The final e-way rules notified by the government may result in increased compliance burden for retailers of smartphones, laptops and white goods like air-conditioners and washing machines, experts said. While these rules would bring uniformity of procedure as opposed to distinct rules applied by each state in the VAT regime, some of the conditions remained onerous. “These rules are applicable even ‘for reasons other than supply’, thereby any movement of assets from one office to another even within the state needs to be supported by an e-way bill. This understanding seems too far-fetched and needs to be considered before these rules are actually implemented,” Rajat Mohan, partner, AMRG Associates, said.
These rules require the registered person to furnish information for inter-state and intra-state movement of consignment exceeding Rs 50,000, which experts believe is a very low threshold and would bring most businesses in. Further, businesses opting for composition scheme — those with turnover of less than Rs 75 lakh annually — are also required to adhere to e-way rules. This provision would act as a deterrent to do business for such composition suppliers, Mohan said. The government had deferred the e-way rules at the time of GST roll-out after it was felt that the technology for its implementation was still not ready.
The e-way bill will remain valid for a period of 24 hours from the time of its generation, if the goods are to be transported for distance of up to 100 km. For every additional distance of 100 km, the validity will extend by another 24 hours. However, the final rules exempt movement of certain category of goods from generating e-way bills which include animals, vegetable, fruits, currency, used household items and other GST-exempt goods. Additionally, goods that are transported from the port, airport,air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot are also exempted from e-way rules.
In a note, PwC said that while the whole process is technology enabled, the government should consider the representations of the industry on various aspects like enhancing the threshold for generation of e-way bills, dispensing with physical verification of conveyances leading to delays, requirement for intra-state movement etc have not been considered. “There is a significant apprehension in the industry on e-way bill rules mainly due to additional compliance and the adverse experiences faced in enforcement of way bill provisions in VAT regime.” PwC said.