Introduction of IRP on GST e-invoicing
E-Invoicing or ‘electronic invoicing’ is all set to be compulsory from 1 October 2020 for B2B and B2G transactions for large and medium-sized taxpayers, but voluntary implementation commenced on 1 January 2020. National Information Centre, along with other modes, provided e-Invoice registration facilities in the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) via API mode. These APIs allow taxpayers & GSPs to combine their business systems & procedures with the mechanism of e-Invoice for easy and security flaw-free registration and invoice generation on their systems.
The Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) also makes it easier for developers or taxpayers to understand the e-Invoicing system integration with their business processes and allows login to access the APIs. IRP supports API documentation by supplying all the information such as URLs, / calling methods, JSON payload format, sample request payloads & sample responses, verifications being introduced, and similar details that the application developer requires to implement the systems.
IRN platform also supports developers in simulating end-to – end-use of APIs. This includes understanding the generation of request payloads, the encryption, and decryption of requests & replies, and the accuracy of the encryption evaluation.
What is Invoice Registration Portal (IRP)?
The Invoice Registration Portals are organizations that serve as registrars and run of invoice/credit note/debit note via a website for assigning Invoice Reference Numbers (IRNs). For either create or verify the Invoice Reference Number (IRN) of the submitted invoice, the invoice information can be submitted to the Invoice Registration Portal using a specified mode. Only such invoices with an approved IRN shall be considered valid according to law.
There is actually just one IRP-NIC. Multiple registrars (IRPs) will also be added in the future.
Functions of IRP?
The functions of the IRP are as follows:
- Hash / IRN generation for invoices:
Where the invoices have been uploaded without hash, the Invoice Registration Portal generates the hash / IRN based on the IRN parameters for that invoice in the prescribed format.
- Hash / IRN validation for invoices:
Where the taxpayer produces hash on their systems, the hash is added to the invoice, and the IRN checks whether the specified requirements are met.
- Test on de-duplication:
IRP performs a hash / IRN test of an invoice for any duplicate or repeat by comparing the same with data stored in the Central Depository.
- Digital Validated Invoice Signage:
The Invoice Registration Portal digitally signs all of the approved invoices using the IRP’s private key. This signed digitally, is then made available to the manufacturer.
- Generation of QR codes with respect to invoices validated:
In addition to the digital signature, the Invoice Registration Portal also produces a QR code in respect of each invoice. The resulting QR code can be used for checking/printing the invoice, and for easy view/access on handheld devices. This feature is especially useful for tax officers and other stakeholders when they have no / limited Internet access to verify such information. The following parameters are available via QR code:
- Supplier GSTIN
- Recipient GSTIN
- Invoice number as the supplier has indicated
- Date of Invoice Generation
- Price invoiced (taxable and gross tax)
- Number of objects in a line
- HSN Principal element code (the line item with the highest taxable value)
- Special Reference Invoice Number (hash)
6. E-mail the invoice to:
The approved invoice is sent to the buyer’s and seller’s email address as indicated in the invoice.
- Offline Application:
The IRP will provide an offline app for authenticating offline invoice QR code and viewing its basic details. The complete invoice details would only be available after logging into the portal.
- Integration of the program with GST and E-Way Bill:
The information of the submitted invoice will be exchanged automatically with the GST system allowing for automatic updating of ANX-1 (of the seller) and ANX-2 (of the buyer). Furthermore, the information will also be exchanged automatically with the E-Way Bill framework wherever possible to make the E-Way Bill development process even simpler. Only then would the E-Way Bill system require vehicle numbers to complete the creation process of an E-Way Bill.
Generation of Direct Invoices at IRP
E-invoicing ensures that a prescribed format is followed for invoice details to be recorded electronically. GST taxpayers must follow a prescribed format that allows the system to read out the output generated by another system (readability of inter-systems). Therefore, if the invoice details are recorded in compliance with the prescribed format, this would result in a major improvement in the process of filing returns by software.
Therefore, it can be presumed that the purpose of the Invoice Registration Portal is not to create online e-invoices, but only to record day-to-day information of the invoices generated by the entity. For downloading invoice details into the IRP, The invoice will be available as a JSON file for uploading information of the invoices into the IRP.
The GSTN has provided eight unrestricted accounting/bookkeeping software to help generate an invoice as a JSON file. Accounting/bookkeeping apps other than the following eight would possibly have the same features. In addition, an Offline Tool will also be available for entering paper invoice details and generating the JSON file of the same.
Modes of Login to IRP
Multiple modes for recording an invoice on the IRP have been proposed:
On the Web:
The invoice information can be entered into the IRP database for registration/validation purposes of the same.
Based on API:
This mode would enable large taxpayers and accounting software providers to use their own software to communicate with the Invoice Registration Portal. The IRN, similar to the E-Way Bill system, can be produced validated for invoices either one at a time or in bulk.
This mode is designed to allow the invoice information to be entered in a specific format and submitted for processing to the Invoice Registration Portal via SMS.
Mobile App based on:
IRP offers a mobile app that executes some of the IRP functions as mentioned above.
Resource-Based on Offline:
The invoice details may be entered on the Invoice Registration Portal website for registration/validation purposes of the same.
Basing on the GSP:
Taxpayers may also use GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) services such as Clear Tax to help them carry out their compliances related to e-invoices.