Under the GST regime, for quick and easy movement of goods across India without any hindrance, all the check posts across the country are abolished. However, in order to monitor the movement of goods for controlling any tax evasion, an e-way bill system has been introduced.
Under this system, a taxpayer – prior to movement of goods via a conveyance would inform each transaction’s details to the tax department, obtain an acknowledgment number for having thus informed, and then use this acknowledgment number as a valid document accompanying the conveyance carrying goods.
The idea is that the taxpayer is made to upload the details of each transaction to a common portal through the Internet, and once uploaded, the common portal would automatically generate a document that can be tracked and verified easily by any stakeholder.
Section 68 of the CGST Act stipulates that the Government may require the person in charge of a conveyance carrying any consignment of goods of value exceeding such amount as may be specified to carry with him such documents and such devices as may be prescribed. Rule 138 of CGST Rules, 2017 prescribes an e-way bill as the document to be carried for the consignment of goods in certain prescribed cases.
What is an e-way bill?
A waybill is a receipt or a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods and the details include the name of the consignor, consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination, and route.
Electronic Way Bill (E-Way Bill) is a compliance mechanism wherein by way of a digital interface the person causing the movement of goods uploads the relevant information prior to the commencement of movement of goods and generates eway bill on the GST portal. In other words, the E-way bill is an electronic document generated on the GST portal evidencing the movement of goods.
What are the benefits of the e-way bill?
Following benefits are expected from the e-way bill mechanism:
(i) Physical interface to pave way for digital interface resulting in the elimination of state boundary check-posts
(ii) It will facilitate faster movement of goods
(iii) It will improve the turnaround time of trucks and help the logistics industry by increasing the average distances traveled, reducing the travel time as well as costs.
E-way Bill is generated electronically in Form GST EWB 01 on the common portal (www.ewaybillgst.gov.in). The facility of generation, cancellation, updation, and assignment of e-way bill is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter, as the case may be. E-way Bill can be generated through various modes like Web (Online), Android App, SMS, using Bulk Upload Tool and API (Application Program Interface) based site to site integration, etc.
The pre-requisite for the generation of an e-way bill is that the person who generates eway bill should be a registered person on the GST portal and he should register on the e-way bill portal. If the transporter is not a registered person under GST law, it is mandatory for him to get enrolled on the e-way bill portal (https://ewaybillgst.gov.in) before the generation of the e-way bill.
When is e-way bill required to be generated?
Whenever there is a movement of goods of consignment value exceeding ` 50,000:
(i) in relation to a supply; or
(ii) for reasons other than supply; or
(iii) due to inward supply from an unregistered person,
the registered person who causes such movement of goods shall furnish the information relating to the said goods as specified in Part A of Form GST EWB-01 before the commencement of such movement.
It is important to note that “information is to be furnished prior to the commencement of movement of goods” and “is to be issued whether the movement is in relation to a supply or for reasons other than supply”.
Who causes the movement of goods?
If the supplier is registered and undertakes to transport the goods, the movement of goods is caused by the supplier. If the recipient arranges transport, movement is caused by him. If goods are supplied by an unregistered supplier to a registered known recipient, the movement shall be said to be caused by such recipient.
Meaning of consignment value of goods
Consignment value of goods shall be the value:
In case of movement of goods for reasons other than supply, the movement is occasioned by means of a delivery challan which has to necessarily contain the value of goods. The value given in the delivery challan should be adopted in the e-way bill.
Special situations where e-way bill needs to be issued even if the value of the consignment is less than Rs. 50,000
(i) Inter-State transfer of goods by principal to job-worker
Where goods are sent by a principal located in one State or Union territory to a job worker located in any other State or Union territory, the e-way bill shall be generated either by the principal or the job worker, if registered, irrespective of the value of the consignment.
(ii) Inter-State transfer of handicraft goods by a person exempted from obtaining registration
Where handicraft goods* are transported from one State or Union territory to another State or Union territory by a person who has been exempted from the requirement of obtaining registration [under clauses (i) and (ii) of section 24], the e-way bill shall be generated by the said person irrespective of the value of the consignment.
*Handicraft goods are the goods specified in Notification No. 56/2018 CT dated 23.10.2018 which exempts the casual taxable persons making inter-State taxable supplies of such handicraft goods from obtaining registration upto specified turnover limit.
One E-way Bill to be issued in case of ‘Bill To Ship To’ Model
In a “Bill To Ship To” model of supply, there are three persons involved in a transaction, namely:
‘A’ is the person who has ordered ‘B’ to send goods directly to ‘C’.
