E-Way Bill under GST
E-way bill compulsory from February 01, 2018: GST council
24TH GST COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON 16-12-2017 THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING DECIDED THAT INTER-STATE E-WAY BILL TO BE MADE COMPULSORY FROM 1-2-2018
PIB PRESS RELEASE DATED 16-12-2017
The 24th Meeting of the GST Council held today through video conference under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley. It discussed about the implementation of e-way Bill system in the country. Till such time as the National e-way Bill is ready, the States were authorized to continue their own separate e-way Bill systems. However, it was represented by the trade and transporters that this is causing undue hardship in the Inter-State movement of goods and therefore, bringing in an early all India system of e-way Bill has become a necessity. The GST Council
today reviewed the progress of readiness of hardware and software required for the introduction of nationwide e-way Bill System.
After discussions with all the States, the following decisions were taken :-
i. The nationwide e-way Bill system will be ready to be rolled out on a trial basis latest by 16th January, 2018. Trade and transporters can start using this system on a voluntary basis from 16th January, 2018.
ii. The Rules for implementation of nationwide e-way Bill system for Inter-State movement of goods on a compulsory basis will be notified with effect from 1st February, 2018. This will bring uniformity across the States for seamless inter-State movement of goods.
iii. While the System for both inter-State and intra-State e-way Bill generation will be ready by 16th January, 2018, the States may choose their own timings for implementation of e-way Bill for intra- State movement of goods on any date before 1st June, 2018. There are certain States which are already having system of e-way Bill for intra-State as well as inter-State movement and some of those States can be early adopters of national e-way Bill system for intra-State movement also. But in any case, the Uniform System of e-way Bill for inter-State as well as intra-State movement will be implemented across the country by 1st June, 2018.
Why E-Way Bill ?
On introduction of GST w.e.f. 1-7-2017, many States have removed the physical barriers at State border for transport of goods by road. This has speeded up movement of goods to some extent.
In absence of physical restrictions on movement of goods, some control is essential to ensure that goods are not clandestinely removed and sold. Hence, a system of e-way bill is proposed to be introduced.
Provisions relating to E-way Bill have been made by amending rule 138 and inserting rules 138A to 138B in CGST Rules, 2017. These rules have been inserted vide Notification No. 27/2017 - Central Tax, dated 30-8-2017.
The provisions are very difficult to comply with and harassment on roads is possible.
We can only hope and pray that provisions of e-way bill are made effective only after GSTN system is ready and tested.
It is also doubtful whether transporters are equipped to follow these procedures.
States like Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka already had E-Way Bill System.
The GST Council has allowed states to follow their existing E-Way Bill frameworks until the E-Way Bill Rules under GST are implemented.
Information to be furnished prior to commencement of movement of goods and generation of e-way bill
The consignor is required to furnish specified details before movement of goods commences, if value exceeds Rs 50, 000 electronically in Part A of form GST EWB-01. If the consignor is unregistered, the consignee is required to furnish the information.
Every registered person who causes movement of goods of consignment value exceeding fifty thousand rupees—
(i) in relation to a supply; or
(ii) for reasons other than supply; or
(iii) due to inward supply from an unregistered person,
shall, before commencement of such movement, furnish information relating to the said goods in Part A of form GST EWB-01, electronically, on the common portal [rule 138(1) of CGST Rules].
Observation- The expression "for reasons other than supply" will include job work, removal for testing purpose, send on approval basis, etc.
E-way bill even if value of consignment is below Rs 50, 000
In following cases, e-way bill should be generated irrespective of value of consignment i.e. even if value of consignment is below Rs 50, 000 –
(a) Sending material inter-State for job work
(b) handicraft goods transported inter-State under exemption if turnover of person below Rs. 20/10 lakhs and enjoying exemption under Notification No. 32/2017-CT, dated 15-9-2017 - first and second proviso to rule 138(1) of CGST Rules inserted w.e.f. 15-9-2017.
It is really too much for such small persons selling handicrafts inter- State, to know, understand and follow these procedures.
