E-Way Bill roll-out: Traders now have more time to prepare for new system
E-way bills are electronic way bills generated for movement of goods whether or not supply.
A subtle silver lining to the postponing of E-Way bill roll-out is that traders will now have more time to prepare for the much-awaited system. Due to the technical glitches that crashed the e-way bill landing on 1 february, the same has been put on hold until any further notification from CBEC.
While the voluntary trials for e-way bills that began earlier in January are still continuing, only a handful of states have notified that their traders will now generate e-way bills on the common portal. The remaining states on the other hand, have decided to wait for the full-proof e-way bill to come through.
The first few months of Goods and Services Tax (GST) also faced some hiccups. Either way, it will be unfair to expect a perfect e-way bill system in its first breakthrough appearance. The good news is that so far over two lakh e-way bills are being generated every day in the trial runs that began on 16 January and evidently, the mechanism is doing fairly well.
E-way bills are electronic way bills generated for movement of goods whether or not supply. The advent of centralised system in e-way bills has standardised the document inspection procedure and brought the scattered steps on a common web-based platform, while improving the efficiency in movement and widening tax revenue by preventing possible under-invoicing. And as GST entails making sure of every consignment above Rs 50,000 to be passed only upon being e-way bill-compliant, it will be somewhat difficult for the beginners to get to that point right away.
There is no denying that e-way bill is aimed at simplifying the goods transport-related documentation process, which earlier was much of a hassle and required different data for different states.
The country was in need of an afflictive measure to curb the reckless cargo movement that could have triggered an unethical cash flow, diving herself further into tax evasion. Experts say it could have been a reason for the scanty GST collections towards the end of 2017.
The e-way bill is expected to ensure that every moving good is tagged and tax-paid, so that there’s no chance of a gap.
Upon implementation of the e-way bill, traders will not be able to avoid paying tax as the government will have details of all moving goods above the value of Rs 50,000.
For the rectification of taxes and a flawless economy, taxpayers need to register themselves on the EWB portal and further manage their e-waybills through SMS or the android app.
There’s an option on the portal wherein registrants can create sub-users and provide them with online access to generate e-Way Bills for a GSTIN thus benefiting business houses having multiple units/ branches in managing their respective e-Way bills while saving their time and effort. The new mechanism will surely bring in visibility across the organisation.
Furthermore, preparing GSTR-1 will become easier given, all the data from the invoices uploaded to generate an e-way bill will be autopolutated on the GSTR-1 form. One can choose to avail this option while filing their return.
To bring uniformity across the states for seamless inter-state movement of goods, registering for e-way bill is a must. This will not only put a stop to tax evasion but will also boost revenues by 15-20 per cent.
Albeit the expectations and benefits, we can come across a few challenges. A major one being that any mistake made while generating an e-way bill cannot be rectified leaving no option but to create a fresh one.
Nonetheless, technical glitches may be observed initially with the sudden increase in the traffic of users. Only time will tell how the GSTN’s preparation will pan out post the roll-out.
All said, e-way bill is all set to become a mandatory requirement under GST for moving goods, and while there will be glitches at first, the change is necessary and for a greater good.
(The write is Founder & CEO, ClearTax)
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