Frequently Asked Questions

A. E-invoice – Basics:

Q.1 What is e-invoicing?

Ans. ‘e-invoicing’ means the invoice shall be prepared after obtaining an Invoice Reference Number (IRN) by uploading specified particulars (in FORM GST INV-01) on the notified Invoice Registration Portals (IRP).

‘e-invoicing’ doesn’t mean generation of invoice by a Government portal.

‘e-invoicing’ facilitates exchange of the invoice document (structured invoice data) between a supplier and a buyer in an integrated electronic format.

Wooden block with words GST - acronim GST - Goods and Services Tax. GST wooden blocks on the paper grey background

Q.2 What is e-invoicing process? How is it different from present system? There is no much difference indeed.

Ans. Registered persons will continue to create their GST invoices on their own Accounting/Billing/ERP Systems. These invoices will now be reported to ‘Invoice Registration Portal (IRP)’. On reporting, IRP returns the e-invoice with a unique ‘Invoice Reference Number (IRN)’ after digitally signing the e-invoice and adding a QR Code. Then, the invoice can be issued to the receiver (along with QR Code).

A GST invoice will be valid only with a valid IRN.

For more detailed process, please go through e-invoice – Detailed Overview’

Q.3 For which businesses, e-invoicing is mandatory?

Ans. Presently, it is mandated for registered persons whose aggregate turnover (based on PAN) in a financial year is more than Rs. 500 Crores.

Q.4 From which date, e-invoicing is mandatory for the notified classes of taxpayers?

Ans. As per latest notification, e-invoicing will be mandatory w.e.f. 1st October, 2020, for notified classes of registered persons (those having aggregate annual turnover at PAN level more than Rs. 500 Crores).

Q.5 What are the legal provisions governing e-invoice?

Ans. Below notifications were issued on e-invoice:

Notification No.
(Central Tax)
Key Contents
68/2019 Dt. 13-12-2019
  • Central Goods and Services Tax (Eighth Amendment) Rules
  • Inserted below new sub-rules in Rule 48 of CGST Rules, 2017:

(4) The invoice shall be prepared by such class of registered persons as may be notified by the Government, on the recommendations ofthe Council, by including such particulars contained in FORM GS T IN V-01 after obtaining an Invoice Reference Number by uploading information contained therein on the Common Goods and Services Tax Electronic Portal in such manner and subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be specified in the notification.

(5) Every invoice issued by a person to whom sub-rule (4) applies in any  manner other than the manner specified in the said sub-rule shall not be treated as an invoice.

(6) The provisions ofsub-rules (1) and (2) shall not apply to an invoice  prepared in the manner specified in sub-rule (4).

69/2019 Dt. 13-12-2019 Notified 10 Common Goods and Services Tax Electronic Portals for the purpose of preparation of invoice in terms of rule 48 (4) 
70/2019 Dt. 13-12-2019 Notified registered person, whose aggregate turnover in a financial year exceeds one hundred crore rupees, as a class of registered person who shall prepare invoice in terms of sub-rule (4) of rule 48 of the said rules in respect of supply of goods or services or both to a registered person; notification to come into force from the 1st day of April, 2020 (This notification superseded by 13 of 2020 Dt. 21-3-2020)
2 of 2020 Dt. 1-1-2020

 

Substituted Form GST INV-1 as e-invoice schema (Schema further amended vide Notification 60/2020 Dt. 30-7-2020)
13 of 2020 Dt. 21-3- 2020 (in supersession of 70/2019 Dt. 13-12- 2019)
  • e-invoicing to start from the 1st October, 2020;
  • Notifies registered persons, other than those referred to in sub-rules (2), (3), (4) and (4A) of rule 54 of the said rules, whose aggregate turnover in a financial year exceeds Rs. 100 Cr., as a class of registered person who shall prepare invoice and other prescribed documents, in terms of sub-rule (4) of rule 48 of CGCT Rules, 2017, in respect of supply of goods or services or both to a registered person.

(Further amended by 61/2020 Dt. 30-7-2020) 

60/2020 Dt. 30-7-2020

1. Central Goods and Services Tax (Ninth Amendment) Rules, 2020

2. New form substituted for GST INV-01 (i.e. notified revised Schema/format for e-invoice)  

61/2020 Dt. 30-7-2020
  • Amended notification 13/2020 Dt. 21-3-2020
  • Special Economic Zone units also excluded from e-invoicing mandate 
  • Aggregate Turnover of registered persons (required to prepare invoice in terms of Rule 48(4)) enhanced to Rs. 500 Cr.

Q.6 What are the advantages of e-invoice for businesses?