Movement deemed to be caused by consignee if goods supplier is unregistered person
If the goods are supplied by an unregistered supplier to a recipient who is registered, the movement shall be said to be caused by such recipient if the recipient is known at the time of commencement of the movement of goods [Explanation 1 to rule 138(3) of CGST Rules]
Generation of e-way bill if transport in own vehicle or hired vehicle or by rail, vessel or air
If the goods are transported by the registered person as a consignor or the recipient of supply as the consignee, whether in his own conveyance or a hired one or by railways or by air or by vessel, the said person or the recipient may generate the e-way bill in form GST EWB-01 electronically on the common portal after furnishing information in Part B of form GST EWB-01 [rule 138(2) of CGST Rules]
Though the word used is 'may', really he must generate such e-way bill.
The information in Part A of from GST EWB-01 shall be furnished by the consignor or the recipient of the supply as consignee where the goods are transported by railways or by air or by vessel [Explanation 2 to rule 138(3) of CGST Rules] [Really, even otherwise, this is obvious].
Generation of e-way bill by transporter if transport is by road
If the e-way bill is not generated under rule 138(2) and the goods are handed over to a 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.
The e-way bill shall be generated by the transporter on the common portal on the basis of the information furnished by the registered person in Part A of form GST EWB-01 [rule 138(3) of CGST Rules]
Generation of e-way bill by transporter if not generated by consignor - If the consignor or the consignee has not generated form GST EWB-01 in accordance with the provisions of rule 138(1) and the value of goods carried in the conveyance is more than fifty thousand rupees, the transporter shall generate form GST EWB-01 on the basis of invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be, and may also generate a consolidated e-way bill in FORM GST EWB-02 on the common portal prior to the movement of goods [rule 138(7) of CGST Rules]
Option to generate e-way bill even if value less than Rs 50, 000 - The registered person or the transporter may, at his option, generate and carry the e-way bill even if the value of the consignment is less than fifty thousand rupees [first proviso to rule 138(3) of CGST Rules]
Unregistered person can also generate e-way bill - If the movement is caused by an unregistered person either in his own conveyance or a hired one or through a transporter, he or the transporter may, at their option, generate the e-way bill in form GST EWB-01 on the common portal in the manner specified in this rule [second proviso to rule 138(3) of CGST Rules].
E-way Bill generated is valid all over India - The e-way bill generated under this rule or under rule 138 of the Goods and Services Tax Rules of any State shall be valid in every State and Union territory [rule 138(13) of CGST Rules]
Relaxation if goods transported from place of consignor to transporter and distance less than 10 Km
If the goods are transported for a distance of less than ten kilometres within the State or Union territory from the place of business of the consignor to the place of business of the transporter for further transportation, the supplier or the transporter may not furnish the details of conveyance in Part B of form GST EWB-01 [third proviso to rule 138(3) of CGST Rules]
Ten Kilometers relaxation not sufficient in many cases - Ten Kilometers relaxation is really not sufficient in many cases. In many cases, the railway yard or port or airport or godown of transporter may be much beyond 10 Kms. In big cities, much more allowance is required.
Generation and cancellation of e-way Bill through SMS
The facility of generation and cancellation of e-way bill may also be made available through SMS - Explanation to rule 138(14) of CGST Rules.
Generation of e-way bill number (EBN) by GSTN
Upon generation of the e-way bill on the common portal, a unique e- way bill number (EBN) will be generated by GSTN. This number shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal [rule 138(4) of CGST Rules].
Procedure by transporter after generation of e-way bill
The procedure to be followed by transporter is as follows -
Transhipment of goods to another conveyance - 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 conveyance in the e-way bill on the common portal in form GST EWB-01 [rule 138(5) of CGST Rules]
Details of conveyance not required for final delivery to consignee - If the goods are transported for a distance of less than ten kilometres within the State or Union territory from the place of business of the transporter finally to the place of business of the consignee, the details of conveyance may not be updated in the e-way bill [proviso to rule 138(5) of CGST Rules]
Ten Kilometers relaxation is really not sufficient in metropolitan cities. In big cities, more allowance is required.
