In its 24th and 25th GST Council meeting, the GST Council announced that the facility for generation, modification and cancellation of e-way bills is being provided on trial/ voluntary basis on the portal ewaybill.nic.in. Once fully operational, the e-way bill system will start functioning on the portal ewaybillgst.gov.in. Certain modifications are being made to the e-way bill rules which are to be notified nationwide for inter-State movement with effect from 01.02.2018 and for intra- State movement with effect from a date to be announced separately by each State but not later than 01.06.2018. Till such time as National e-way Bill is ready, the States were authorized to continue with their own e-way Bill system. It has also been announced that 15 States will roll out intra- State e-bill system from 1.2.2018.
The E-Way Bill Rules 138 & 138A notified vide Notn. No. 27/2017-Central Tax, dated 30.08.2017, for implementation of nationwide e-way Bill system for inter-State movement of goods on a compulsory basis will now come into force with effect from 1.2.2018. Pl. refer Notn. No.74/2017- Central Tax, dated 29.12.2017.
While the system for both inter-State and intra- State e-way bill generation will be ready by 16.1.2018, the States may choose their own timings for implementation of e-way Bill for intra- State movement of goods on any date before 1.6.2018.
What is e-way bill
E-way bill is an electronic document generated on the GST portal evidencing movement of goods. Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017 provides for the e-way bill mechanism. In this context it is important to note that “information is to be furnished prior to the commencement of movement of goods” and “is to be issued whether the movement is in relation to a supply or for reasons other than supply”.
As per Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017, every registered person who causes movement of goods of consignment value more than Rs. 50000/- is required to furnish above mentioned information in part A of e-way bill. The part B containing transport details (vehicle number) will help in generation of e-way bill.
Part A of e-way bill consists of details of GSTIN of recipient, place of delivery (PIN Code), invoice or challan number and date, value of goods, HSN code, transport document number (Goods Receipt Number or Railway Receipt Number or Airway Bill Number or Bill of Lading Number) and reasons for transportation.
Generation of the e-way bill – By Whom and why?
By the consignor or consignee – E-way bill is to be generated by the consignor or consignee himself if the transportation is being done in own/hired conveyance or by railways, by air or by Vessel.
By the Transporter – If the goods are handed over to a transporter for transportation by road, e-way bill is to be generated by the Transporter. Further, where neither the consignor nor consignee generates the e-way bill and the value of goods is more than Rs. 50,000/- it shall be the responsibility of the transporter to generate it.
Goods sent by a principal located in one State to a job worker located in any other State – Where goods are sent by a principal located in one State to a job worker located in any other State, the e-way bill shall be generated by the principal irrespective of the value of the consignment.
Handicraft goods are transported from one State to another by a person who has been exempted from the requirement of obtaining registration – Where handicraft goods are transported from one State to another by a person who has been exempted from the requirement of obtaining registration, the e-way bill shall be generated by the said person irrespective of the value of the consignment.
Features of the E-Way Bill Portal
How e-way bill will be generated?
Where the goods are transported by a registered person whether as consignor or recipient, the said person shall have to generate the e-way bill by furnishing information in part B on the GST common portal.
Where the e-way bill is not generated by registered person and the goods are handed over to the transporter for transportation by road, the registered person shall furnish the information relating to the transporter in Part B of FORM GST EWB-01 on the common portal and the e-way bill shall be generated by the transporter on the said portal on the basis of the information furnished by the registered person in Part A of FORM GST EWB-01.
A registered person may obtain an Invoice Reference Number from the common portal by uploading, on the said portal, a tax invoice issued by him in FORM GST INV-1 and produce the same for verification by the proper officer in lieu of the tax invoice and such number shall be valid for a period of 30 days from the date of uploading.
In the above case, the registered person need not have to upload the information in Part A of FORM GST EWB-01 for generation of e-way bill and the same shall be auto populated by the common portal on the basis of the information furnished in FORM GST INV-1.
Upon generation of the e-way bill on the common portal, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) generated by the common portal, shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal.
Acceptance by recipient – The details of e-way bill generated shall be made available to the recipient, if registered, on the common portal, who shall communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment covered by the e-way bill. In case, the recipient does not communicate his acceptance or rejection within seventy two hours of the details being made available to him on the common portal, it shall be deemed that he has accepted the details.
Validity of e-way Bill
The validity of e-way bill depends on the distance to be traveled by the goods, viz,
1. For a distance of less than 100 Km the e-way bill will be valid for a day from the relevant date.
2. For every 100 Km thereafter, the validity will be additional one day from the relevant date.
The “relevant date” shall mean the date on which the e-way bill has been generated and the period of validity shall be counted from the time at which the e-way bill has been generated and each day shall be counted as 24 hours.
Extension of Validity
In general, the validity of the e-way bill cannot be extended.
The Commissioner, however, may extend the validity period only by way of issue of notification for certain categories of goods which shall be specified later.
