In a taxpayer-friendly move, the government said the distance between two PIN codes for a shipment will be calculated automatically at the time of generation of an e-way bill under the goods and services tax (GST).This is expected to reduce discrepancies in e-way bills generated by transporters, which not only lead to queries from tax officials, but also in generation of an e-way bill.
The GST Network, the information technology backbone, which, along with the National Information Center, manages the e-way bill system, has floated a request for proposal (RFP) for service providers who can automate the process of calculating the distance between two PIN codes within the e-way bill system. The last date for submission of bids is 26 July. The RFP requires the service provider to complete the entire process within two-three weeks of the project being awarded.
An e-way bill, an electronic documentation of movement of goods, was rolled out primarily as an anti-tax evasion measure to prevent non-reporting or under-reporting of transactions. It has to be generated for all movement of goods within or outside a state through online registration of a consignment. The supplier and the transporter can upload the details about the shipment and get a unique e-way bill number.
While an e-way bill has to be generated for movement of all goods between states valued at over ₹50,000, the threshold varies from state to state.At present, taxpayers are asked to enter the two PIN codes, the starting point and the end point of the shipment, and then asked to fill the distance.
“The taxpayers or transporters, knowingly or unknowingly, may enter the distance wrongly and, hence, it results in loss of time. It also makes transporters further clarify the details to the verifying office,” the RFP said. The validity of an e-way bill is linked to the distance between the two locations and, hence, this move will cut down on human errors. An e-way bill is valid for a day for a distance less than 100 km. For every 100 km, thereafter, the validity is an additional day from the relevant date.
An e-way bill was made mandatory for all inter-state movement of goods from 1 April. It is also mandatory for all movement of goods within a state, subject to state-level value thresholds. So far, more than 130 million e-way bills have been generated.
However, transporters say this may further complicate the e-way bill system. “Automating distance in e-way bill will reduce the error in the distance. However, the primary area of concern for a taxpayer or transporter is error in the vehicle number,” said Abhishek Gupta, managing director, Prakash Parcel Services Ltd.
He said it is possible that a transporter uses different routes for his shipments, depending on other logistics, which could lead to an increase in the distance traveled than what is calculated by merely entering PIN codes of the starting point and the end destination.