‘B’ is the person who is sending goods directly to ‘C’ on behalf of ‘A’.
‘C’ is the recipient of goods.
In this complete scenario. two supplies are involved and accordingly two tax invoices are required to be issued:
Invoice -1: which would be issued by ‘B’ to ‘A’.
Invoice -2: which would be issued by ‘A’ to ‘C’.
It is clarified that as per the CGST Rules, 2017, either A or B can generate the e-Way Bill but it may be noted that only one e-Way Bill is required to be generated.
What Information is need to be furnished in e-way bill?
An e-way bill Form GST EWB-01 contains two parts:
(I) Part A [comprising of details of GSTIN of supplier & recipient, place of dispatch & delivery (indicating PIN Code also), document (Tax invoice, Bill of Supply, Delivery Challan or Bill of Entry) number and date, value of goods, HSN code, and reasons for transportation, etc.]: to be
furnished by the registered person** who is causing movement of goods of consignment value exceeding ` 50,000/- and
(II) Part B (transport details) [Transporter document number (Goods Receipt Number or Railway Receipt Number or Airway Bill Number or Bill of Lading Number) and Vehicle number, in case of transport by road]: to be furnished by the person who is transporting the goods.
**However, the information in Part-A may be furnished:
Who is mandatorily required to generate e-way bill?
- Where the goods are transported by a registered person – whether as a consignor or recipient as the consignee (whether in his own conveyance or a hired one or a public conveyance, by road), the said person shall have to generate the e-way bill (by furnishing information in part B on the common portal) [Rule 138(2)].
- Where the e-way bill is not generated by the registered person and the goods are handed over to the transporter, for transportation of goods by road, the registered person shall furnish the information relating to the transporter in Part B on the common portal and the e-way bill shall be generated by the transporter on the said portal on the basis of the information furnished by the registered person in Part A [Rule 138(3)].
- Where the goods are transported by railways or by air or vessel, the e-way bill shall be generated by the registered person, being the supplier or the recipient, who shall, either before or after the commencement of movement, furnish, the information in part B [viz transport document number (Goods Receipt Number or Railway Receipt Number or Airway Bill Number or Bill of Lading Number)] on the common portal [Rule 138(2A)].
Other important points:
- Where the goods are transported by railways: there is no requirement to carry e-way bill along with the goods, but railways have to carry invoice or delivery challan or bill of supply as the case may be along with goods. Further, the e-way bill generated for the movement is required to be produced at the time of delivery of the goods. Railways shall not deliver goods unless the e-way bill required under rules is produced at the time of delivery.
- The registered person or, the transporter may, at his option, generate and carry the e-way bill even if the value of the consignment is less than ` 50,000
- Where the movement is caused by an unregistered person either in his own conveyance or a hired one or through a transporter, he or the transporter may, at their option, generate the e-way bill.
- Where the goods are supplied by an unregistered supplier to a recipient who is registered, the movement shall be said to be caused by such recipient if the recipient is known at the time of commencement of the movement of goods.
When is it not mandatory to furnish the details of conveyance in Part-B?
Explanation 2 to rule 138(3) stipulates that e-way bill is valid for the movement of goods by road only when the information in Part-B is furnished. However, details of conveyance may not be furnished in Part-B of the e-way bill where the goods are transported for a distance of up to 50 km within the State/Union territory:
- from the place of business of the consignor to the place of business of the transporter for further transportation [Third proviso to rule 138(3)] or
- from the place of business of the transporter finally to the place of business of the consignee [Proviso to rule 138(5)].
Unique e-way bill number (EBN)
Upon generation of the e-way bill on the common portal, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter on the common portal [Rule 138(4)].
Transfer of goods from one conveyance to another
Where the goods are transferred from one conveyance to another, the consignor or the recipient, who has provided information in Part A, or the transporter shall, before such transfer and further movement of goods, update the details of conveyance in Part B of the e-way bill on the common portal [Rule 138(5)].
The consignor/recipient, who has furnished the information in Part A, or the transporter, may assign the e-way bill number to another registered/enrolled transporter for updating the information in Part B for further movement of the consignment [Rule 138(5A)]. However, once the details of the conveyance have been updated by the transporter in Part B, the consignor or recipient, as the case may be, who has furnished the information in Part A shall not be allowed to assign the e-way bill number to another transporter.
