The rules authorise the tax commissioner or an officer empowered by him on his behalf to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill or the number in physical form for all inter-state and intra-state movement of goods. (Reuters)Moving goods worth more than Rs 50,000 under GST will require prior online registration of the consignment and securing an ‘e-way bill’ that tax officials can inspect anytime during the transit to check tax evasion. The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has issued draft rules on Electronic Way (e-way) bill that require registered entities to furnish, in a prescribed format, GST-Network (GSTN) website information relating to any goods worth more than Rs 50,000 they intend to move within a state or outside. GSTN will generate e-way bills that will be valid for 1-15 days, depending on distance to be travelled – one day being for 100 kilometres and 15 days for more than 1,000 km transit.
“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,” stated the draft norms.
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 rules authorise the tax commissioner or an officer empowered by him on his behalf to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill or the number in physical form for all inter-state and intra-state movement of goods.
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Physical verification of conveyances can be carried out on specific information of evasion of tax, as per the rules.
The officer will be required to submit a summary report of every inspection of goods in transit within 24 hours and the final report within three days of inspection.
“Where a vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding 30 minutes, the transporter may upload the said information in (prescribed form) on the common (GSTN) portal,” said the guidelines.
Nangia & Co Director (Indirect Taxation) Rajat Mohan believes that the e-Way bill will give respite to countless transporters as now any transporter whose vehicle has been intercepted and detained for a period exceeding 30 minutes, he may upload the said information on the GSTN portal.
Analysts said this provision will act as a two-way sword as now accountability of the tax officer intercepting the vehicle will increase, but at the same time it will give opportunity to the transporter to file complaint.
“I believe electronic way bills would be the final nail in the coffin for people dealing in black markets or in the unorganised sector,” Mohan said.
These e-way bills will also come with a mechanism for self-check where every registered supplier will have to pre-inform the government about the location of goods to be transported, which will also be re-confirmed by the transporter, he added.
Although the draft e-way rules did not specify what documents will have to be filled in the bill, experts said the consigner will have to give the name and address of both the sender and receiver of the goods.
Also, they will be required to give description of the goods, its valuation and weight.
The government has already come out with nine set of GST rules earlier this month and today unveiled two set of rules for ‘assessment and audit’ and ‘electronic way bills’.
Mohan said the government is eyeing world-class implementation of GST.
“A country like India where per capital GDP is still comparable to countries like Nigeria and the Philippines, Ease of Doing Business Index 2017 still says we are at 130th position in the world. With such background, is it economically viable and beneficial to implement GST in highly automated environment? Does infrastructure at Indian tier-II and tier-III cities ready to implement GST?” Mohan wondered.