Selected GST payers will not be able to generate e-way bills without details of e-invoice with effect from March 1, 2024, the National Informatic Centre (NIC) has said.

“This is applicable for e-invoice-enabled tax payers and for the transactions related to supplies under B2B (Business to Business) and exports. However, EWBs for other transactions such as B2C (Business and non-supplies) will function as usual without any change,” NIC said in a circular. As on date, businesses with an annual turnover of ₹5 crore or more are mandatorily required to generate e-invoices, which means 10 lakhs assesses are required to comply with this. This number does not include exempted categories such as banks, non-banking financial companies, or insurance companies.

An e-way bill is an electronic document generated on a portal, evidencing the movement of goods and indicating whether tax has been paid. As per Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017, every registered person who causes the movement of goods (which may not necessarily be on account of supply) of consignment value of more than ₹50,000 is required to generate an e-way bill. This requirement applies to movements between two States and within a State. However, a State or UT with a legislature can decide the threshold for the value of goods applicable for movement within its boundary.

E-invoice has been operationalised since October 2020 for the taxpayers with Annual Aggregate Turnover (AATO) above ₹500 crore. In a phased manner, e-invoice generation has become mandatory for taxpayers with AATO above 5 crore. From day one, e-invoice has been seamlessly integrated with the e-way bill system, ensuring that e-way bills are generated along with e-invoices. That is, during e-invoice generation, if the transportation details are provided, the e-waybill is automatically generated. The majority of taxpayers are generating e-invoices along with e-way bills.

However, according to NIC, upon analysis it has been found that some taxpayers, who are eligible for e-invoicing are generating e-way bills without linking them with e-invoices for B2B and B2E transactions. In some of these cases, the invoice details entered separately under the e-way bill and e-invoice do not match with respect to certain parameters. This is leading to a mismatch in the e-way bill and e-invoice statements. That is why NIC has come out with a new circular.

As per Rule 48(4) of CGST Rules, notified class of registered persons have to prepare an invoice by uploading specified particulars of the invoice (in FORM GST INV-01) on Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) and obtain an Invoice Reference Number (IRN). After following the above ‘e-invoicing’ process, the invoice copy, which includes the IRN (with QR Code), issued by the notified supplier to the buyer, is commonly referred to as ‘e-invoice’ in GST.

NIC further said that the e-way bill generation process will be incorporated with appropriate checks for taxpayers (suppliers) eligible for e-invoicing. “All taxpayers and transporters are requested to make necessary changes in their systems so that they can adapt to the changes from March 1, 2024,” NIC advised.