Ans. e-invoice has many advantages for businesses such as Auto-reporting of invoices into GST return, auto-generation of e-way bill (where required).

 e-invoicing will also facilitate standardisation and inter-operability leading to reduction of disputes among transacting parties, improve payment cycles, reduction of processing costs and thereby greatly improving overall business efficiency.

Q.7 What businesses need to do, to be e-invoice ready?

Ans. Businesses will continue to issue invoices as they are doing now. Necessary changes on account of e-invoicing requirement (i.e. to enable reporting of invoices to IRP and obtain IRN), will be made by ERP/Ac counting and Billing Software providers in their respective software. They need to get the updated version having this facility.

B. E-invoice – Applicability:

Q.8 What documents are presently covered under e -invoicing?

Ans. i. B2B Invoices

ii. Invoices issued for Exports

iii. Credit Notes

iv. Debit Notes

issued by notified class of registered persons are currently covered under e -invoice.

Though different documents are covered, for ease of reference and understanding, the system is referred as ‘e-invoicing’.

Q.9 What transactions are presently covered under e-invoice?

Ans. B2B GST Supplies and Export Invoices, Credit and Debit Notes issued by notified class of taxpayers are currently covered under e-invoice.

Q.10 Is e-invoicing mandatory for B2C (Business to Consumer) supplies also?

Ans. No. e-invoicing is not applicable to B2C invoices. Presently, it is only mandated for B2B Supplies and supplies for the purpose of export by notified class of registered persons.

Q.11 What is the applicability of e -invoice for import transactions?

Ans. e-invoicing is not applicable for import Bills of Entry.

Q.12 Which entities/persons are exempt from the e-invoice mandate?

Ans. a. Special Economic Zone Units

b. insurer or a banking company or a financial institution, including a non-banking financial company

c. goods transport agency supplying services in relation to transportation of goods by road in a goods carriage

d. Suppliers of passenger transportation service

e. Suppliers of services by way of admission to exhibition of cinematograph films in multiplex screens

C. E-invoice – Reporting to IRP:

Q.13 What do I need to generate an e-invoice?

Ans. A system/utility to report e-invoice details in JSON format to IRP and receive signed e-invoice in JSON format from the Portal.

Q.14 Whether Government will provide any tool to report invoices to IRP?

Ans. Yes. For small entities not having their own ERP/Software solutions, a free offline utility will be provided, through which invoices can be easily prepared, reported to IRP and obtain IRN/signed e-invoice.

Q.15 What are various modes for generation of e-invoice?

Ans. Multiple modes will be available so that taxpayer can use the best mode based on his/her need. Below modes are envisaged:

a. API based,

b. Mobile app based,

c. Offline tool based and

d. GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) based

16. Can IRN be generated by supplier directly?

Ans.No. The seller will not be able to create IRN. This will only be returned by the IRP (portal).

Q.17 Will it be possible for bulk uploading of invoices to IRP?

Ans. Yes. Bulk upload will be generally required by large taxpayers. Their ERP or accounting system will be designed in such a way that user can report invoices in bulk. However, reporting to IRP by the tool and generation of IRN will be one after another, which will not be seen by the user. For the user it will appear bulk upload and bulk receipt.

Q.18 Will IRP store/archive e-invoices?

Ans. No. IRP will only be a pass-through portal to validate few particulars of invoice and generate IRN. It will not store or archive e-invoice data.

Q.19 Will I need to enter invoice details on a government website and obtain IRN?

Ans.

  • In e-invoice scenario, what is envisaged is ‘machine-to-machine’ exchange of invoice data (mainly between supplier’s system & IRP).
  • Though the option of obtaining IRN by entering invoice data via web-based screen will be available, that mode will be used rarely, e.g. by businesses who don’t use any ERPs/Accounting/Billing Software and have very few invoices to report.
  • Ultimately this will be replaced by mobile app-based tool for such taxpayers.

D.E-invoice – Schema / Contents:

Q.20 What is e-invoice schema?

Ans. ‘Schema’ simply means a structured template or format. ‘e-invoice’ schema is the standard format for electronic invoice. It is notified as Form GST INV-1.

Q.21 Why is an e-invoice standard/schema required?

Ans.

