26th GST Council meeting: E-way bill from April 1, but no progress on simplified filing

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The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council in its 26th meeting on Saturday gave nod for the rollout of e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods valued over Rs 50,000 from April 1, while approving a staggered implementation at the intra-state level. The Council, however, did not reach a consensus on the proposed simplification of returns filing process as the tax bureaucracy emphasised on removing any scope for evasion while moving towards an easier returns filing process.



  • The present returns filing system (summary return GSTR-3B and sales return GSTR-1) has been extended till June and the Group of Ministers dealing with the IT-related issues will work on the model for further simplification of returns with the help of experts, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
  • Tax exemptions for exporters have also been extended by six months. Decision regarding inclusion of extra neutral alcohol under GST was deferred as states and Centre differed over the legality of the taxation as the output — potable alcohol — stays outside the ambit of GST, two senior officials said. The view of Attorney General was sought by the Centre over the issue, who opined that GST can be levied over extra neutral alcohol since it’s directly not fit for human consumption and hence, cannot be given the same treatment as potable alcohol, the officials said.
  • However, some states such as West Bengal questioned the legality of bringing extra neutral alcohol under GST, while some other states viewed it as a loss of control of their taxation powers and hence, no final decision was taken, the officials added.
  • The pending items outside the ambit of GST such as alcohol and real estate are likely to be taken up only after state elections, one of the officials said.
  • “There were two models which were discussed by the GoM. There was no definitive view so they had left the final call with GST Council. The tax bureaucracy of states and Centre felt that the returns should be simplified but there should be no scope for evasion…the Council was of the view that there should be a single return every month, it should be simple, not prone to evasion and (look at) how to simplify it further. So, no decision was taken today. The existing system has been extended by three months,” Jaitley told reporters after the meeting.
  • While the e-way bill was approved, the other measure for checking tax evasion — reverse charge mechanism — has been deferred till June 30. For intra-state movement of goods, the Council has approved phased rollout of e-way bill by dividing states in four zones, with the first group to be finalised on April 7. “Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are expected to be among the first states which will roll out the e-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods,” a senior government official said.
  • The GST Council also decided to extend the tax exemptions to exporters by six months. It has decided to implement the e-wallet scheme for giving refunds to exporters under GST by October 1, 2018 — the date till which exporters can continue to claim tax exemptions given by the Council in its October 6 meeting. Accordingly, merchant exporters can pay a tax at the rate of 0.1 per cent on goods procured for export purposes and obtain a refund for the same.
  • Also, domestic procurement made under Advance Authorisation, EPCG and EOU schemes are being recognised as ‘deemed exports’ with flexibility for either the suppliers or the exporters being able to claim a refund of GST/IGST paid thereon.
  • The Council has also suspended till June 30 the provision for deduction of TDS and collection of TCS by e-commerce operators. Besides, the GST implementation committee has been tasked with the work of redressing grievances caused to taxpayers arising out of IT glitches.
  • Tax officials have opposed automatic approval of input tax credit and have raised concerns about whether or not provisional input tax credit should be allowed and whether or not input tax credit should be linked with tax payments under GST. The GoM will try to sort out the differences in its next meeting, which will then be taken up by the GST Council for approval, an official said.

E-way Bill

  • E-Way Bill is an electronic way bill for movement of goods which can be generated on the e-Way Bill Portal. Transport of goods of more than Rs. 50,000 in value in a vehicle cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill.
  • Alternatively, E-way bill can also be generated or cancelled through SMS, Android App and by Site-to-Site Integration (through API).
  • When an e-way bill is generated a unique e-way bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.

When should eWay Bill be issued

E-Way bill will be generated when there is a movement of goods in a vehicle/ conveyance of value more than Rs. 50,000(either each Invoice or in aggregate of all Invoices in a vehicle/ Conveyance)  –

  • In relation to a ‘supply’
  • For reasons other than a ‘supply’ ( say a return)
  • Due to inward ‘supply’ from an unregistered person

For this purpose, a supply may be either of the following

  • A supply made for a consideration (payment) in the course of business
  • A supply made for a consideration (payment) which may not be in the course of business
  • A supply without consideration (without payment)In simpler terms, the term ‘supply’ usually

Therefore, e-Way Bills must be generated on the common portal for all these types of movements.

For certain specified Goods, the e-way bill needs to be generated mandatorily even if the Value of the consignment of Goods is less than Rs. 50,000:

  • Inter-State movement of Goods by the Principal to the Job-worker
  • Inter-State Transport of Handicraft goods by a dealer exempted from GST registration.

Q.1 With respect to GST Council which will be a joint forum of the Centre and the States. It shall consist of the following

  1. Prime minister
  2. Union Finance Minister
  3. The Union Minister of State (MoS) in-charge of Revenue of finance
  4. The Minister In-charge of taxation or finance or any other Minister nominated by each State Government.

Choose the correct answer from the codes given below

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1,  2 and 4 only
  4. All of the above

Answer: b.) 2, 3 and 4 only

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