– Jigar Doshi
The objective to drive E-way bill — one nation one road tax — approach has its own merits and challenges. While merits include moving away from the requirement state wise compliance to uniform provisions across the country, the challenges with E-way bill compliance may be multifold. Errors on E-way bill compliance by transporters could be classified as technology-driven errors and human errors.
Technology-driven errors: To a country which still adapting to digitisation and IT networks, errors due to inadequate technological support such as portal downtime, lack of connectivity, inability to access/ track /utilise functions of the portal, etc. have been time and again sounded off in various parts of the country. The Indian courts have also showcased on multiple occasions that they are not averse to recognise the genuine concerns on technology and errors cropping due to same – subject to bonafide being proved. However, where bonafide was not duly substantiated, courts have even gone to extent of levying severe penalties for non-compliance.
Human errors: They are as common as they sound, and vary from filling incorrect data on the E-way bill portals, not tracking validity and ignorance of the law. Despite being so common, it appears that the E-way bill compliance has not factored-in adequate resolutions or scope for condonation of such errors.
Part B: Mandating updation of Part B (transport details) of E-way on real-time, has posed substantial challenges to transporters who may not proficient with the nuances of tax laws or technology, thus leading errors (such as incorrect vehicle details being updated or different E-way bill being carried for a different invoice or non-availability of valid way-bills due to time lag in transportation, etc). Extra care must be taken while filling this part.
Jigar Doshi is Partner, Indirect Taxes, SKP Business Consulting LLP.