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GST Council introduced e-Invoicing from 1st January, 2020 on a voluntary basis, for reporting of business to business (B2B) invoices. The GST Council had approved the standard to be used for the e-Invoice in its 37th meeting that was held on the 20th of September, 2019 in Goa. Below are some FAQs on the e-Invoicing system under GST.
Electronic invoicing or E-invoicing is the new system through which business to business (B2B) transactions are authenticated electronically by GSTN for further use on the common GSTN portal. In simpler words, it is an invoice generated using a standardised format, where the electronic data of the invoice can be shared with others, thus ensuring interoperability of data.
Issue of e-invoices by the taxpayers registered under GST having a turnover above Rs 500 crores has been notified on 13th Dec 2019.
Today, a transaction between the supplier and recipient is done directly without the government having any proof of the exchange. Under the e-Invoicing model, businesses will continue to generate invoices on their respective ERPs just the way it was being done in the past. The only difference is that, the standard, schema and format for the generation of invoices will be specified, to ensure a level of standardisation and the machine-readability of these invoices.
With e-invoicing, the moment an invoice is made, it will be uploaded to GSTN portal where pre-validation will be done, and a unique number called IRN (Invoice Reference Number) will be issued which will then be digitally signed. Once IRN is issued, it will then generate a QR code, containing vital parameters of the e-Invoice. This will be returned to the same to the taxpayer who generated the document in the first place. The IRP will also send the signed e-Invoice to the recipient of the document, on the email ID provided in the e-Invoice.
The following documents will be covered under e-Invoicing for now:
Step 1 – Generation of e-invoice:
The taxpayer will continue to generate invoices in the normal course of business. However, the reporting of these invoices electronically has criteria. It needs to be done as per the e-invoice schema along with mandatory parameters. The mandatory fields of an invoice for the supply of goods are listed below:
The seller has to ensure that his accounting/billing software is capable of generating a JSON of the final invoice. The seller can create a JSON following the e-invoice schema and mandatory parameters by using the following modes:
Step 2 – Generation of unique IRN:
The supplier has the option to generate ‘hash’ based on specific parameters usually three of them such as Supplier’s GSTIN, Supplier’s invoice number, Financial Year (YYYY-YY). The prescribed algorithm, such as SHA256 must be used for the hash generation. If the hash is validated, it would later become the Invoice Reference Number (IRN) of the e-invoice.
Step 3 – Uploading the JSON:
The following modes may be used to upload the JSON of the final invoice:
Step 4 – Hash generation/validation:
Hash will have to be generated by the IRP in respect of the invoices uploaded without the hash. In such a case, the hash generated by the IRP would become the IRN. Where the supplier has also uploaded hash, a de-duplication check will be performed. It is done by validating the hash/IRN against the Central Registry of GST System to ensure that the IRN is unique. Once validated, the hash/IRN is stored in the Central Registry. IRP will then generate a QR Code and digitally sign the invoice and make it available to the supplier. The IRP also sends the e-invoice via e-mail mentioned on the invoice to the buyer and seller.
Source: last FAQ doc released by GSTN
An e-Invoice will be uploaded into the relevant GST return only once it has been validated and registered by the invoice registration system. After the validation has been done, it will be visible to the recipient for viewing and taking action (in the new return system).
The main aim of the tax department is to enable the pre-population of GST returns, which will reduce reconciliation-related problems. Once e-Invoicing has been implemented, the data in the invoices can be pre-populated into the relevant tables of the tax returns without the need for fresh data entry.
As per the draft format generated by the GSTN, an e-Invoice will contain the following parts-