The GST Council has approved the proposal to introduce electronic-invoice (hereinafter called as E-invoice) on voluntary basis in its 37th meeting of 20 September 2019.
Accordingly, steps have been taken to introduce 'E-invoicing' or 'electronic invoicing' in a phased manner for reporting of business to business (B2B) invoices to GST System, beginning 1st January 2020 on voluntary basis. Since there was no standard for e-invoice existing in the country, a standard for the same has been finalized after detailed consultations with trade/industry bodies (CII, PHDCCI, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, etc), as well as ICAI after releasing the draft to the public. Having a standard is a must to ensure complete inter-operability of e-invoices across the entire GST eco-system so that e-invoices generated by one software can be read by any other software, thereby eliminating the need of fresh / manual data entry - which is a norm and standard expectation today. The machine readability and uniform interpretation is the key objective. This is also important for reporting the details to GST System as part of the returns. Apart from the GST System, adoption of a standard will also ensure that an e-invoice shared by a seller with his buyer or bank or agent or any other player in the whole business eco-system can be read by machines and obviate and hence eliminate transcription and data entry errors introduced by human intervention.
Standards are generally abstruse and thus an explanation document is required to present the same in common man's language. This present document attempts to explain the concept of e-invoice, how it operates and basics of standards. It also contains FAQs which answer the questions raised by people who responded to the draft e-invoice standard used for public consultation. It is expected that the document will also be useful for the taxpayers, tax consultants and the software companies to adopt the designed standard.
The updated documents which are now being released to the environment are:
The presentations made by GSTN team in the various workshops can be accessed at Here
The list of APIs, API specification details, methodology of API access and JSON schemas can be viewed at the API/sandbox portal at: https://einv-apisandbox.nic.in
E-Invoice messaging is a key factor in ensuring seamless transmission of invoice information in the standard schema notified, in a secured way. The schema which is to be JSON based, provides for machine to machine interaction between two distinct business entities to exchange their e-invoices to enable business transactions between them. While an e-invoice schema and format has been defined very elaborately, a messaging protocol also needs to be defined to ensure dispatch and reception of same for workflow-based processing. The following two issues need to be handled efficiently, in order to ensure business to business exchange of e-invoices
GSTN proposes to put in place a mechanism for ensuring both, by defining a protocol for dispatch and reception to be accepted and implemented by the systems of the businesses. Naturally, stakeholders will have to be identified who will enable adoption of the protocol and creation of the required infrastructure to make it happen.
A draft document that defines the methodology of peer to peer exchange of e-invoices where a sender is expected to send an encrypted payload over internet to the receiver through a central resolver is now being made available to relevant and interested stakeholders for their review.
This document is being termed as "Standard e-Invoice Messaging Protocol" and can be viewed at Here
The interested entities are requested to study the proposed protocol and provide their comments or feedback in the template provided at Here
The feedback may be provided at the following mail id: firstname.lastname@example.org