North Commissionerate has unearthed a racket “involving supply of goods-less invoices and invoice-less goods”.
One person has been arrested in the connection and sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
The accused was found to be operating 10 fake firms which were created for rotation of money and fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC), thus defrauding the exchequer.
“Prima facie fraudulent ITC of about Rs 140 crore has been passed on using invoices involving an amount of Rs 1,040 crore,” it said.
Giving further details, it said the modus operandi of the accused, inter alia, involved obtaining GST registration of fake firms using documents of unsuspecting individuals and generating good-less invoices and e-way bills of these firms from a premise in Tilak Bazar, Delhi.
On preliminary scrutiny it appears that there is no nexus between inward and outward supplies of the errant firms, CBIC said.
Further, the fake firms have passed on fraudulent ITC to a range of buyers who have availed the same to discharge their GST liability on outward supplies, thus defrauding the exchequer.
Today, the term ‘E-way bill’ is used extensively. It refers to an electronically-generated document which is needed for the movement of goods whose value is more than Rs.50,000, from one place to another all over India, except Delhi. In the case of movement of goods within Delhi, an E-way bill needs to be created for goods whose value is more than Rs.1 Lakh. Further, this document needs to be generated online for moving goods, regardless of whether such transportation happens intra-state or inter-state. In fact, the E-way bill generated in any state is valid in every state as well as the Union Territory of India.
How long is an E-way Bill Valid?
An E-way bill is valid for a certain period as given below from the relevant date:-
Period of Validity
Distance which is less than 100 km
For each 100 km or part thereof
1 Added Day
Here the relevant date for calculating the validity of the E-way bill will be the date on which it has been generated. Further, the validity period starts from the time at which the E-way bill has been generated, and every day till the period of expiry shall be counted, which would end on the midnight of the next day of generation of E-way bill.
In exceptional cases where the goods could not be moved within the designated validity period stated in the E-way bill, the transporter needs to generate another E-way bill after updating the information in Part B of Form GST EWB 01. Further, in the case of certain goods, the commissioner may prolong the validity period of the E-way bill.
What is the Date of the Applicabilityof E-way Bill?
The applicability of E-way bill under the GST system is from 1st April 2018 for the transportation of goods from one state to another. Further, the E-way bill has been implemented in different stages during the period starting from 15th April 2018 to 16th June 2018. The stage-by-stage roll-out has been completed now and currently, the E-way bill is applicable in all of the states. With the introduction of E-way bill under the GST system, the way bill, a physical document which has been mandatory under the VAT regime for the purpose of transporting goods, is been replaced by the former.
Who All Are Required to Generate an E-way Bill?
The E-way bill under the GST system needs to be generated by
Each registered individual who is responsible for the transportation of goods
In connection with a supply (for example, sales); or
For some other reasons than supply (for example, branch transfer, sales return, etc.); or
Owing to inward supply received from an unregistered individual
Each unregistered person who is responsible for the transportation of goods.
Generation of E-way Bill by a Registered Person
If the transportation of goods is done by a registered person as a consignor (that is, seller) or the recipient of supply is carried out as a consignee (that is, buyer) in his own vehicle, or a hired one, or by vessel, or by railroad, or by air, the registered person or the recipient would be able to generate the E-way bill in Form GST EWB 01 on the common portal, after filling in the necessary details in Part B of the Form GST EWB 01.
Suppose if a registered person sends the goods to the transporter for moving those by road, and if the E-way bill for the same has not been generated, the responsibility of generating the E-way bill would be on the transporter. The registered individual should provide the information concerning the transporter first in Part B of the Form GST EWB 01 on the portal, following which the E-way bill would be generated by the transporter as per the information provided by the registered individual in Part A of the Form GST EWB 01.
Generation of E-way Bill by an Unregistered Person
If the goods are moved by a person who is unregistered under the GST regime in his own conveyance, or by means of a hired one, or via a transporter, the E-way bill would have to be generated by the transporter or by the unregistered person himself in Form GST EWB 01 on the government portal. Further, if the goods are delivered by an unregistered person to a registered person, and the latter is aware of the time of the transportation of goods, the responsibility regarding the movement of goods falls on the registered person. In such circumstances, either the transporter or the registered person would have to complete the formalities regarding the generation of the E-way bill.