Multiple consignments in one conveyance - After e-way bill has been generated in accordance with the provisions of rule 138(1), where multiple consignments are intended to be transported in one conveyance, the transporter may indicate the serial number of e-way bills generated in respect of each such consignment electronically on the common portal and a consolidated e-way bill in form GST EWB-02 may be generated by him on the common portal prior to the movement of goods [rule 138(6) of CGST Rules]
Supplier can use the information to furnish details in GSTR-1 return
The information furnished in Part A of form GST EWB-01 shall be made available to the registered supplier on the common portal who may utilize the same for furnishing details in form GSTR-1 [rule 138(8) of CGST Rules]
Information to unregistered supplier - If the information has been furnished by an unregistered supplier in form GST EWB-01, he shall be informed electronically, if the mobile number or the email is available [proviso to rule 138(8) of CGST Rules]
Cancellation of e-way bill
If an e-way bill has been generated under this rule 138 of CGST Rules, 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, within 24 hours of generation of the e-way bill.
Thus, if there is accident to truck, the driver should first rush to cancel e-way bill before sending injured persons to hospital and even before informing police and owner of vehicle about accident !
An e-way bill cannot be cancelled if it has been verified in transit in accordance with the provisions of rule 138B [rule 138(9) of CGST Rules]
Validity of e-way bill generated
An e-way bill or a consolidated e-way bill generated under this rule shall be valid as follows –
(1) Upto 100 Km - one day [really only 24 hours]
(2) One day for every 100 Km or part after first 100 Km [each day of 24 hours]
[rule 138(10) of CGST Rules]
The Commissioner may, by notification, extend the validity period of e-way bill for certain categories of goods as may be specified therein:
Meaning of 'relevant date' for purposes of rule 138(1) - 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 twenty-four hours - Explanation to rule 138(1) of CGST Rules.
Fresh generation of e-way bill if validity expired - Under circumstances of an exceptional nature, if 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 [second proviso to rule 138(10) of CGST Rules].
Intimation of acceptance of details by recipient
The details of e-way bill generated under rule 138(1) shall be made available to the recipient on the common portal, if he is registered, He shall communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment covered by the e-way bill [rule 138(11) of CGST Rules].
Where the recipient referred to in rule 138(11) 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 said details.
Note that the communication is not of receipt of goods by recipient (consignee) but only acceptance of details as contained in the e-way bill. What it really means that his acceptance as the goods are meant for him only and his name, as recipient, is not false or incorrect.
Transport of goods for which e- way bill is not required
No e-way bill is required to be generated in following cases [rule 138(14) of CGST Rules].
Goods for which e-way bill not required as per Annexure to rule 138(1)
Following items are included in Annexure to rule 138(10). For transport of these goods, e-way bill is not required.
All items exempted under Notification Nos. 2/2017-CT (Rate) and 2/2017-IT (Rate) both dated 28-6-2017 The major among them are as follows –
Fresh Meat, Fish Chicken, Eggs, Milk, Butter Milk, Curd, Natural Honey, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, coffee beans, wheat, rye, rice, Flour, Besan, Bread, Prasad, Salt, Bindi, Sindoor, Stamps, Judicial Papers, Printed Books, Newspapers, Bangles, Handloom, Pooja equipment, jute, khadi, national flag, raw silk.
Passenger baggage (9803)
Specified Puja samagri
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for supply to household and non domestic exempted category (NDEC) customers
Kerosene oil sold under PDS
Postal baggage transported by Department of Posts
Natural or cultured pearls and precious or semi-precious stones; precious metals and metals clad with precious metal (Chapter 71)
Jewellery, goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares and other articles (Chapter 71)
Used personal and household effects
Coral, unworked (0508) and worked coral (9601).
Some more exemptions are required - The relaxations are good but not sufficient. Relaxations are required in following cases –
(a) transporting goods from port, airport or railway yard to factory or godown of taxable person
(b) Sending material for job work or repairs within the city
(c) Sending cranes, bull dozers, cement mixers to site
(d) Sending construction material to and from site.
Documents and devices to be carried by a person-in-charge of a conveyance
The person-in-charge of a conveyance shall carry—
(a) the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be; and
(b) a copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number, either physically or mapped to a Radio Frequency Identification Device embedded on to the conveyance in such manner as may be notified by the Commissioner [rule 138A(1) of CGST Rules]
Invoice Reference Number (IRN) can be obtained by supplier electronically
A registered person (supplier) may obtain an Invoice Reference Number (IRN) from the common portal by uploading on the 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 thirty days from the date of uploading [rule 138A(2) of CGST Rules].