  • Presently, businesses are preparing/generating invoices in their respective ERPs/Accounting/Billing Software. The e-invoice generated by one is not understood by the other, thereby necessitating data entry efforts and consequent errors and reconciliation problems.
  • ‘Schema’ acts as uniform standard for ERP/ Billing/Accounting software providers to build utility in their solution/package to prepare e-invoice in notified standard thereby ensuring e-invoice generated by any ERP/Accounting and Billing Software is correctly understood by another ERP/Accounting software. This is also required for ensuring uniformity in reporting to IRP.
  • Schema ensures e-invoice is ‘machine-readable’ and ‘inter-operable’, i.e. the invoice/format can be readily ‘picked up’, ‘read’, ‘understood’ and further processed by different systems like Oracle, Tally, SAP etc.

Q.22 What is the basis of e-invoice schema?

Ans. e-invoice Schema is based on PEPPOL/Universal Business Language (UBL) with certain customizations to cater to Indian business practices and legal requirements.

Q.23 Will there be different invoice schema for different sectors/businesses, e.g. Traders, Manufacturers, Service Providers, Professionals etc.?

No. e-invoice schema is a single standard applicable to all businesses in the country. Many optional fields are available in the schema to cater to the requirements of specific businesses.

Q.24 What is the file format in which invoice has to be reported to IRP?

Ans. Invoice details in prescribed schema have to be reported to IRP in JSON format. ‘JSON’ stands for JavaScript Object Notation. It can be thought of as a common language for systems/machines to communicate between each other and exchange data.

As the ERP or Accounting software will generate it, taxpayer need not worry about it.

Q.25 What are the various types of fields in e-invoice schema?

Ans. a. Data for fields marked as ‘Mandatory’ have to be provided compulsorily.

b. A mandatory field not having any value can be reported as NIL.

c. Fields marked as ‘Optional’ may or may not be filled up. Many of these are relevant for specific businesses (e.g. Batch No., Attributes etc.) and to cater to specific scenarios (e.g. export, e-way bill etc.).

d. Some sections in the schema are marked as ‘Optional’. But, if this section is selected, some of the fields may be mandatory. For example, the section ‘e-way Bill Details’ is marked as optional. But, if this section is chosen, the field, ‘Mode of Transportation’ is mandatory.

Q.26 What is ‘cardinality’, as mentioned in schema?

In e-invoice schema, for each field, ‘Cardinality’ is marked as 0..1 / 1..1 / 1..n / 0..n. This is to denote whether a field is ‘mandatory’ and whether it is ‘repetitive’.

Notation Meaning
Starts with 0 Optional field
Starts with 1 Mandatory field
Ends with 1 Data for the field can be entered only once
Ends with n Data for the field can be entered multiple times

Q. 27 Can the supplier place their entity logo on e -invoice? Is this part of schema?

Ans. Elements of invoice which are internal to business, such as company logo etc. are not part of e-invoice schema.

After reporting invoice details to IRP and receipt of IRN, at the time of issuing invoice to receiver (e.g. generating as PDF and printing as paper copy or forwarding via e-mail etc.), any further customisation, i.e. insertion of company logo, additional text etc., can be made by respective ERP/billing/accounting software providers.

E. E-invoice – Generation of IRN:

Q. 28. Is Invoice number same as Invoice Reference Number (IRN)?

Ans. No. Invoice no. (e.g. ABC/1 /2019-2 0) is assigned by supplier and is internal to business. Its format can differ from business to business and also governed by relevant GST rules.

IRN, on other hand, is a unique reference number (hash) generated and returned by IRP, on successful registration of e-invoice.

Q. 29. How a typical IRN looks like?

Ans. It is a unique 64-character hash, e.g. 35054cc24d9 7033afc24f49ec4444dbab81f542c555f9d30359dc75794e06bbe

Q.30 Can IRP reject a submitted invoice? On reporting invoice details to IRP, what validations will performed on the portal?

Ans. Yes. IRP can reject an invoice.

IRP will check whether the invoice was already reported and existing in the GST System. (This validation is based on the combination of GSTIN-InvoiceNumber-TypeOfDocument-Fin.Year, which is also used for generation of IRN). In case the same invoice (document) has already been reported earlier, it will be rejected by IRP.

Certain other key validations will also be performed on portal. In case of failure, registration of invoice won’t be successful, IRN won’t be generated and invoice will be rejected along with relevant error codes.

Q.31 On reporting invoice details, what will be returned by IRP? Will it return signed JSON or PDF or both?

Ans. IRP will return only the signed JSON. No PDF will be returned. On receipt of signed JSON, it is for the respective ERP or Accounting & Billing software system to generate PDF, if needed.

Q.32 What is the indication for the supplier that IRP has registered the e-invoice?

Ans. Upon successful registration of invoice on IRP, it will return a signed e-invoice JSON to the supplier with IRN and QR Code.

Q.33 I want to know about the detailed process flow involved in the e -invoicing process.