What are the Responsibilities of a Transporter?
If the consignor (seller) or the consignee (buyer) has not generated the E-way bill and the total value of the consignment is greater than Rs.50,000, the transporter would have to generate Form GST EWB 01 as per the invoice, or delivery challan, or bill of supply
A transporter who shifts goods from one conveyance to another during a transit is required to modify the details of the conveyance in the E-way bill on the government portal before such transfer is made and also before he proceeds further with the movement of goods
If there are several consignments to be transported in a conveyance, the transporter should provide the serial number of each E-way bill generated individually with regard to every consignment on the common portal, and a consolidated E-way bill should be generated in the Form GST EWB 02 on the GST portal before moving the goods.
The SituationsWhere E-way Bills are not required
It is not needed to generate E-way bills in the below-mentioned circumstances:
The goods are moved to a distance less than 10 km within a certain state, from the business location of the consignor to that of the transporter for moving it further
The goods are moved to a distance less than 10 km within a particular state, from the business location of the transporter to that of the consignee
The goods are conveyed from the airport, port, land customs station, and air cargo complex to a domestic container yard or a freight station for the purpose of clearance by the Customs department
The goods are conveyed by a non-motorized conveyance
The transportation of goods within those areas mentioned under clause (d) of sub-rule (14) of rule 138 of the GST Rules governing the concerned state
For some goods like jewelry, personal and household stuff, etc.
Note: For transporting goods to a distance greater than 10 km but lesser than 50 km, the generation of E-way bill is compulsory. However, it is not required to provide the transportation details in the concerned E-way bill.
The Documents Which Are to be carried by those in Charge of Transportation
The person in charge of transportation need to carry:
The invoice, or delivery challan, or bill of supply, and
A copy of the E-way bill or the E-way bill number, either physically or connected to a Radio Frequency Identification Device which is implanted on to the conveyance in a manner which is notified by the commissioner.
To sum it up, here the rules and regulations concerning the E-way bills are discussed in detail to provide an insight into the entire procedure.
GST 2.0: Preparing for integration of e-way bills with GST returns
As we prepare to enter the next phase of GST compliance, e-way bills are set to take center stage. With the two systems, GST return filings and e-way bills, likely to see integration and confluence, the challenges are important to make sure that businesses comply with them.
GSTN along with GST Council is steadily paving the way for a smooth transition into the GST 2.0 – the newly proposed GST Return filing system to be introduced on the GST portal. While the full-fledged implementation is starting from 1st July 2019, the pilot run is set to begin in April 2019. While the e-way bill site has seen significant developments in terms of the user interface since its inception, the GST authority has noticed that it is a right time to start integrating the same with GST portal.
One of its plan of actions is to disallow taxpayers from using the e-way bill site from generating e-way bills when they default in filing of GST Returns for two periods consecutively. This would apply when either of GSTR-3B or GSTR-4, whichever applicable, is not filed. It has been observed that most of the taxpayers generating e-way bills belong to the class of taxpayers contributing the most to the GST collections.
Further, sufficient time has lapsed in making sufficient e-way bill data available, which can now be analyzed and gaps can be identified. This change will act as an important tool to locate defaulting taxpayers to fix GST revenue collections. The effective date to implement the rule is still under wraps and currently, the validation on the portal is being worked on.
Another plan of action which has just seen a start is the invoice data transfer from the e-way bill portal to the GST portal for the filing of GSTR-1. This move meets a two-fold objective. The most evident one is to make the users feel accommodative of the ease in data-handling and achieving accuracy. The second objective is to allow real-time monitoring of the transactions to keep an eye on the cases of tax evasion.
The facility for importing e-way bill data for preparing GSTR-1 is already up and running on the GST portal login. It allows importing only those invoices against which e-way bills were generated during the tax period. This serves as an alternative mode of data ingestion apart from the existing methods like excel, JSON or API Integration. However, a taxpayer may still have to separately import the details of the invoices that are not subject to e-way bill rules. The integration works on the basis of a proper declaration of GST Identification number (GSTIN) while generating e-way bills.
It is a noble idea to eliminate the need for multiple feeds of the same invoice data by a taxpayer from the ERP or the accountant’s system onto the GST portal and e-way bill portal. It is a critical regulatory checkpoint to ensure the right amount of ITC claims by businesses through automation.
