Upon introduction, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) wasn’t implemented across the country in a snap. It was adopted by states gradually, at varying times. E-way Bills followed a similar pattern and some states adopted it immediately, Karnataka being one of the firsts. E-way Bills replaced the way bills that were being used earlier, and brought a revolution in the logistics industry. E-way bill digitalized the whole transportation system of country, by reducing time-consumption and increasing cost-reduction. Any consignment worth of Rs. 50,000 or more was mandated to be transported with an e-way bill generated before dispatch. Karnataka adopted this system before most other states did.
Before the introduction of e-way bill, Karnataka followed the e-SUGAM system under VAT. It was a transit document which had to be made by the dealer of goods online for a consignment worth more than Rs. 20,000 moving within and across the state’s border. Logging in on the e-SUGAM website with the username and password provided by the Department allowed dealers to issue the document online, or could be generated via text message (m-Governance Mobile Based SUGAM).
The e-SUGAM held a unique number which was required at check-posts as vehicle permit. The details in the document had to match the ones provided on the system, or it was considered unlawful. The e-SUGAM system was praised for holding proper accounts of sales and taxes. It followed the model of Self-Declaration over Departmental Policing, which has now been adopted by the E-Way Bill system to be spread across the country. Thus, only a few changes were made in the way Karnataka’s system was previously handling its logistics.
However, the C-Form which was a part of e-SUGAM under CST (now mostly dissolved) is still being levied on some goods which aren’t taxable under GST. The C-Form can now only be issued for transactions like resale, use in manufacture/processing, and use in telecom, power, electricity generation. It can only be levied at a concessional rate of 2% on goods such as crude petroleum, high-speed diesel, petrol, natural gas, aviation turbine fuel, and alcohol (liquor).
When is E-Way Bill Required?
E-Way bills are required for any interstate and intrastate movement of goods across checkpoints. It has now been mandatory to generate an e-way bill before dispatching a consignment, across the nation. Every taxable item under GST will need an e-way bill if it is worth more than Rs. 50,000 , but e-way bills can be filed voluntarily for inter or intra state supplies even when the goods are not worth more than Rs.50000.
However, E-way bill may not be required under following circumstances:
- If the items include jewelry, precious stones or metals, currency, personal household, postal baggage, kerosene oil under PDS, LPG for domestic supply, coral, and goldsmith’s/silversmith’s articles. Read our blog to find the list of all goods not included under e-way bill system.
- If goods are being transported on vehicles without motors, like animal carts.
- If the cargo containers are empty.
- If the goods are carrying transit cargo between India and Nepal or Bhutan.
- If the consignment includes goods not liable for taxation under GST.
- If the transaction comes under ‘no supply’ under the Act’s Schedule III.
E-Way Bill Generation
E-way bill registration is a one-time thing, but its generation is required to be done multiple times. To register for e-way bills, you need to be a GST taxpayer or a registered transporter. If you are, follow these simple steps:
- Go to the e-way bill portal: https://ewaybillgst.gov.in/
- Select ‘Registration’ on the Homepage
- Click on ‘E-Way Registration’
- Fill in your details and ‘Submit’
- You will be provided with your User ID with which you can log in to your account.
The transporters must always ensure that they are carrying the e-way bill with them. The consignment value should be Rs. 50,000 or more, keeping in mind that it includes the tax and excludes the value other goods exempted from supply being carried in the vehicle. The seller is required to generate the e-way bill before dispatch and its hardcopy or digital copy must be carried with the transporter. If the seller is unregistered, the buyer must generate the e-way bill. If the vehicle carries multiple consignments which singularly are worth less than the required value, then first individual invoices must be created for each and then an aggregate e-way bill must be generated.
Apart from online generation, e-way bills can also be generated via a text message to the verified phone number of the taxpayer. Users in Karnataka have to send their SMS Code to this mobile number; 0091-9731979899. There are many android software applications which do all the work for e-way bill generation and documentation. Many other API software applications are available which help continuously generate e-way bills easily by linking your device to the Government Portal to help you with GST Compliance.
Although e-way bill didn’t come as a game-changer in Karnataka, it definitely did ease out the national transportation system. Saving businesses and transporters from wasting time at check-points by buying over five hours more, and saving huge costs of storage, the e-way bill has definitely proved to be a boon which has helped boost the development of logistics industry to its full potential.