Consolidated E-way bill
After e-way bill has been generated, where multiple consignments are intended to be transported in one conveyance, the transporter may indicate the serial number of e-way bills generated in respect of each such consignment electronically on the common portal and a consolidated e-way bill in Form GST EWB-02 may be generated by him on the said common portal prior to the movement of goods.
Consolidated e-way bill is a document containing the multiple e-way bills for multiple consignments being carried in one conveyance (goods vehicle). That is, the transporter carrying multiple consignments of various consignors and consignees in a single-vehicle can generate and carry a single document – consolidated e-way bill instead of carrying separate documents for each consignment in a conveyance.
Consolidated EWB is like a trip sheet and it contains details of different eway bills in respect of various consignments being transported in one vehicle and these e-way bills will have different validity periods. Hence, Consolidated EWB does not have any independent validity period. Further, individual consignment specified in the Consolidated EWB should reach the destination as per the validity period of the individual EWB.
Further, where the consignor/consignee has not generated the e-way bill in Form GST EWB-01 and the aggregate of the consignment value of goods carried in the conveyance is more than ` 50,000, the transporter, except in case of transportation of goods by railways, air and vessel, shall, in respect of inter-State supply, generate the e-way bill in Form GST EWB-01 on the basis of invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be, and may also generate a consolidated e-way bill in Form GST EWB-02 on the common portal prior to the movement of goods. Provisions of rule 138(7) have not yet been made effective.
However, where the goods to be transported are supplied through an e-commerce operator or a courier agency, the information in Part A of Form GST EWB-01 may be furnished by such an e-commerce operator or courier agency.
Information submitted for e-way bill can be used for filing GST Returns
The information furnished in Part A of the e-way bill shall be made available to the registered supplier on the common portal who may utilize the same for furnishing the details in Form GSTR-1.
However, when the information has been furnished by an unregistered supplier/unregistered recipient, he shall be informed electronically, if the mobile number or the e-mail is available.
Cancellation of e-way bill
Where an e-way bill has been generated, but goods are either not transported or are not transported as per the details furnished in the e-way bill, the e-way bill may be cancelled electronically on the common portal within 24 hours of generation of the e-way bill.
However, an e-way bill cannot be cancelled if it has been verified in transit in accordance with the provisions of rule 138B.
Further, unique EWB number generated is valid for a period of 15 days for updation of Part B.
The validity period of e-way bill/consolidated e-way bill.
|Sl. No.||Distance within the country||Validity period from relevant date*|
|1.||Upto 100 km||One day in cases other than Over Dimensional Cargo**|
|2.||For every 100 km or part thereof thereafter||One additional day in cases other than Over Dimensional Cargo|
|3.||Upto 20 km||One day in case of Over Dimensional Cargo|
|4.||For every 20 km or part thereof thereafter||One additional day in case of Over Dimensional Cargo|
*Relevant date means the date on which the e-way bill has been generated and the period of validity shall be counted from the time at which the e-way bill has been generated and each day shall be counted as the period expiring at midnight of the day immediately following the date of generation of e-way bill.
This can be explained by following examples –
(i) Suppose an e-way bill is generated at 00:04 hrs. on 14th March. Then first day would end on 12:00 midnight of 15 -16 March. Second day will end on 12:00 midnight of 16 -17 March and so on.
(ii) Suppose an e-way bill is generated at 23:58 hrs. on 14th March. Then first day would end on 12:00 midnight of 15 -16 March. Second day will end on 12:00 midnight of 16 -17 March and so on.
The validity of the e-way bill starts when first entry is made in Part-B i.e. vehicle entry is made first time in case of road transportation or first transport document number entry in case of rail/air/ship transportation, whichever is the first entry. It may be noted that validity is not re-calculated for subsequent entries in Part-B.
**Over dimensional cargo means a cargo carried as a single indivisible unit and which exceeds the dimensional limits prescribed in rule 93 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, made under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
Extension of validity period
Extension by Commissioner for certain categories of goods:
Commissioner may, on the recommendations of the Council, by notification, extend the validity period of an e-way bill for certain categories of goods as may be specified therein.
Extension by transporter in exceptional circumstances:
Where, under circumstances of an exceptional nature, including trans-shipment, the goods cannot be transported within the validity period of the e-way bill, the transporter may extend the validity period after updating the details in Part B, if required. Transporter can extend the validity of the e-way bill, if the
consignment is not being reached the destination within the validity period due to exceptional circumstance like natural calamity, law and order issues, trans-shipment delay, accident of conveyance, etc. He needs to explain this reason in details while extending the validity period. This option is available for extension of e-way bill before 8 hours and after 8 hours of expiry of the validity [Rule 138(12)].