If such IRN is obtained, it is not necessary for transporter to carry physical copy of tax invoice, unless specifically ordered.
Commissioner can require that physical copy of tax invoice of delivery challan should be carried - Even if rule 138A(1)(b) of CGST Rules enable dispensing with carrying physical copy of tax invoice, the Commissioner may, by notification, require the person-in-charge of the conveyance to carry the following documents instead of the e-way bill-
(a) tax invoice or bill of supply or bill of entry; or
(b) a delivery challan, where the goods are transported for reasons other than by way of supply [rule 138A(5) of CGST Rules]
Auto population of information in part A if IRN obtained - If the registered person uploads the invoice under rule 138A(2), the information in Part A of form GST EWB-01 shall be auto-populated by the common portal on the basis of the information furnished in form GST INV-1 [rule 138A(3) of CGST Rules].
Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) by specified transporters
The Commissioner may, by notification, require a class of transporters to obtain a unique Radio Frequency Identification Device and get the said device embedded on to the conveyance and map the e-way bill to the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) prior to the movement of goods [rule 138A(4) of CGST Rules].
Road checks and Verification of documents and conveyances
The Commissioner or an officer empowered by him in this behalf may authorise the proper officer to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill or the e-way bill number in physical form for all inter-State and intra- State movement of goods [rule 138B(1) of CGST Rules]
The Commissioner shall get Radio Frequency Identification Device readers (RFIDR) installed at places where the verification of movement of goods is required to be carried out and verification of movement of vehicles shall be done through such device readers where the e-way bill has been mapped with the said device [rule 138B(2) of CGST Rules]
The physical verification of conveyances shall be carried out by the proper officer as authorised by the Commissioner or an officer empowered by him in this behalf:
Physical verification on basis of specific intelligence - On receipt of specific information on evasion of tax, physical verification of a specific conveyance can also be carried out by any officer after obtaining necessary approval of the Commissioner or an officer authorised by him in this behalf [rule 138B(3) of CGST Rules]
Inspection and verification of goods during road checks
A summary report of every inspection of goods in transit shall be recorded online by the proper officer in Part A of FORM GST EWB-03 within twenty four hours of inspection and the final report in Part B of FORM GST EWB-03 shall be recorded within three days of such inspection [rule 138C(1) of CGST Rules]
No further verification in same State if once verification done - The physical verification of goods being transported on any conveyance has been done during transit at one place within the State or in any other State, no further physical verification of the said conveyance shall be carried out again in the State, unless a specific information relating to evasion of tax is made available subsequently [rule 138C(1) of CGST Rules].
Transporter can upload details if vehicle detained for more than 30 minutes
If a vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding thirty minutes, the transporter may upload the said information in FORM GST EWB-04 on the common portal [rule 138D of CGST Rules]
It is not clear what action will be taken and by whom. In fact, the officer may get annoyed, and his 'rate' and 'charges' will increase!
Challenges for E-Way Bill
As per the Rules, every registered person who causes movement of goods of consignment value exceeding fifty thousand rupees must generate the E-way bill before the commencement of such movement. However, the term 'consignment value' has not been defined anywhere in the Rules. This could lead to different interpretation and issues.
For Example, where the multiple invoices are issued to same customer in single consignment - Whether E-way bill would have to be generated, even if value of each invoice individually is less than the threshold?
Given the fact that whole GST Network is operated based on invoice, whether the system would allow to enter multiple invoice nos. against one E-way bill? Whether, the E-way bill must be generated qua HSN code? These are some of the issues which needs to be addressed.
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Responsibility of the transporter:
According to the Rules, where the consignor or the consignee has not generated the E-way bill and the value of goods carried in the conveyance is more than fifty thousand rupees, the transporter is required to generate one.
Further, if the transporter moves goods from one mode of conveyance to another during the transit, the transporter would have to update the details of the conveyance in the E-way bill on the common portal. In such situations, the small transporters may struggle due to lack of facilities, awareness, etc.
