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An electronic waybill, popularly known as an e-way bill, is a mandatory electronic document generated to certify and authenticate the movement of goods and services between and within states. It is a compliance mechanism put into place as a part of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime that sellers/consignors must adhere to before transport. 

Before transporting goods or services, the seller/consignor must upload details about the consignment on a digital interface and generate an e-way bill through the GST portal. An e-way bill typically contains the following information.

  • Consignor/Seller Name: Any individual who is the supplier of goods and initiates the transportation process.

  • Consignee/Recipient name: The name of the individual who is supposed to receive the goods in question.

  • Origin of consignment: It is the starting point of the goods’ journey.

  • Delivery Address and Details: This is the address of the location where the goods are to be delivered.

  • Route: It is the course as well as the time taken by the driver while transporting the cargo.

Once an e-way bill is generated, it is made available to the supplier, consignee, and transporter.

Eway Bill Rules - Background

Rampant evasion of taxes was prevalent in the country during the previous indirect tax regime. The Central government levied duties and taxes on the manufacturing and rendering of services. On the other hand, the state governments were empowered to levy taxes on the intrastate sale of goods. The revenue was then shared among the Centre and the states. This process included innumerable checks and transporters had to be equipped with various documents like permits, challans, and more. This is why a technological system was devised to serve the purpose of easy taxation. Thus, the e-way bill rules were put forth into existence under the GST regime. 

E-Way Bill Rules and Compliance

The statutory requirement of an e-way bill falls under the ambit of Section 68 of the CGST Act & Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, 2017.

According to these rules, every registered individual under GST involved in the movement of goods whose value exceeds ₹ 50,000 is required to furnish the details of the goods in an e-way bill pro-forma before the goods are transported. However, there are certain circumstances, as mentioned below, when an e-way bill needs to be compulsorily generated even when the consignment value does not exceed ₹50,000.

  • During the interstate transfer of goods sent by the principal to a job worker located in other states. The e-way bill, in this case, is generated by the principal or registered job worker.

  • During the interstate transfer of handicraft goods by an unregistered dealer under the GST. In case of a supply of goods initiated by an unregistered individual to a registered individual, the consignee would have to ensure all the compliances are met as if they were the seller.

E-Way Bill Rules for Documents & Inspection by Officer

The transporter or the person in charge of conveyance must keep the following documents handy as per the GST e-way bill rules:

  • Invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan

  • Physical copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number

When verifying the conveyance, the officer can intercept any vehicle to assess the e-way bill during interstate or intrastate movement. The officer can also conduct physical verification of the vehicle with the approval of the commissioner if they suspect tax evasion. However, once a vehicle has been verified in a given state, it cannot be verified again in another, unless there is a case of tax evasion. 

A detailed explanation about E-Way Bill Verification can be read in our article E Way Bill Verification & Inspection of Goods in Transit.

E-Way Bill Rules for E-Way Bill Format

The e-way bill in GST is composed of two parts: Part A and Part B. 

  • Part A of Form EWB 01: This form must include details of the consignment, associated details, that include GSTIN of the recipient, delivery location, invoice or challan number, the value of goods, HSN code, the reason for transportation, and the transport document number.

  • Part B of Form EWB 01: This section must include the details of the vehicle number in which goods are transported. It will be filed by the transporter in the common portal.

Here is a table that lists down the categories of persons who can fill the relevant parts of the form in question:

Movement of Goods by

Mode of Conveyance

Condition

Part of Form GST EWB 01

A registered individual under GST as consignor/consignee (no transporter involved)

Own or hired conveyance by air, rail, or vessel

Prior to the commencement of movement of goods

Part B

Transporter through transportation by road

Transporter Conveyance

Prior to the commencement of movement of goods

Part A

Transporter on behalf of registered Dealer

Transporter Conveyance

Prior to the commencement of movement of goods

Part B

Unregistered persons (Consignor/Transporter)

Own or transporter’s conveyance

Prior to the commencement of movement of goods

Parts A & B

Unregistered persons to registered persons (recipient shall fulfil the compliance requirements)

Own or transporter’s conveyance

Prior to the commencement of movement of goods

Parts A & B

 

Changes in E-Way Bill Rules as per 26th GST Council Meeting

In a bid to simplify the e-way bill process, the Indian government and the GST Council implemented some changes in the 26th GST Council Meeting. Here are some of the enlisted modifications:

  • As part of the revised e-way bill notification, there is no need to generate an e-way bill when the value of an individual consignment is below ₹50,000, even if the value of the collective consignments exceeds ₹50,000

  • Earlier, the e-way bill was not mandatory for goods that were moved within the distance of 10 km, within a state or Union Territory. As part of the current revision, the distance has been increased to 50 km

  • Earlier, the e-way bill could be accepted or rejected by the recipient within a fixed period of 72 hours. Post those hours and no communication, the bill was deemed as accepted by the recipient. At present, the bill has to be accepted or rejected within 72 hours or by the time of delivery, whichever is earlier

  • As part of the revised notification, the new eway bill validity rules have been put in place for consignments:

    • For up to 20 km: 1 day

    • For every other 20 km or thereof: Addition of 1 day

Additional Changes in Way Bill Rules

Here are some of the other changes that have been introduced to the e-way bill rules:

  • Consignments carried via railways have been exempted from the need of generating and carrying an e-way bill. However, it is mandatory for railways to carry the invoice or delivery challan 

  • In the case of inter-state movement of goods, registered job workers can generate the e-way bill

  • There is no need for e-way bill generation during transit of cargo from/to Nepal or Bhutan

  • A field titled "Place of Dispatch" is added in the e-way bill. It helps capture details on the movement of goods on account of the "Bill-To-Ship-To" supply

  • When the movement of goods is being undertaken by railways, airways, and waterways, the e-way bill may also be generated post the commencement of the movement of goods

  • Once a consignment has been verified by a tax officer, the conveyance is not subject to a second check at any other location. Exceptions are made when there is a special order in place.

Frequently Asked Questions

✔️When is an e-Way Bill not Required?

Under special circumstances, a transporter will not have to get an e-Way bill generated. Those circumstances are the likes of moving goods within the confines of a state/union territory, moving fuel and transporting the cargo with the assistance of cattle or bullock carts.

✔️What is the Minimum Distance Required for an e-Way Bill?

The details of the conveyance are not required to be declared if the distance between the place of the consignor and the place of a transporter is less than 50 Kms. If the distance that needs to be covered is going above the 50 Km mark, the transporter will compulsorily need to get an e-Way bill generated.

✔️Is an e-Way Bill Compulsory if the Transporter is Moving Goods within its own city?

An e-Way bill is only warranted and subsequently generated if the cargo is crossing state/union territory borders. Ergo, if the transporter is moving the goods around within the confines of the city itself, no e-Way bill is needed.

✔️Is e-Way bill Required for Less Than 10 kms?

An e-Way bill is only required if the goods in question are being moved from one state/union territory to another. In addition to the same, an e-Way bill is only issued if the distance that is to be covered is going past the 50 Kilometer-mark. Hence, if you are moving your goods within the radius of 10 kilometers, you will not have to get an e-Way bill generated.