While these actions point towards the long-term goal of using technology to boost tax compliance, these are most likely to continue under the newly proposed GST Return filing system with few tweaks to fit into the system.
The new system proposes an automated intake of sales invoices on a real-time basis, it also allows the buyer to accept or reject these online, and facilitates seamless single return filing (MAIN Return) for the month. Buyers can also keep such invoices on hold for claiming the Input Tax Credit (ITC) in the following month. His actions will be visible to the seller too, thus enabling lesser turnaround time to file GST Returns.
Small taxpayers having less turnover have got multiple options to submit their quarterly returns – SAHAJ or SUGAM or a more elaborate version of the QUARTERLY return. Likewise, the composition dealers have to continue filing GSTR-4 with the frequency to file being changed now to yearly instead of quarterly.
The crucial aim of building the GST system is to allow a free and transparent flow of credit for taxpayers. The new system looks up to accomplish this. Despite the propositions, there will likely be a few hardships. The input claimed on the missing invoices by the recipient can be filed by the seller within next two tax periods from the input claimed by the recipient. However, if the same is not filed by the supplier, the input claimed by the recipient shall be ultimately reversed with interest and penalty.
Though, taxpayers will continue to face the risk due to the default of supplier when an invoice is not uploaded and returns are not filed timely. Recourse to a genuine buyer is still not available. With the eco-system will continue to evolve and compliance will take center stage for those who want to grow their business. These validations point out that the authorities are chalking out a definitive plan for making way to a smooth implementation of GST 2.0, its on ground implementation will be key.
Come July, the scheduled date for GST launch, even a cycle rickshaw puller may have to use his mobile phone to generate an electronic challan -an electronic way bill -to move a high-end TV or fridge from a warehouse to a store.
For that matter, a Eureka Forbes salesman too will have to generate an e-way bill since the value of spares and components in his bag usually exceeds Rs 50,000, the threshold beyond which a challan has to be generated, said tax experts.
Long used to ad-hoc functioning, businesses find this rule bewildering as moving a flagship Apple or Samsung phone will also require an electronic way bill.
“There are practical issues. Connectivity may be a problem when our trucks go to source milk or fruits and vegetables from farmers,” said Mother Dairy CFO Meghnad Mitra. Fresh bills will be needed when processed milk or fruits and vegetables move out from Mother Dairy units, but Mitra sees it as a lesser challenge.
What if a truck breaks down while shipping goods from, say, Ludhiana to a port? The transporter will need to generate a new challan for the replacement truck.
Courier companies face more complexity. An e-way bill will be needed to be generated whenever goods exceeding the threshold value are collected and moved from an office to their godown.
Another challan will be needed when the goods are loaded in an aircraft or truck. The process will be repeated on arrival in the destination city.
E-way bills are valid for a limited duration. For instance, the validity for distances less than 100km is only a day; beyond 1,000km, it increases to 15 days. A new challan is required if a truck exceeds the time slab for the distance.
“Our drivers will need training although I am not sure if they will still be able to do it,” said Kanpur-based Goldie, who claimed to represent an association of around 1,000 truckers.
Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training’s S P Singh, however, says that the problem is overstated as 2.5 lakh transporters, ac counting for 95% goods traffic on road are well versed with computers and smartphones and in a position to carry out any e-way bill-like transaction. He, however, suggested that the limit could be raised from Rs 50,000.
Given the complications, many expect the implementation of e-way bills, which are meant to ease border checks and save time through machine-readable radio frequency identification tags, will be deferred. Earlier this month, revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia also said the government will provide time to transporters to adjust to the new system.
“The system of e-way bill is a major reform and will remove many complications. Initially, we will only observe the behaviour (of transporters). We will be flexible and won’t put penalties from the start,” he said at a conference.
Officials told TOI the government is reviewing the norms and various options are on the table, including restricting e-way bills initially to evasion-prone sectors or raising the threshold value above Rs 50,000.
Another option is to make e-way bills mandatory only for goods that attract GST, sparing exempted goods such as agricultural produce. “The industry has some concerns and we will look into them. A decision will be taken by a committee,” said a senior finance ministry official.