Reconciliation between transport document and E-way bill:
It may happen that information furnished by the registered person in the E-way bill may not match with information furnished in the transport document such as lorry receipt, goods receipt, etc. by the transporter. In such case, the officer inspecting the consignment may argue on the correctness of the information provided. This type of situations may lead to delay in the transportation of goods. Some sort of clarity should be given in this aspect, to avoid future disputes.
Generation of E-way bill by unregistered person:
As per the Rules, the unregistered person or its transporters have an option to generate an e-way bill. This means that an e-way bill can be generated by both registered and unregistered persons.
In any case, the ultimate responsibility of E-way bill compliance is on the registered recipient. Therefore, the option given to the unregistered person seems to be irrelevant, as many of them would try to shy away from this responsibility.
Further, there is no clarity on the requirement of E-way bill for movement of goods between two unregistered persons. Also,
the way the unregistered person would login into the GST Network and generate the E-way bill is not prescribed.
This would lead to additional burden on the registered person and the transporter.
Validity period and generation of new E-way bill in 'exceptional nature':
The validity of E-way bills depends on the distance travelled and a
new E-way bill can be generated by the transporter in exceptional cases. However, the term 'exceptional nature' is neither defined or explained in the Rules.
Whether, truck breakdown or change in route by the driver - would fall in the ambit of 'exceptional nature'. Such ambiguity will leave the transporter, at the mercy of the proper officers.
Also, whether the time allowed on validity of the E-way bill is sufficient, considering the transport infrastructure available, specially, in the rural parts of India. There could also be challenges with the validity period, where consignments are transported on part load basis by different suppliers.
Cancellation of E-way bill:
In cases, where goods are not transported after generation of the E- way bill or are not transported as per the details furnished in the E- way bill, the E–way bill generated can be cancelled within the 24 hours from its generation. However, no such cancellation would be permitted, if the E-way bill is verified by the proper officer in transit before 24 hours.
This leads us to a question on the process for correction of the E- way bill post 24 hours of its generation. The Rules are silent on such remedy. In absence of any further clarity, the business would have to
set-up a robust system, to ensure that the details incorporated in the E- way bills are correct and verified at the earliest.
Information relating to the transport document no. in PART-1 of E-way bill form:
The Part-A of the E-way bill form, requires incorporating the details of the transport document such as goods receipt number or railway receipt number or airway bill number or bill of lading number. However, in practice, these could be provided by the transporter after the material is loaded in the vehicle for delivery. Does it mean that the consignor would not be able to furnish the details in Part-A before actual loading of material on the vehicle. If so, the whole exercise would have to be done on real-time basis and the access to the GST Network would have to be given to the logistics people working at the route level.
As per the Rules, the states are empowered to notify the area within which, the E-way bill would not be required. Hope this would not lead to different rules adopted by states for movement of goods within such area.
As of now the Karnataka Government has introduced the E-way bill on its site with the similar features as mentioned in Central Rules. Several other states have also initiated such digital process where details of the consignment can be shared electronically, eliminating the use of physical bills. It may be possible that different state comes up with the different Rules. This would create trouble for industries and may defeat the purpose of having uniform process across the country.
There is too much reliance on the technology in the new system. The transporters, especially, in smaller towns, who are not tech-savvy may fail to comply with the process. Also, given the cost involved in installing RFID devices to the vehicle, not many transporters may opt for it.
Further, the logistics and transportation is still managed by the unorganized sector. Hence, the E-way bill system could come as a compliance burden on them.
Physical verification of the conveyance:
The generally accepted belief is that the new system of E-way bill would lead to elimination of delays and long queues at check posts at state borders. But, will all the states be ready to adopt it seamlessly? Any modification in this regard by the states could lead to complete failure of the system.
The objective of the Government here is multi-fold i.e. to reduce the number of check-posts across the country, eliminate state-wise documentation to ensure smooth movement of goods, establish measures to avoid tax evasions and reduce corruption. While the intent of the Government is clear, the proper implementation of E-
way bill system is important.
For this, proper dissemination of information, training and awareness of people including developing of good eco-system should be on high priority list of the Government as well businesses. Also, sufficient time should be given to stakeholders for trying and testing the new system, so to minimize the initial hiccups. Efforts should be channelized towards reorientation of the attitude and approach of the tax administration, to achieve fundamental change in the mindset.
Thank You !