Ans. You can go throughe-invoice – Detailed Overview’

F. E-invoice – Printing of Invoice / IRN / QR Code

Q.34 Can I print an e-invoice?

Ans. Yes. Once the IRP returns the signed JSON, it can be converted into PDF and printed, if required.

Q.35 Do I need to print IRN on the invoice?

Ans. No. It’s optional. IRN is anyway embedded in the QR Code to be printed on invoice.

Q. 36 How will the QR Code be received?

Ans. The QR code will be part of signed JSON, returned by the IRP. It will be a string (not image), which the ERP/accounting/billing software shall read and convert into QR Code image for placing on the invoice.

Q.37 Do I need to print QR Code on the invoice?

Ans. Yes. The QR code which comes as part of signed JSON from IRP, shall be extracted and placed on the invoice before generation of PDF/print.

Q.38 If e-invoice is applicable and issued, am I supposed to issue copies of invoice in triplicate/duplicate?

No. This is specified in relevant notification also.

Q.39 Will it be possible for invoices that are registered on IRP to be downloaded and saved on handheld devices?

Ans. Yes.  This will be possible for the buyer and seller who are involved in the business transaction. This facility will be available through GST System and not the IRP.

G. E-invoice Verification of IRN / QR Code:

Q.40 How to verify an invoice is duly reported to IRP?

Ans. A dedicated mobile app to scan and verify validity of e-invoice QR Code will be provided. Further, a “Search IRN” facility will also be provided on GST Portal.

Q.41 What data is embedded in QR Code?

Ans. The QR code will consist of the following key particulars of e-invoice:

a. GSTIN of Supplier

b. GSTIN of Recipient

c. Invoice number, as given by Supplier

d. Date of generation of invoice

e. Invoice value (taxable value and gross tax)

f. Number of line items

g. HSN Code of main item (line item having highest taxable value)

f. Unique IRN (Invoice Reference Number/hash)

Q.42 What is dynamic QR Code? Does it has any relevance for B2B e-invoicing?

Ans. Notification No. 14/2020-Central Tax dated 21st March, 2020 mandates entities with aggregate turnover > Rs. 500 crores in a FY to include QR code on their B2C invoices. It is also specified that a Dynamic Quick Response (QR) code made available to buyer through digital display (with payment cross-reference) shall be deemed to be having QR code. The purpose of this Notification is to enable and encourage digital payments.

It has no relevance or applicability to the e-invoicing i.r.o B2B Supplies by notified class of taxpayers.

Below table summarises the differences:

Notification No. Notification 14/2020-Central Tax dated 21st March, 2020 Notifications 13/2020-Central Tax dated 21st March, 2020 & 61/2020 Dt. 30-7-2020) 
1. Type of transaction covered Supplies made by a registered person to unregistered persons (also called B2C supplies) Supplies made by a class of registered persons to other registered persons. (also known as B2B supplies)
2.  

Who is impacted?

 

Registered persons (GST taxpayers) having an aggregate turnover above Rs. 500 crore in the preceding financial year Registered persons (GST taxpayers) having an aggregate turnover above Rs.  500 crore in   the preceding financial year.
3. Notification highlights Issuance of a QR Code on the invoice by above mentioned registered taxpayers for supplies made to unregistered persons. The QR Code is for the purpose of making payment by the unregistered person/Consumer to such registered
person making the B2C supply, using UPI-based payment Apps by scanning the QR Code.
This notification    refers To the provision of mandatory issuance of electronic invoice (commonly known as e-invoice) by a specific class of registered taxpayers for  supplies
made to registered persons.On the submission of the e-invoice on the invoice registration portal (known as IRP), the IRP would return a QR Code which will contain key details of the invoice like the sellers’ and buyers’ GSTIN, taxable value and tax amount, IRN, digital signature and dominant HSN of the invoice.
4. QR code to be made available Either on the Point of Sale (PoS) machine of the seller or the Invoice issued by the seller. QR Code would be generated by the IRP and returned as an acknowledgement for the e-invoice reported on the IRP.
5. Purpose To enable payment using UPI by a mobile application by scanning of this QR Code. To verify that whether an invoice has been reported on the IRP or not and whether digital signature is intact or tampered with.

Q. 43 Is it possible to have more than one QR code on an invoice?

Ans. Yes. Apart from the QR code relating to IRN, the supplier is free to place any other QR Code which is required as per business needs or otherwise mandated by any other statutory requirement. In such cases, the QR Codes need to be annotated properly so that they can be distinguished easily.

