During the current GST era, a registered person can issue several documents, including:

  1. Tax invoice
  2. Bill of Supply
  3. Receipt Voucher
  4. Refund Voucher
  5. Payment Voucher
  6. Revised Tax Invoice
  7. Debit Note
  8. Credit Note
  9. Transport Documents

Apart from the Transport Documents, there several types of documents which have defined/ specific requirements of data under the GST. Additionally, a registered person can issue a variety of different documents with tax information to meet his business needs. These may or may not need to be retained or shared with the counter-parties but can be unique to his business.

One big question that comes up is the difference between a tax invoice and bill of supply.

The Central GST Act requires a tax invoice to be issued by a registered person for removal of taxable goods, delivery of taxable goods or provision of taxable services. Now a registered person issues a bill of supply when they are supplying exempted supplies or they are paying the tax as a composition dealer. In both cases, the bill of supply or tax invoice, cannot be issued when the value of the supply is less than 200 rupees.

Document Rule Situation
Tax Invoice 46 Supply of Taxable goods and services or both
Bill of Supply 49 Supply of exempt goods and services or both; supply under composition scheme

This means as a registered business who is supplying taxable and exempt items you will create different documents for each one. Taxable items are captured on a tax invoice and exempt items are captured on the bill of supply.

The information on a tax invoice will be captured in four places of the GSTR1: Table 4, Table 5, Table 6 and Table 7; information for the bill of supply will be captured on Table 8. However, only the tax invoices for invoices for outward supply and invoices for inward supply from unregistered person are noted on Table 13.

The items which are common between the two are:

  1. Name and Address of the Supplier
  2. Invoice number based on a unique schema
  3. Date of Issue
  4. Description of Goods or services
  5. Rate of Tax
  6. Amount of Tax payable in respect of taxable goods or services
  7. Place of supply along with name of State and its code, in case of a supply during inter-State trade or commerce
  8. Signature or digital signature of the supplier or authorized representative

For exempt supplies the rate and amount of tax will be zero. Now a B2C supply would only qualify as a Bill of Supply if it is being made for exempt supplies not because it is a B2C supply.

Then there are three classes of documents called vouchers: receipt, refund and payment vouchers. A receipt voucher is issued when a registered person receives an advance for a supply. This document has similarities to a tax invoice but it does not require a HSN code.

Additionally, if the tax rate cannot be determined it is fixed at 18% (not the highest possible rate of 28%) and if the nature of supply is not determined then it is treated as an inter-State supply so subject to IGST. When a supply does not occur after the receipt voucher is issued then a refund voucher is issued which has a reference to the number and date of the receipt voucher. A payment voucher will be issued at the time a recipient pays a supplier for an item subject to the reverse charge or when the recipient pays an unregistered dealer. All the vouchers issued have to be reported in Table 13 of GSTR-1.

Document Rule Situation
Receipt Voucher 50 Receipt of an advance for a supply
Refund Voucher 51 Refund of an advance when no supply occurred
Payment Voucher 52 Payment to unregistered dealer or supply under reverse charge mechanism

A revised tax invoice, credit note and debit note share common details and are common business practices and all of them must have the phrase “Revised Invoice” indicated on the document.
At a minimum, a business will have to issue Tax Invoices, Receipt Vouchers, Refund Vouchers, Payment Vouchers, Credit Notes and Debit Notes.

Therefore, you want to keep the rules in mind as you are issuing tax documents to make sure that you are creating the correct ones for the correct situations.

Invoicing solutions can help ensure that you can create and provide the correct document with the right details when necessary. There are many common elements which come from master data but there are several variable elements which should be determined. Sometimes there is not enough data because of a missing piece of information like an HSN code to make a complete determination and the rules provide gap filler provisions.

by Anil Kuruvilla.

He is an international Taxation Expert and Chief Content Officer at Adaequare (Parent company of Udyog Software).


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