Invoicing Under GST: A Comprehensive Guide for Small Businesses (2024)

Invoicing is the backbone of GST compliance in India. Yet, invoicing is also one of the most confusing aspects for small businesses new to the GST regime. Questions like what is a valid GST invoice, what fields are mandatory, invoice format, due dates, and more often trouble SMEs striving to be GST compliant.

Issuing accurate and timely invoices is crucial to avoid hefty penalties under GST law. Errors in invoicing also lead to input tax credit loss for recipients and cash flow problems. With over 30 crore invoices generated every month, it’s clear that Indian businesses rely heavily on robust GST invoicing.

To make matters worse, the government keeps updating the invoice format and introducing new compliance measures like e-invoicing. So it’s essential for SMEs to have a firm grasp on invoicing under GST at all times

This comprehensive guide covers everything small businesses need to know about invoicing under GST in 2024.

What is a GST Invoice?

A GST invoice is a bill or receipt issued by a business registered under GST to its clients. It contains details of the transaction like goods/services supplied, tax charged, quantity, rate, and total value.

GST invoices help track the supply of goods or services and ensure the proper input tax credit is availed by the receiver. All applicable taxes like CGST, SGST, and IGST are clearly mentioned in a GST invoice.

Who Needs to Issue GST Invoices?

Any business or person registered under GST needs to issue a tax invoice for every supply of goods or services to:

  • Registered customers – B2B supplies
  • Unregistered customers – B2C supplies above ₹200

For B2C supplies below ₹200, an invoice may be issued at the discretion of the supplier.

Your vendors will also provide you purchase invoices if they are GST registered.

Mandatory Fields in a GST Invoice

As per GST rules, these key details must be present in a valid GST tax invoice:

  • Invoice number and date
  • Customer name and shipping/billing address
  • HSN code and description for each item
  • Quantity of goods or services supplied
  • Taxable value and discount
  • Rate of tax for each HSN code (CGST, SGST, IGST)
  • Signature of the supplier

If the customer is unregistered and order value exceeds ₹50,000 – name, address and State code of the receiver must be present.

GST Invoice Due Dates

Timely issuance of invoices is crucial to ensure smooth flow of input tax credits. Here are the due dates for different types of GST invoices:

Invoice TypeDue Date
Regular Tax InvoiceBefore or at the time of supply
Revised InvoiceWithin 1 month from the date of supply
Debit/Credit NoteWithin 30 days of the date of the original invoice

Delayed invoices can lead to penalty and interest for the supplier as well as loss of eligible ITC for the receiver.

How to Personalize GST Invoices?

Adding your company logo and brand colors to invoices can make them look more professional and aligned to your brand identity. There are many software tools and mobile apps that provide customizable invoice templates that allow personalizing GST invoices as per your business needs and branding.

These tools help you design invoices with your logo, colors, fonts and customized layouts while still maintaining compliance with mandatory GST invoice fields and formats. Structured templates make it easy to quickly generate error-free invoices in the same personalized format every time.

Personalized invoices that reflect your brand identity make a much better impression on your customers as compared to plain generic invoices. It also adds a touch of professionalism and seriousness to your business. So, investing some time in customizing your invoice templates using the right tools can be very beneficial.

Types of GST Invoices

Apart from regular tax invoices, there are some special types of invoices under GST:

  • Bill of Supply – Used when supplying exempted goods/services. Does not contain any taxes.
  • Invoice-cum-Bill – Single consolidated invoice for exempt + taxable supply to unregistered customers.
  • Reverse Charge Invoice – Used by registered recipients who have to pay tax under reverse charge.
  • Debit/Credit Notes – Used to increase/decrease tax liability due to changes in supply details.

Special Cases of GST Invoicing

For certain businesses like banking companies, NBFCs, passenger transportation services etc. the government has provided relaxation on mandatory fields and invoice formats under GST.

E-invoicing was also introduced in 2020 for taxpayers with over ₹500 crore turnover. It involves generating invoices on a government portal to obtain a unique IRN before issuing to customers.

Number of Invoice Copies Required

  • For supply of goods, triplicate copies (original + two duplicates) must be issued under GST.
  • For services, only duplicate copies are required.

E-invoicing and sharing digital copies can make the process easier.

FAQs on GST Invoices

Q: Can I revise pre-GST invoices?

A: Yes, old invoices (issued before your GST registration) can be revised within 1 month of obtaining registration.

Q: Is an invoice serial number mandatory?

A: Yes, invoices must be issued in a sequential series. Any changes need GST officer’s approval.

Q: Can I digitally sign invoices?

A: Yes, digital signatures are allowed on GST invoices. It enhances authenticity.

Q: Can I issue consolidated invoices?

A: For B2C supply below ₹200 per invoice, you can issue a consolidated invoice at the end of the day.

Q: When do I need to issue a Credit/Debit Note?

A: They are to be used when there is a change in the taxable value post the original invoice, within 30 days.

Accurate and timely invoicing is crucial for your business’ GST compliance. Ensure all mandatory fields are covered in your GST invoices to avoid penalties.

For any assistance with GST registration, invoicing, filing returns or resolving queries, specialized tax experts at Filingwala.com are just a call away!

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