Acceptance of e-way bill
The details of the e-way bill generated shall be made available to the –
(a) supplier, if registered, where the information in Part A has been furnished by the recipient/transporter; or
(b) recipient, if registered, where the information in Part A has been furnished by the supplier/transporter, on the common portal, and the supplier/recipient, as the case may be, shall communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment covered by the e-way bill.
In case, the person to whom the information in Part-A is made available, does not communicate his acceptance or rejection within the specified time, it shall be deemed that he has accepted the said details. The time-limit specified for this purpose is:
E-way bill generated in one State is valid in another State
The e-way bill generated under this rule or under rule 138 of the Goods and Services Tax Rules of any State or Union territory shall be valid in every State and Union territory.
Points to remember
- E-way bill is not valid for movement of goods without vehicle number on it.
- Once E-way bill is generated, it cannot be edited for any mistake. However, it can be cancelled within 24 hours of generation.
- E- Way Bill may be updated with vehicle number any number of times.
- The latest vehicle number should be available on e-way bill and should match with the vehicle carrying it in case checked by the department.
Situations where E-way Bill is not required to be generated
Notwithstanding anything explained above, no e-way bill is required to be generated in the following cases:
- where the goods being transported are the ones given below:
|S. No.||Description of Goods|
|1.||Liquefied petroleum gas for supply to household and non-domestic exempted category (NDEC) customers.|
|2.||Kerosene oil sold under PDS|
|3.||Postal baggage transported by Department of Posts|
|4.||Natural or cultured pearls and precious or semi-precious stones; precious metals and metals clad with precious metal (Chapter 71)|
|5.||Jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares and other articles (Chapter 71)|
|7.||Used personal and household effects|
|8.||Coral, unworked (0508) and worked coral (9601)]|
(b) where the goods are being transported by a non-motorized conveyance
(c) where the goods are being transported from the customs port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot or a container freight station for clearance by Customs
(d) in respect of movement of goods within such areas as are notified under of rule 138(14)(d) of the State or Union territory GST Rules in that particular State or Union territory
(e) where the goods [other than de-oiled cake], being transported, are exempt from tax vide Notification No. 2/2017 CT(R) dated 28.06.2017
(f) where the goods being transported are alcoholic liquor for human consumption, petroleum crude, high speed diesel, motor spirit (commonly known as petrol), natural gas or aviation turbine fuel
(g) where the supply of goods being transported is treated as no supply under Schedule III of the Act
(h) where the goods are being transported –
- under customs bond from an inland container depot or a container freight station to a customs port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station, or from one customs station or customs port to another customs station or customs port, or
- under customs supervision or under customs seal
(i) where the goods being transported are transit cargo from or to Nepal or Bhutan
(j) where the goods being transported are exempt from tax under Notification No. 7/2017 CT (R) 28.06.2017 [Supply of goods by the CSD to the Unit Run Canteens or to the authorized customers and supply of goods by the Unit Run Canteens to the authorized customers] and Notification No. 26/2017 CT (R) 21.09.2017 [Supply of heavy water and nuclear fuels by Department of Atomic Energy to Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL)]
(k) any movement of goods caused by defence formation under Ministry of defence as a consignor or consignee
(l) where the consignor of goods is the Central Government, Government of any State or a local authority for transport of goods by rail
(m) where empty cargo containers are being transported
(n) where the goods are being transported up to a distance of 20 km from the place of the business of the consignor to a weighbridge for weighment or from the weighbridge back to the place of the business of the said consignor subject to the condition that the movement of goods is accompanied by a delivery challan issued in accordance with rule 55.
(o) where empty cylinders for packing of liquefied petroleum gas are being moved for reasons other than supply
Documents and devices to be carried by a person-in-charge of a conveyance
The person-in-charge of a conveyance shall carry –
(a) the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, as the case may be;
(b) a copy of the e-way bill in physical form or the e-way bill number in electronic form or mapped to a RFID** embedded onto the conveyance [except in case of movement of goods by rail or by air or vessel] in such manner as may be notified by the Commissioner.
**RFIDs are Radio Frequency Identification Device used for identification. However, in case of imported goods, the person-in-charge of a conveyance shall also carry a copy of the bill of entry filed by the importer of such goods and shall indicate date & no. of bill of entry in Part A of Form GST EWB 01.