Further, if under circumstances of an exceptional nature, the goods cannot be transported within the validity period of the e-way bill, the transporter may generate another e-way bill after updating the details in Part B of FORM GST EWB-01.
Cancellation of E-Way Bill
Where an e-way bill has been generated, but goods are either not transported or are not transported as per the details furnished in the e-way bill, the e-way bill may be cancelled electronically on the common portal, either directly or through a Facilitation Centre notified by the Commissioner, within 24 hours of generation of the e-way bill.
However, an e-way bill if it has been verified in transit in accordance with the provisions of rule 138B of the CGST Rules, 2017, it cannot be cancelled.
The facility of generation and cancellation of e-way bill will also be made available through SMS.
Important Point to note:
An e-way bill has to be prepared for every consignment where the value of the consignment exceeds Rs. 50,000/-.
When multiple consignments of varying values (per consignment) are carried in a single vehicle, e-way bill needs to be mandatorily generated only for those consignments whose value exceeds Rs. 50,000/-. This does not however preclude the consignor/consignee/ transporter to generate e-way bills even for individual consignments whose value is less than Rs. 50000/- per consignment.
For multiple consignments being carried in the same vehicle, the transporter to prepare a consolidated e-way bill by indicating serial number of each e-way bill, on the common prior to commencement of transport of goods.
When multiple vehicles are used for carrying the same consignment to its destination or unforeseen exigencies require the consignments to be carried in a different conveyance than the original one, in such situations, the rules provide that any transporter transferring goods from one conveyance to another in the course of transit shall, before such transfer and further movement of goods, update the details of the conveyance in the e-way bill on the common portal in FORM GST EWB-01.
The person in charge of a conveyance has to carry the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be; and a copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number, either physically or mapped to a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) embedded on to the conveyance in such manner as may be notified by the Commissioner. However, where circumstances so warrant, by notification, the Commissioner may, require the person-in-charge of the conveyance to carry the following documents instead of the e-way bill:
Further, by notification, the Commissioner may require a class of transporters to obtain a unique RFID and get the said RFID embedded on to the conveyance and map the e-way bill to the RFID prior to the movement of goods.
E-Way bill to be issued irrespective of whether for supply or otherwise
E-way bill is to be issued irrespective of whether the movement of goods is caused by reasons of supply or otherwise (For example, movement could be in view of export/import, job-work, SKD or CKD, recipient not known, line sales, sales returns, exhibition or fairs, for own use, sale on approval basis etc).
Exceptions to e-way bill requirement
No e-way bill is required to be generated in the following cases:
1. Transport of goods as specified in Annexure to Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017
2. goods being transported by a non-motorized conveyance;
3. goods being transported from the port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot or a container freight station for clearance by Customs;
4. in respect of movement of goods within such areas as are notified under rule 138(14) (d) of the SGST Rules, 2017 of the concerned State; and
5. Consignment value less than Rs. 50,000/-
Consequences – Non-conformance to e-way bill rules
1. If e-way bills, wherever required, are not issued in accordance with the provisions contained in Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017, the same will be considered as contravention of rules.
2. A taxable person who transports any taxable goods without the cover of specified documents (including e-way bill) shall be liable to a penalty of Rs. 10,000 or tax sought to be evaded (wherever applicable) whichever is greater ( Sec. 122 of the CGST Act, 2017).
3. where any person transports any goods or stores any goods while they are in transit in contravention of the provisions of this Act or the Rules made there under, all such goods and conveyance used as a means of transport for carrying the said goods and documents relating to such goods and conveyance shall be liable to detention or seizure ( Sec. 129 of CGST Act, 2017).
Enforcement of System
Centralized e-way bill system
Following ten states have joined the government’s centralized e-way bill system for inter-state road transportation of goods in the GST regime:
14. Himachal Pradesh
The e-way bill provisions under GST will bring in a uniform e-way bill rule which will be applicable throughout the country. The physical interface will pave way for digital interface which will facilitate faster movement of goods. It is bound to improve the turnaround time of vehicles and help the logistics industry by increasing the average distances travelled, reducing the travel time as well as costs.
With all these above provisions and current form of implementation of GST it will be duty of stake holders to ensure that there is no delay in the smooth movement of goods from one state to another. If not implemented properly it could also unleash exactly the kind of border check posts the GST had promised to remove. Finally, it it should not create problems galore for everyone ranging from physical dealers to e-commerce firms. For example, in current scheme, suppose a high end television or audio set that costs over Rs 50,000 is shipped by a truck from the factory to the dealer, and then sent on further by the dealer to the customer’s house, it will need two separate e-way bills. If the customer in the meantime, cancels the order before it reaches him, another e-way bill will have to be generated.
All these e-way bills will then have to be matched with the invoices which may add a layer of complexity to the whole process of shipping goods from one State to another. It may add also to the burden of the GST Network (GSTN), which is already facing multiple problems in matching invoices.