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About E Invoice


If an invoice is generated by a software on the computer or Point of Sales (PoS) machine, then does it become an e-invoice? Is e-invoice as a system where taxpayers can generate the invoices centrally? Many such questions are raised when e-invoice gets discussed.

E-invoice does not mean generation of invoices from a central portal of tax department, as any such centralization will bring unnecessary restriction on the way trade is conducted. In fact, taxpayers have different requirements and expectation, which can’t be met from one software generating e-invoices from a portal for the whole country. Invoice generated by each software may look more or less same, however, they can’t be understood by another computer system even though business users understand them fully. For example, an Invoice generated by SAP system cannot be read by a machine which is using ‘Tally’ system. Likewise, there are hundreds of accounting/billing software which generate invoices but they all use their own formats to store information electronically and data on such invoices can’t be understood by the GST System if reported in their respective formats. Hence a need was felt to standardize the format in which electronic data of an Invoice will be shared with others to ensure there is interoperability of the data. The adoption of standards will in no way impact the way user would see the physical (printed) invoice or electronic (ex pdf version) invoice. All this software would adopt the new e-Invoice standard wherein they would re-align their data access and retrieval in the standard format. However, users of the software would not find any change since they would continue to see the physical or electronic (PDF/Excel) output of the invoices in the same manner as it existed before incorporation of e-Invoice standard in the software. Thus the taxpayer would continue to use his accounting system/ERP or excel based tools or any such tool for creating the electronic invoice as s/he is using today.

To help small taxpayers adopt e-invoice system, GSTN has empanelled eight accounting & billing software which provide basic accounting and billing system free of cost to small taxpayers. Those small taxpayers who do not have accounting software today, can use one of the empanelled software products, which come in both flavors, online (cloud based) as well as offline (installed on the computer system of the user).