Indian Government makes e-Way Bill system mandatory for inter-State movement of goods
The Indian Government has made the e-Way Bill system mandatory from 1 April 2018 for all inter-State movement of goods, as part of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. The e-Way Bill system had been introduced in January this year.
In July 2017 India implemented the GST which subsumes all indirect taxes that were levied on goods and services and unified state and federal taxes, thereby creating a single market within India.
The e-Way Bill is a document to be carried by the person in charge of conveyance, generated electronically from the common portal. The e-Way Bill can also be generated through an Android App, SMS, using Bulk Upload Tool and API based site-to-site integration etc. Transporters can generate a consolidated e-way Bill for vehicle carrying multiple consignments.
The idea behind the e-Way Bill is that the taxpayer has to upload the details of each transaction to a common portal through the Internet, and once uploaded, the common portal automatically generates a document which can be tracked and verified easily by any stakeholder.
Previously, each consignment had to be accompanied by a ‘Delivery Note’ which were issued from the VAT offices to the taxpayers. At the end of every month the taxpayer had to submit an utilisation statement of the forms issued. The taxpayers had to make several visits to the tax office to get the blank Delivery Notes. At check-posts the trucks, would get detained for a long time on frivolous grounds
In order to overcome these challenges, a new system was introduced where the taxpayer could upload the details of each transaction to the departmental ‘Server’ through the internet, and the ‘Server’ would automatically generate a Delivery Note with a unique number, which could accompany the goods vehicle as a proof of having uploaded the transaction.
There are four key stakeholders of the e-Way Bill: 1) Suppliers – Generate the e-Way Bills and reject the e-Way Bills generated by other party against his/her name, if it does not belong to him/her; 2) Recipients - Generate the e-Way Bills and reject the e-Way Bills generated by other party against his/her name, if it does not belong to him/her; 3) Transporters - Generate the e-Way Bills, consolidated e-Way Bills and update the vehicle numbers for the e-Way Bills assigned to him for transportation by the taxpayers; 4) Department Officers – Verify the e-Way Bills and consignments carried with the e-Way Bills.
An officer authorised by the State can 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. A summary report of every inspection of goods in transit will be recorded online by the concerned officer in specified format within twenty four hours of inspection and the final report in specified format shall be recorded within three days of the inspection. If a vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding thirty minutes, the transporter may upload the said information in a specified format on the common portal.
On day one, a total of 259,000 e-Way Bills were generated on the e-way bill portal. A total of 1,118,292 taxpayers had registered on e-Way Bill Portal till 2 April. Further 20,057transportershave enrolled themselves on the e-Way Bill Portal.
To assist and answer queries of taxpayers and transporters, the Central helpdesk of GST has made special arrangements with 100 agents exclusively dedicated to answer queries related to e-way bills. Separately, state tax authorities have started helpdesk in local language, details of which are available on the GST portal. Central as well as State Tax Authorities have declared Nodal Officers for e-way bills. Detailed FAQs are kept on the portal for the guidance of the users.
Transporters can create multiple Sub-Users and allocate roles to them. This way large transporters can declare their various offices as sub-users.
There is a provision for cancellation of e-way Bill within 24 hours by the person who has generated the e-way Bill. The recipient can also reject the e-way Bill within validity period of e-way bill or 72 hours of generation of the e-way bill by the consignor whichever is earlier.
The implementation of the nationwide e-Way Bill mechanism under GST regime is being done by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) in association with the National Informatics Centre (NIC)and is being run on portal namely https://ewaybillgst.gov.in.
GSTN is a non-profit, non-government organisation (24.5% shares held by central government, 24.5% by state governments and remainder by non-government financial institutions), responsible for managing the IT system for the GST regime. The portal is intended to be used by the government to track financial transactions, and it will provide taxpayers with all relevant services, from registration to filing taxes and maintaining and updating tax details.