E-invoicing system to be rolled out from January 1 on voluntary basis

The ‘e-invoicing’ system will be introduced from January 1, 2020 in a phased manner for generating business-to-business (B2B) invoices on a voluntary basis, according to a revenue department note.

Businesses with a turnover of Rs 500 crore or more are supposed to start e-invoicing from January 1, 2020 on voluntary and trail basis while businesses with turnover of Rs 100 crore or more are required to do it from February 1, 2020.

E-invoicing will become mandatory for both the categories starting April 1, 2020. However, it will remain voluntary and on trial basis even after April 1, 2020 for businesses having turnover of less than Rs 100 crore.

E-invoicing is prevalent in different models in many countries. This is how it works — an invoice is generated on a portal and is verified by the government or a government agency. Once the invoice is verified, a unique identity number is issued, which acts as the invoice number. This invoice is then issued to buyers.

An electronic invoice can do away with the need for both separate returns filed against sale of goods and e-way bills issued for transport of goods.

According to the note issued by the revenue department, the basic aim behind adoption of e-invoice system is to make it convenient for taxpayers to file GST returns by further simplifying the system.

With e-invoicing, the tax department can help businesses and taxpayers pre-populate the returns. This may also result in reducing reconciliation problems. “The fundamental principle behind introducing the e-invoicing is to put the technology at the service of the people to create ease of living and ease of doing business,” said the note.

The e-invoicing system may help generate an invoice in a standard format so that invoice generated on one system can be read by another system and reporting of an e-invoice to a central system becomes possible.

To help small taxpayers adopt e-invoice system in a smooth manner, GST Network, the entity that provides IT support to GST system, has empanelled eight accounting and billing software, which provide basic accounting and billing system free of cost to small taxpayers. Small taxpayers, who do not have accounting software today, can use one of the empanelled software products that is available online (cloud based) as well as offline (installed on the computer system of the user).

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