Bringing relief to businesses whose sales are largely confined within the State’s borders, the Maharashtra government has put off the introduction of the e-way bill regime for intra-State movement of goods from February 1 to May 1.
Under the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, all consignments worth over ₹50,000 moving over 10 km from their origin will require prior registration and generation of an e-way bill through the GST Network. This system, aimed at helping authorities keep track of all taxable goods and detect potential tax evasion, will kick in for inter-State sales across the country from February 1.
All States are required to implement the same mechanism for capturing intra-State trade by June 1, 2018. Since the roll-out of GST last July, a few states such as Karnataka had imposed their own requirements for e-way bills to try out the system, which is said to have been largely glitch-free.
“We want to give more time to traders, businesses and people to be ready for this kind of intra-State system. We have already started training for the same to clarify nuances of these changes since the movements in these goods will be smaller in nature,” Rajiv Jalota, GST Commissioner, Maharashtra told The Hindu.
“One issue arising is if the total limit of goods on a vehicle is ₹50,000 but the goods belong to three different people, how will the e-way bill be generated in that case. But these are teething issues and we have sorted out 95% of such queries,” Mr Jalota said.
“It is a temporary relief for small traders and small transporters. Despite the deferment, the sword is still hanging. The government must address the problem at the earliest possible,” said Abhishek Gupta, treasurer, Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA).
“While other States always had both an inter-State and intra-State e-way billing system, Maharashtra never even had basic fundamentals in place for such a mechanism (because it used to impose VAT),” Mr Jalota pointed out and stressed that the inter-State e-way bill mechanism will be implemented from February 1, 2018 as per the GST Council’s decision.
Maharashtra is not alone. West Bengal has also decided to defer the e-way bills for intrastate goods movement till June 1 so that stakeholders and transporters get time to adjust to the new system.
“While various States had earlier proposed to implement the national e-way bill system for intra-State movements as well from 1 February itself, some States like Maharashtra and West Bengal have now deferred it… This would definitely address system limitations on the number of waybills which could be generated currently, unpreparedness of small players who’ve always only dealt in intra-State supplies and may not be used to generate e-way bills,” said Abhishek Jain, tax partner at EY.