Tax invoice in GST-A complete beginner’s guide for taxpayers

In GST, tax invoice, bill of supply, delivery challan, credit notes and debit notes are considered as a very important document. As per GST law, a registered person supplying taxable goods shall issue GST tax invoices before or at the time of removal of goods for supply to the recipient,where such supply involves movement of goods. In any other cases, tax invoice is to be issued at the time of delivery of goods or making available thereof to the recipient.

GST Tax invoice act as an evidence for the recipient stating the value of the goods or services or both and the tax portion on it.

For supply of goods, you must issue 3 copies of GST tax invoices, original for recipient, duplicate for transporter and triplicate for supplier. In case of services, you should issue original for recipient and duplicate for supplier.

Particulars in GST tax invoice

GST Tax invoice issued by supplier of goods and services should include following things;

  • Invoice number not exceeding 16 characters in one or multiple series, unique for a financial year.
  • Date of its issue
  • Customer name, shipping and billing address 
  • Both customer and taxpayer’s GST number
  • Place of supply along with the name of the state, in case of a supply in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
  • Address of delivery where the same is different from the place of supply;
  • HSN code
  • description of the goods or services
  • In case of goods quantity and unit or unique quantity code thereof;
  • Total value of supply of goods or services or both;
  • Taxable value and discounts, if any;
  • Rate of tax (CGST, SGST,IGST,UGST);
  • Amount of tax charged  in respect of taxable goods or services (CGST, SGST,IGST,UGST);
  • Whether the tax is payable on reverse charge basis; and
  • signature or digital signature of the supplier or his authorised representative.

Please note, there is no restriction on format and personalization of GST tax invoices. You can personalize your GST tax invoice with company logo and style in it. However, all mandatory details mentioned above should be present in it. Tax invoice can be issued manually or electronically.

If you are not registered for GST, then you can issue normal commercial invoices while supplying goods and services.

As per notification number 12/2017 CT dated 28.06.2017, if annual turnover in the preceding financial year is less than equal to 1.5 crores, number of digits of HSN code is Nil. This means, if your annual turnover in the preceding financial year is not more than Rs 1.5 crores, then you need not mention the HSN code of the goods in the invoice.

Where the annual turnover is greater than 1.5 crores but less than equal to 5 crores, number of digits of the HSN code is 2.

In case annual turnover is more than 5 crores, number of digits of HSN code is 4.

The serial number of the GST tax invoices issued during a tax period shall be furnished electronically through the common portal in form GSTR-1. If you have opted for quarterly GST return, then serial number of tax invoices issued during the same quarter shall be furnished electronically through the common portal in form GSTR-1.

Time limit to issue tax invoices in GST

Time limit for issuance of tax invoice in GST is different for goods and services. For goods, tax invoice should be issued any time before or at its delivery. 

For services, it should be issued within 30 days from the date of supply of services. In case of a bank or NBFC, the time limit is 45 days instead of 30 days. Time limit also depends on the contract that is signed between supplier and recipient.

When GST tax invoice is not required to be issued

A registered person is not required to issue GST tax invoices if;

  • value of the goods or services or both is less than Rs 200,
  • the recipient is unregistered; and
  • the recipient does not require such invoice.

Please note, it’s not mandatory, but if you want to issue a tax invoice for a value of less than Rs 200, then you can do so. You can also issue an invoice when the customer demands.

If a taxpayer doing a large number of small transactions for up to a value of Rs 200 per transaction to an unregistered recipient, then such person can issue a bulk invoice for all these multiple supplies on a daily basis at the end of the day.

In the case of exempted goods or services or both, the supplier being a registered person, shall issue bill of supply instead of a tax invoice containing all the details as prescribed. In such a case, the registered supplier may not issue a bill of supply if the value of the goods or services or both supplied is less than Rs 200 issued to an unregistered recipient.

A registered taxable person supplying taxable services shall before or after the provision of service but within a prescribed period, issue GST tax invoice showing description of the services, taxable value, tax charged and all other particulars as mentioned above.

Marking and Number of copies of tax invoices to be prepared

In case of supply of goods, the tax invoice should be prepared in triplicate. The original should be marked “ORIGINAL FOR RECIPIENT”. The duplicate should be marked as “DUPLICATE FOR TRANSPORTER”. The triplicate copy should be marked as “TRIPLICATE FOR SUPPLIER”.

In case of supply of taxable services, tax invoice should be issued in duplicate. The original copy should be marked as “ORIGINAL FOR RECIPIENT”. The duplicate copy should be marked as “DUPLICATE FOR SUPPLIER”.

In case of export of goods or services or supplies to SEZ unit or developer, the invoice shall carry an endorsement “SUPPLY MEANT FOR EXPORT/SUPPLY TO SEZ UNIT OR SEZ DEVELOPER FOR AUTHORISED OPERATIONS ON PAYMENT OF INTEGRATED TAX (IGST)” or “SUPPLY MEANT FOR EXPORT/SUPPLY TO SEZ UNIT OR SEZ DEVELOPER FOR AUTHORISED OPERATIONS UNDER BOND OR LETTER OF UNDERTAKING WITHOUT PAYMENT OF INTEGRATED TAX (IGST)”, as the case may be.

In addition to details specified above, in case of export of goods and/or services, you should specify the name of the country of destination.

Any GST paid in terms of suppression of facts, fraud, seizure, goods removed in contravention of GST Act and confiscation are not eligible for input credit. In such a case, the supplier if issues GST tax invoice at a later state, then it should be clearly marked as “INPUT TAX CREDIT NOT ADMISSIBLE”.

Supplier of goods or services can ask for advance payments in order to safeguard them from future non-payment or to take initial cost of production. Whatever may be the case, if advance payments are received from a recipient for supplying goods or services, then a receipt voucher as prescribed in GST has to be issued against such payment. In case of refund of advance amount, a refund voucher as prescribed must be issued.

In case a person is not required to carry a e-way bill, the person in charge of the conveyance is required to carry a copy of the GST tax invoice or bill of supply.

is a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He lives in Bhubaneswar, India. He writes about personal finance, income tax, goods and services tax (GST), company law and other topics on finance. Follow him on facebook or instagram or twitter.