H.  E-invoice – Sending to Receiver:

Q.44 On generation of IRN, will the IRP send or e-mail the e-invoice to the receiver?

Ans. No. IRP will not do this. Upon receiving signed JSON from the IRP, it is for the supplier to send the e-invoice (along with QR Code etc.) to the receiver.

Q.45 How will the supplier send the e-invoice to the receiver?

Ans. A suggested mechanism may be to exchange the PDF of the JSON received from IRP, (which includes signed QR code) as the best authenticated version of the e-invoice for business transactions.

However, a mechanism to enable system-to-system exchange of e-invoices will be provided in due course.

Q.46 Large taxpayers (for whom e-invoicing is compulsory) will be making supplies to small businesses (for whom e-invoicing is not mandatory). How these small businesses will get the invoice from those big suppliers?

Ans. In the same way as it is being done now. For example, the large taxpayers can convert the signed e-invoice JSON into PDF and share the copy by e-mail or send printed copy by post, courier etc.

I.  E-invoice – Amendment / Cancellation:

Q.47 Can an IRN/invoice reported to IRP be cancelled?

Ans. Yes. This request can be triggered through ‘Cancel API’ within the prescribed period.

Q. 48 Can a cancelled e -invoice number be used again?

No. Once an IRN/invoice is cancelled, the same invoice number cannot be used again to generate another invoice. In case it is used again then the same will be rejected when it is uploaded on IRP.

Q.49 Can I partially cancel a reported invoice?

Ans. No. It has to be cancelled in toto. No partial cancellation of reported e-invoice allowed. Cancellation of invoices is governed by Accounting Standards and any other applicable rules/regulations.

Q.50 Can I amend details of a reported invoice?

Ans.  Yes. They can be amended.

Details of e-invoices successfully registered on IRP will be pushed to the GST System. So, any amendments to the e-invoice have to be carried out on GST portal and not on IRP. Further, the amendments are governed by relevant provisions of GST Law and Rules.

J. E-invoice Linkage with E-Way Bill / GST Return:

Q. 51 With the introduction of e -invoicing, is e-way bill still compulsory?

Ans. Yes. While transporting goods, wherever the e-way bill is needed, the requirement continues to be mandatory.

Q.52 Will the e -invoice details be pushed to GST System? Will they populate the return?

Ans.  Yes. The IRP will push the relevant invoice data (payload) to GST System. The GST system will auto-populate them into GSTR-1 of the supplier.

Q.53 Whether the e-way bill get auto-generated?

Ans.  In case both Part-A and Part-B of e-way bill are provided in the e-invoice schema, the details will be used to generate e-way bill by E-Way Bill System.

In case Part-B details are not provided as part of e-invoice, the same will have to be provided by the user on E-Way Bill Portal, for generation of e-way bill.

K. E-invoice – Technology / APIs:

Q.54 Where e-invoice API integration specifications be found? 

Ans.  They can be viewed at https://einv-apisandbox.nic.in/

Q.55 Are there more FAQs on e-invoice from technology/developer’s angle?

Ans.  Yes. You can access them at https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/Others/Faqs

Q.56 Who is an “Application Service Provider”? How can one become an ASP?

Ans.  ASPs are software service providers who route GST data of their clients to GST System through GSPs (GST Suvidha Providers).

Any software provider of financial services in the indirect tax domain can push data to GST system through GSPs. As far as IRP is concerned, access will be provided over internet. No separate category of GSP/ASP will be created for access to IRP.

Q.57 As many businesses will be reporting invoices, will there be any delay in generation of IRN by IRP? Can the portal take that much load?

Ans.  IRP is only a pass through validation portal. Certain key fields will be validated on IRP. So, IRN will be generated in sub-milli second duration. The server capacity will be robust enough to handle simultaneous uploads. Further, multiple IRPs will be made available to distribute the load of invoice registration.

The IRPs will be other than normal GST portal used for filing return, making payment, filing registration applications etc.

Q.58 Will NIC provide new APIs for e-way bill?

Ans.  No. E-way bill system will continue to function as it is. No new APIs for e-way bill are required to be published.

L. e-Invoice Resources & Feedback

Q.59 I want to know more about e-invoicing. Where can I find the material?

Ans. Please go through e-invoice – Detailed Overview’

Q.60 Are there any awareness videos available on e-invoicing?

Ans. Yes. Awareness Videos on e-invoice can be accessed at below links: e-invoice – Everything you may like to know about E-Invoice e-invoice – Myths vs. Reality

I want to send my feedback & suggestions on e -invoice. How can I do that? Your feedback & suggestions on e-invoice are welcome at e-invoice@gstn.org.in

*****

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