The government has announced relaxation in the e-way bill mechanism: these won’t be required for consignments moved within 50 km from the place of origin. Earlier, it was mandatory to generate e-way bill on the common portal by suppliers or recipients for moving goods worth Rs 50,000 over a distance of more than 10 km. Ahead of the GST Council meet on Saturday, the government has tweaked several other features of the e-way bill system, aimed primarily at reducing the compliance burden. The system, along with invoice-matching mechanism, is considered crucial for plugging revenue leakages in the GST. E-way bill, which is aimed at monitoring business to consumer (B2C) transactions, is expected to accrue nearly Rs 10,000 crore monthly to GST collections. Further, amended rules clarify that value of goods for transportation will exclude the value of exempt supply where invoices are issued for both exempt and taxable supply. Additionally, taxpayers will now enjoy a new facility whereby they can authorise transporters to generate e-way bills on their behalf. This is expected to make life easier for e-commerce operators who can now delegate the responsibility of generating bills to their logistics partners. “First, deferment of half-baked e-way bills system and now tweaking rules to make it more taxpayer-friendly, that too without fettering the objects to check tax evasion is a feat worth applauding. Revised rules would afford convenience and accuracy to movement of goods in a fully automated digital environment,” said Rajat Mohan, partner, AMRG & Associates.
Among other relaxations, a supplier or recipient of goods can now generate the bill even after the movement of cargo, a change from the earlier system when it was mandatory to do so before transportation began. Further, a unique number generated after filing the first part of e-way bill will now be valid for 15 days from three days earlier. This would provide relief for businesses which need to update the vehicle number in the second part of the form due to a contingency. “The practical difficulties faced by heavy goods vehicle covering the journey within the validity period of e-way bill seems to be taken care through an amendment wherein, now the validity period for over-dimensional or large cargo will get more days to cover the same distance unlike any normal goods carrier. With these changes several anomalies have been taken care of,” Archit Gupta, founder and CEO of Cleartax said. The implementation of e-way bill mechanism was advanced to February 1 after states had complained of losses in revenue. However, the common portal crashed due to heavy load on the first day of operation. The council suspended the system for roll-out on a later date. “It is essential to simplify various procedures for e-way bill generation and usage so that businesses do not spend excessive time on compliance. These changes are in that direction and will benefit business,” MS Mani, partner, Deloitte India, said.