GST E-invoicing

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What is GST E-Invoice?

GST E-Invoice has been introduced to usher in the digital era in India from the traditional paper-based system. E-Invoicing can help businesses achieve substantial cost-saving efficiencies and speed up business operations. E-Invoicing will help reduce the compliance burden for most companies by eliminating the need for duplication or transfer of identical information from one system to another. Along with e-invoicing, the invoice information provided to GSTN to generate Invoice Reference Number (IRN) will be used to auto-populate various other methods such as GST Return, Input Tax Credit Reconciliation, E-way Bill, and GST Refund. Hence, GST E-Invoicing will improve ease of doing business and reduce compliance.

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E-Invoicing Implementation Date

The proposal to implement E-Invoicing was placed before the 35th meeting of the GST Council in June 2019. The GST Council voluntarily launched an in-principle pilot project for the online generation of B2B E-Invoicing from January 2020. 

Through Notification No. 13/2020-Central Tax dated March 21, 2020, the Government has exempted particular groups of people from the adoption of E-Invoicing. The following entities are excluded from the implementation above timetable, according to the notification:

  • Financial institutions, including an insurer, banking company or NBFC
  • freight transport agency
  • passenger transport service
  • Entrance to the exhibition of cinematograph films on multiple screens

Key Concepts of E-Invoicing

The following are some crucial aspects to remember when it comes to GST E-Invoicing:

  • Creating an E-Invoice: A GST E-Invoice is not an invoice created on a government system, which might constitute a trade bottleneck. GST E-Invoicing is when a taxpayer generates a unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN) for each invoice and includes it on the invoices they issue.

  • Invoice Reference Number (IRN): Challan Reference Number is a unique number for each challenge provided by the GST Challan Registration Portal to upload an e-invoice successfully. The invoice reference number should be mentioned on the invoice by the supplier to comply with the e-invoicing regulations.

  • E-Invoice Format: There is no specific format for E-Invoices provided by GSTN. There will be no change in the invoice prepared and printed today. Under e-invoicing, the detailed data in the GST invoice will be transmitted electronically to the GSTN Invoice Registration Portal (IRP). An invoice reference number will be generated along with a QR code. The QR code has to be printed on the invoice generated by the supplier. Hence, suppliers can continue to create invoices from their billing software, which suits their requirements and complies with GST invoicing norms. The only change would be generating the Invoice Reference Number from the GST Invoice Registration Portal and printing the e-Invoice QR Code on the invoice.

  • Invoice Registration Portal (IRP): Challan Registration Portal (IRP) or e-Challan Registrar is the platform for issuing Challan Reference Number. NIC was proposed as IRP earlier. As the number of taxpayers under e-invoicing grows, more IRPs will increase the speed of availability and create a distributed architecture.

GST E-Invoice Format

The GST E-Invoice will be equivalent to the existing GST Invoice format. GSTN has clarified that the seller is not required to write IRN (64 characters). However, the IRN will be incorporated in the QR code provided by the Challan Registration Portal. The QR code will include the details of the challan and IRN. Thus, it is preferable to have a digitally signed QR code, proof of invoice registration, and print on the invoice issued by the business as a response.

Deadline for generating E-Invoice

The Government will notify the time limit for generating E-Invoices. However, it will not be valid without causing invoice and QR code with the Challan Registration Portal. Therefore, before the movement of goods or delivery of goods or services or filing of GST return, e-invoicing must be completed.

Cancellation of E-Invoice

An E-Invoice, once generated, can be canceled entirely within 24 hours on the invoice registration portal. It will not be possible to cancel the E-Invoice on the Invoice Registration Portal after 24 hours. The same has to be done on the GST portal before filing the GST return.

Once the GST E-Invoice is canceled, the same invoice number cannot generate the invoice again.

Benefits of GST E-Invoice

there are no invoicing standards, GST E-Invoicing will disrupt the corporate process. Invoicing would be standardized across the GST eco-system with the deployment of E-Invoicing. As a result, an E-Invoice created by one program may be read by another without the requirement for data transmission or re-entry. Finally, E-Invoicing eliminates the need to compile invoices at the end of the month and streamlines the flow of input tax credits.

Generating GST E-Invoice

The process of generating GST E-Invoice can be divided into four steps:

  • Generation of Invoice: The seller will generate the invoice in his accounting or billing or ERP system in the first step. The invoice generated should consider E-Invoice parameters published by GSTN and include specific mandatory parameters. The invoice generated on the software should be transmitted to the invoice registration portal in JSON format.

  • Uploading JSON to Invoice Registration Portal: Vendor Accounting Software through API or GSP/ASP or offline tools will be required to transmit the invoice in JSON format on the Invoice Registration Portal. JSON can be uploaded directly from accounting software via API.

  • Processing of Data by IRP: The IRP will affirm that the JSON invoice received is accurate. No duplicate invoices from the same supplier have been received. WHEN VERIFIED, the IRP will digitally sign the JSON invoice, assigning an IRN (Invoice Reference Number) and a QR code. This JSON, digitally signed with IRN, is returned to the seller and will serve as a fair GST E-Invoice for both the seller and the customer.

  • Transmission to GSTN & eWay Bill Platform: The IRPs will also share the signed E-Invoice data with the GSTN system and eWay Bill portal to reduce the compliance burden for the taxpayers.

Invoice Reference Number (IRN)

Every invoice uploaded and validated by a vendor on the Invoice Registration Portal will receive an Invoice Reference Number (IRN). IRN is a 64 character long, unique number in the GST system – irrespective of the taxpayer, financial year, and document type. 

The Invoice Registration Portal will issue IRN for uploading JSON challan files. IRN will be generated based on the combination of supplier GSTIN, document type, document number, and year of invoice. The document types are INV for Invoice, CRN for Credit Note, DBN for Debit Note.

E-Invoice QR Code

The IRP will digitally sign the JSON invoice submitted by the seller and generate a QR code containing the unique IRN and other invoice data easily verified online. The buyer or any tax offerer can review this QR code using the app to check the invoice’s validity. The E-Invoice QR code will include the following information:

  • Unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN)
  • Recipient’s GSTIN
  • GSTIN of the supplier
  • invoice value
  • HSN Code of Primary Item (Item with Highest Value)
  • number of line items
  • Date of invoice
  • The supplier gives the invoice number

Modification in E-Invoice

On the GST site, you can make changes to your E-Invoice. Only the GST Portal can change the E-Invoice created on the Invoice Registration Portal. The amended invoice will be denied if the IRP is re-sent as a JSON file since the IRN will be duplicated.

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