E-invoice started with full of enthusiasm

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E-Invoicing recorded over on an average 10 lakh plus IRN (Invoice Reference Number) were generated per day during the first six days. The per hour average count on a day was 10,500 and the highest daily count touched 13 lakh. e-Invoicing has been made mandatory for businesses having turnover of ₹500 crore or more from  1st October 2020. There are more than 50,000 taxpayers who fall into this category.

E-Invoicing essentially involves reporting details of specified GST documents to a government notified portal and obtaining a reference number. GSTN (the IT systems provider for GST) claims that there is not much difference between the present system and new one. Registered persons continue to create GST invoices on their own accounting/billing/ERP systems.

These invoices will now be reported to the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP). On reporting, the IRP returns the e-invoice with a unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) after digitally signing the e-invoice and adding a QR Code. Then, the invoice can be issued to the receiver, along with QR Code. A GST invoice will be valid only with a valid IRN.

IRN generation is expected to touch 20 lakh per day soon. Over 5.25 crore invoices were uploaded during December and this number included service providers such as, banks, insurance companies, transportation companies cinema hall operators and Special Economic Zone Units. Now, these service providers have been exempted beside small assessee. This means 4 or 4.5 crore invoices will be part of the new system.

A day before the operationalisation of new system, the government has relaxed the norms. Accordingly, invoices raised by notified taxpayers during October 2020 without following e-Invoice procedure obtaining IRN and issuing invoice with QR Code will be deemed to be valid and no penalty will be levied if the IRN for such invoices is obtained within 30 days of the date of the invoice. 

This should not be treated as postponing the implementation, but assisting taxpayers in initial phase. It has been clarified that in case of any contingency, the Commissioner can exempt a person or a class of registered persons from e-invoicing for a specified period.

Also, now the focus of e-invoicing should shift to the gathering of ground level feedback either by interacting with the taxpayers through feedback forms or webinars. This feedback will enable identification key unresolved issues and providing solutions for the likely issues which may arise once e-invoicing shifts to real-time basis from 1st November 2020. This feedback will also help smoothen the teething problems for smaller taxpayers who are likely to get covered in the next few phases.

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