Streamlining E-Way Bill Generation: GST Council’s March 1, 2024 Directive

In a significant development, the National Informatics Centre (NIC) has announced that selected GST payers will no longer be able to generate e-way bills without providing details of e-invoices, effective March 1, 2024.

This rule applies specifically to e-invoice-enabled taxpayers and pertains to transactions related to supplies under B2B (Business to Business) and exports. However, it’s crucial to note that E-way bills for other transactions, such as B2C (Business to Consumer) and non-supplies, will continue to function without any change, according to the circular issued by NIC.

As of now, businesses with an annual turnover of ₹5 crore or more are obligated to generate e-invoices. This requirement encompasses approximately 10 lakh assesses, excluding exempted categories like banks, non-banking financial companies, and insurance companies.

E-invoice, operationalized since October 2020 for taxpayers with Annual Aggregate Turnover (AATO) above ₹500 crore, has seamlessly integrated with the e-way bill system. This integration ensures that e-way bills are automatically generated during the e-invoice process when transportation details are provided.

NIC’s analysis has revealed that some eligible taxpayers are generating e-way bills without linking them to e-invoices for B2B and B2E transactions. Mismatched details between the separately entered e-way bill and e-invoice parameters contribute to discrepancies in statements.

In response to this issue, NIC has issued a circular, stating that from March 1, 2024, e-way bill generation will not be permitted without corresponding e-invoice details. This measure aims to streamline the process, ensuring accurate alignment between e-way bills and e-invoices.

This change by GST Council comes after the road transport association, AITWA, had represented the on-ground challenges where officials were asking why consignment is not accompanied by e-invoice even though the seller is having turnover as per e-invoice threshold. We welcome this step by the GST Council and thank them for their intervention,” said industry body AITWA.

To enforce these changes effectively, the e-way bill generation process will incorporate appropriate checks for taxpayers eligible for e-invoicing. Suppliers engaged in B2B and B2E transactions will face restrictions on direct e-way bill generation without linked e-invoices. However, normal e-way bill generation for transactions related to B2C and non-supplies will remain unaffected.

The NIC urges all taxpayers and transporters to make the necessary adjustments in their systems to adapt to these regulatory changes by March 1, 2024.

As of December 2023, the robust e-way bill generation numbers, exceeding 8 crores, indicate healthy economic activity. The move is aligned with various initiatives to curb evasion and support a growing economy.

In conclusion, these regulatory changes aim to enhance the accuracy and compliance of e-way bill generation, reinforcing the seamless integration between e-invoice and e-way bill systems.

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