FAQs for e-invoices

What is the meaning of an e-invoice? What is an e-invoice? 

‘e-Invoicing’ or ‘electronic invoicing’ is a system in which B2B invoices (the invoices where the GST number of the customer is entered to be eligible for GST Credit) are authenticated electronically by GSTN for further use on the common GST portal. 

Under this new electronic invoicing system, a unique identification number will be issued against every invoice by the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) to be managed by the GST Network(GSTN). 

How to create an e-invoice? 

An e-invoice is generated by the official government portal, and the steps to be followed are mentioned as follows –

  1. Create a GST invoice that is compliant with the government guidelines, and consists of the mandatory fields. This invoice can be generated using any software, the free invoicing software by Refrens.
  2. Conver the GST invoice into JSON form, this is important because the software accepts data only in the JSON format, hence it’s advisable to check with your accounting software if they provide data in JSON format.
  3. One can either manually upload the invoice on the portal, and wait for the system to authenticate the invoice, and then send the updated invoice the IRN, and the QR code, or use an invoicing software like Refrens that allows them to automate this using the software.
  4. The final invoice with the IRN and the QR code will be system generated and sent to the business which can be further sent to the recipient. 

What is GSP in GST? 

GSP stands for GST Suvidha Provider. A GSP enables a GST taxpayer to comply with all the procedural provisions of the GST law through its web platform. Refrens.com has the permission, and grant from the government to be a provider for authenticated e-invoices. 

Is e-invoicing mandatory? What is the eligibility for e-invoice? 

No, e-invoicing is not mandatory for everyone, and only those businesses that are eligible for e-invoices are required to create e-invoices.

How to enable e-invoice in GST? 

There is an option in the https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in portal under the registration menu as ‘e-Invoice Enablement’. 

You would be required to enter your GSTIN and validate it with the OTP sent to you via the registered email ID and phone number. After that, you would be required to enter your business turnover, and other details, and hit submit. After the acceptance, you would be eligible to generate e-invoices. 

What do consignor, and consignee mean in an e-invoice? 

A consignor is an entity that provides the service, or the product. For example, if you buy food from a restaurant, where the restaurant is the consignor, and the recipient(you) is the consignee. 

How do I log into the e-Invoice Portal?

There is an option in the https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in portal under the registration menu as ‘e-Invoice Enablement’. Select and enter the any GSTIN of the company and get the OTP authenticated and enter the turnover with related financial year and submit. Once you are enabled for the e-invoicing, you can log in, and operate it as per your needs.

Who is exempted from e-invoices? 

There are some exemptions that the government has stated. These business entities will not be required to share generate e-invoice,s and can operate like before. 

  • Insurance Companies
  • Banking Company or a Financial Institution, including a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC)
  • Goods Transport Agency (GTA) transporting goods by road in a goods carriage
  • Transport service provider, providing passenger transportation service
  • Registered person providing services of – admission to an exhibition of cinematograph films on multiple screens
  • Special Economic Zone (SEZ) units
  • Free Trade & Warehousing Zones (FTWZ)

What is JSON in e-invoice? 

A JSON(Javascript Object Notation) is a file format that is readable by a computer program, and also human legible and often used as a standard format to send data across programs and software. 

The JSON file is used by the GSTN for GST return preparation and filing. The Government has provided an offline GST return preparation tool that generates JSON files that can be filed on the GST Portal, otherwise one can also use multiple free tools on the internet to generate JSON.

Can we modify an e-invoice? 

No, you cannot modify an e-invoice because that is generated by the system, and if there are any cancellations that are made to the invoice, it should be informed on the IRN portal within 24 hours, and failing to do is a compliance issue. 

How to revise an e-invoice? 

So first you need to generate a fresh invoice, raise a credit note for the canceled invoice, and then upload the amended invoice to the portal, or your e-invoicing software. 

If a business wants to cancel an already reported e-invoice, you can do so by uploading the IRN, or any of the following details after logging into your portal –

–    GSTIN
–    Type of document
–    Document number
–    Document date

Once an invoice is canceled, the same invoice number can not be used again to generate another invoice.

How to generate multiple e-invoices? 

Many businesses operate on a big scale and may have 100s or 1000s of invoices to be processed every day, and therefore the government portal has provided methods to facilitate the generation of multiple invoices. 

The taxpayer needs to have the EINV bulk converter installed in his system. This is an excel-based offline utility that helps convert multiple invoices entered in the excel sheet into a single JSON file for bulk upload. In order to download this tool, visit the trial e-invoice portal. Go to Help > Tools > Bulk Generation Tools. Select the tool which is most appropriate.

Do we need e-invoices for B2C businesses? 

No. Currently, the e-invoicing system is only for B2B businesses where the consignor and the consignee are GST registered, and eligible for e-invoices.