After reducing tax
rates on over 200 items in the last meeting, the goods and services tax
(GST) Council is set to meet again on Saturday to discuss early implementation of the electronic way bill, or e-way bill, from January amid slowing revenue
If implemented, the move could be a setback to the industry, which has been seeking the e-way bill’s deferment citing increased compliance burden.
The meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, will take place through video-conferencing to discuss the advancement of the e-way bill
implementation from April to January to check tax
evasion, officials said. Tax
collections in October touched their lowest, to Rs 83,000 crore, since the roll-out of the GST
on July 1.
The 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 a bill on the GST
Council will meet on Saturday and discuss the implementation of the e-way bill
from January onwards, as revenues seem to have come under pressure. There are reports of dealers avoiding the GST
as there are no checks and barriers,” said an official.
He added there were three months with the government
to make up for revenue
shortfall, making a case for tightening enforcement-related loopholes.
had attributed the decline in revenue
collections to the postponement of GST
features like matching of returns, e-way bill, and reverse charge mechanism.
According to sources, five states, including Karnataka, are ready with the e-way bill
mechanism. The system is being developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), along with the GST
E-way bills will help central and state tax
authorities track inter-state and intra-state movement of goods. Tax
commissioners or an officer empowered by him will be authorised to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill
or the number in physical form for all supplies.
The Council had, in its October meeting, decided to put off the e-way bill
issue for the time being. It had decided to put it in place in all states by March 31, 2018. But the e-way Bill
has been notified.
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. The transporter or the person in charge of conveyance will be required to carry the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, and a copy of the e-way bill
or the e-way bill
number, either physically or mapped to a radio frequency identification device (RFID) embedded on to the conveyance.
The Council decided that 100 km would need to be covered within 24 hours, after which the permit would be cancelled. It exempted the need for the e-way bill
for movement of goods up to 10 km, tax-exempted items, and supplies worth up to Rs 50,000.
The law advisory panel set up to advice changes to the GST
laws and rules has recommended deferring the e-way bill
Another official pointed out that the Saturday meeting would discuss the implementation of e-way bill
in a way that minimises harassment of taxpayers. “It needs to be hassle-free and there should be no harassment. An officer cannot stop a vehicle for more than 30 minutes, and it will all be technologically driven,” said the official.
The industry has been arguing that the proposed e-way bill
would lead to significant documentation and logistics challenges for businesses.