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What is an e way bill in GST


What is an e way bill in GST
What is an e way bill in GST

An e-way bill refers to the electronic waybill or a permit during the movement of goods or consignments across India required by the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law. This article provides complete details about the use of e-way bills and their management.

Meaning of e-way bill

Contents of an e-way bill

When should one generate an e-way bill?

Who must generate an e-way bill?

Steps to generate an e-way bill generated

e-way bill validity

Documents needed for a person in charge of transportation

Exemptions from e-way bill

Documents and supplies verification by officers

Penalties for contraventions related to e-way bills

Meaning of e-way bill

An e-way bill refers to a document or a permit required to transport goods within or across states or Union Territories valued at more than Rs.50,000. It consists of information about goods, the consignor, the consignee and the transporter. An e-way bill can be electronically generated on the government’s e-way bill portal, managed by the GST Network (GSTN).

The limit could be a single invoice or bill or the delivery challan. In other cases, it could be the consolidated value of a consignment in a vehicle, even if any of the multiple bills are valued less than the limit. Upon generating an e-way bill, the portal assigns a unique e-way bill number. Such a number is available for the seller, transporter and the buyer.

Contents of an e-way bill

Every e-way bill has two primary sections Part-A and Part-B.

The part-A consists of the following-

  • GST number of the buyer
  • Delivery place, including the PIN Code
  • The serial number on the invoice or delivery challan and its issue date
  • Value of consignment
  • Taxes and HSN code
  • Transportation document numbers such as the Goods Receipt Number (GRN) or the Railway Receipt Number or the Airway Bill Number, or the Bill of Lading Number
  • Transportation reasons
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Part B consists of the information about the transporter (For instance, the vehicle number) 

When should one generate an e-way bill?

A person must generate an e-way bill before transporting the goods. It must contain details of the goods, the consignor, buyer and transporter.

e-Way bills are generated for the following purposes-

  • Transactions involving the supply of goods 
  • Transactions such as export or import, sales returns, job work, sale on approval basis, line sales, supply in semi or completely knocked down condition, supply of products for exhibition or fair, and personally consumed products that are all non-supply in nature.

Who must generate an e-way bill?

Every GST registered person who is either a consignor, recipient, consignee, or transporter must create an e-way bill if goods are transported through their conveyance or a hired one through the air, road or water.

Whereas, in the case of an unregistered person under the GST law who supplies to a GST registered person, the recipient must comply because the supplier is not registered under the GST law.

On the other hand, the transporter should create an e-way bill in cases where both the consignor and consignee do not generate an e-way bill even when they hand over the goods for transportation by road to the transporter.

The consignor may authorise the transporter, the courier agency, or even the e-commerce operator to enter details in part-A of the e-way bill. It should be generated even if the value of the consignment is lesser than Rs.50,000 in the following two cases: 

  • When the consignment is supplied by to a job worker by the principal across states.
  • When handicraft goods are transferred by a GST exempted supplier across the states.

Steps to generate an e-way bill generated

The e-way bill is generated on the e way bill portal managed by the GSTN. The user must register on the portal with the business details and GSTIN or Trans ID. Once an e-way bill gets generated, the supplier, the recipient, and the transporter transporting the goods will be assigned an e-Way Bill Number (EBN). In another way, the supplier can create and cancel e-way bills via SMS if they cannot access the internet. 

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The following are the steps to generate an e-way bill.

Step 1: The supplier must log on to the e-way bill portal

Step 2: Choose one of the modes to generate the e-way bill. Suppose you want to generate it online, then go to the dashboard, click on the ‘Generate new e-way bill’ option and enter the invoice details in Part-A. In case there are vehicle details, then enter the same in Part-B to generate the e-way bill and print it. 

The details in part B need not be entered if the distance covered by the conveyance is less than or equal to 50 km. In this case, the e-way bill can be created with only the Part-A details.  

To track the already generated e-way bill, click on the ‘For SMS’ option from the ‘Registration’ tab on the dashboard. The e-way bill details will be made available on the portal for the recipient. 

The recipient of the supply must either accept or reject an e-way bill on the portal. If they don’t take any action within 72 hours, the e-way bill will be deemed ‘accepted’.

e-Way bills can be auto-generated and managed easily using cloud-based invoice software since the invoice details are already backed up. 

e-Way bill validity

The validity of an e-way bill will be fixed based on the distance covered by the consignment.

If the distance is up to 200 km, the period shall be one day. But for every 200 km covered or part after that, the validity will be extended by one additional day from the relevant date.

Documents needed for a person in charge of transportation

Following are the documents to be carried by the person transporting the goods-

  • The tax invoice, bill of supply, or, wherever applicable, a delivery challan must be carried. 
  • If transportation by road, the person must carry a transporter ID. 
  • Suppose it is transportation by rail or air or ship. The person should hold the transporter ID, the transport document number, and documented transportation date.
  • An e-way bill copy or the e-way bill number (EBN). The person can carry a physical copy of the EBN or may map it to the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID).
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Exemptions from e-way bill

In the following cases, an e-way bill is not required-

  • The total consignment value is less than Rs.50,000*.
  • When the products being transported are exempt under the GST law.
  • The goods are shipped by non-motorised conveyances such as railways.
  • An invoice or a challan must be carried during the transportation even if an e-way bill is not required.
  • Suppose goods are shipped to an inland container depot or a container freight station from a port, airport, air cargo complex or land customs station for customs clearance. In that case, an e-way bill is not required.
  • Goods transported as laid down in the Annexure to Rule 138(14) of the CGST Rules.

*If the consignment consists of both exempt and taxable goods, the value of the exempt goods is deducted from the consignment value in the above calculation.

Documents and supplies verification by officers

An authorised officer may stop the conveyance to verify the e-way bill or check the e-way bill number on paper.

e-Way bill verification can also be done through the Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) if it has been mapped with RFID.

Suppose goods are found being transported without an e-way bill. In that case, the taxpayer or relevant person must pay the penalty higher than Rs.10,000 or equivalent to the amount of tax evaded.

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