Invoice Reference Number in lieu of tax invoice
A registered person may obtain an Invoice Reference Number from the common portal by uploading, on the said portal, a tax invoice issued by him in the prescribed form and produce the same for verification by the proper officer in lieu of the tax invoice and such number shall be valid for a period of 30 days from the date of uploading.
In such a case, the registered person will not have to upload the information in Part A of E-way bill for generation of e-way bill and the same shall be auto-populated by the common portal on the basis of the information furnished in the prescribed form.
Documents in lieu of e-way bill
Where circumstances so warrant, the Commissioner may, by notification, require the person-in-charge of the conveyance to carry the following documents instead of the e-way bill:
(a) tax invoice or bill of supply, or bill of entry; or
(b) a delivery challan, where the goods are transported for reasons other than by way of supply [Rule 138A(5)].
Verification of documents and conveyances
The Commissioner or an officer empowered by him on this behalf may authorize the proper officer to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill in physical or electronic form for all inter-State and intra-State movement of goods.
The Commissioner shall get RFID readers installed at places where the verification of movement of goods is required to be carried out and verification of movement of vehicles shall be done through such device readers where the e-way bill has been mapped with the said device.
The physical verification of conveyances shall be carried out by the proper officer as authorised by the Commissioner or an officer empowered by him in this behalf.
However, on receipt of specific information on evasion of tax, physical verification of a specific conveyance can also be carried out by any other officer after obtaining the necessary approval of the Commissioner or an officer authorized by him on this behalf.
Inspection and verification of goods
A summary report of every inspection of goods in transit shall be recorded online by the proper officer in Part A of a prescribed form within 24 hours of inspection and the final report in Part B of said form shall be recorded within 3 days of such inspection.
However, where the circumstances so warrant, the Commissioner, or any other officer authorised by him, may, on sufficient cause being shown, extend the time for recording of the final report in Part B of said form, for a further period not exceeding 3 days. The period of 24 hours or, as the case may be, three days shall be counted from the midnight of the date on which the vehicle was intercepted.
Where the physical verification of goods being transported on any conveyance has been done during transit at one place within the State/Union territory or in any other State/Union territory, no further physical verification of the said conveyance shall be carried out again in the
State/Union territory, unless a specific information relating to evasion of tax is made available subsequently.
The hard copies of the notices/orders issued by a tax authority may be shown as proof of initiation of action by a tax authority by the transporter/registered person to another tax authority as and when required.
Only such goods and/or conveyances should be detained/confiscated in respect of which there is a violation of the provisions of the GST Acts or the rules made thereunder.
Facility for uploading information regarding detention of vehicle
Where a vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding 30 minutes, the transporter may upload the said information in the specified form on the common portal.
It may be noted that the expressions ‘transported by railways’, ‘transportation of goods by railways’, ‘transport of goods by rail’ and ‘movement of goods by rail’ used in the provisions discussed above does not include cases where leasing of parcel space by Railways takes place.
Consignee/ recipient taxpayer storing goods in the transporter’s godown
Generally, textile traders use transporters’ godown for storage of their goods due to their weak financial conditions. The transporter takes delivery of the goods and temporarily stores them in his warehouse for further transportation of the goods till the consignee/recipient taxpayer’s premises. In this case, the recipient taxpayer has to declare the transporter’s godown as an APoB.
E-way Bill requirements
The goods in the movement including when they are stored in the transporter’s godown (even if the godown is located in the recipient taxpayer’s city/town) prior to delivery shall always be accompanied by a valid e-way bill. The transportation under the e-way bill shall be deemed to be concluded once the goods have reached the transporter’s godown (recipient taxpayer’s APoB). Hence, e-way bill validity in such cases will not be required to be extended. Further, whenever the goods move from the transporter’s godown to the recipient taxpayer’s any other PoB, a valid e-way bill shall be required.
The requirement of maintaining accounts and records
- Transporter, being a warehouse keeper, have to maintain accounts and records as specified in section 35 read with rule 58.
- Recipient taxpayer shall also maintain accounts and records as required under rules 56 and 57. Furthermore, as per rule 56(7), books of accounts in relation to goods stored at the transporter’s godown (i.e., the recipient taxpayer’s APoB) by the recipient taxpayer may be maintained by him at his PPoB. Thus, the facility of declaring APoB by the recipient taxpayer is in no way putting any additional compliance requirement on the transporters. [Circular No. 61/35 /2018 GST dated 04.09.2018].