All invoices have certain universal elements such as the date of the invoice, the name and address of the supplier and recipient, a description of goods, a quantity, a total value of supply, a taxable value of supply, a rate of tax, an amount of tax, and a final value. Let’s look at what kind of information goes into the formatting of GST invoices.
Under GST, the GSTIN (or the unique tax identification number assigned to everyone, who is registered under GST) of the supplier is compulsorily required to be mentioned in the tax invoice, along with a consecutive serial number that should be kept unique for each financial year. It is therefore recommended that businesses adopt an invoice numbering format that takes into account various GST requirements.
Small businesses can use an invoice number format, which starts with the financial year, like 2017-XXXX, where the XXXX could be numerals. This would allow the company to easily keep track of the number of invoices issued by them in a financial year. There is no requirement that the numbering should start from 1. So, the company can use a starting number as per their requirement and consecutively number the invoices, from the starting number. Large businesses on the other hand, may need to adopt a serial numbering system that includes alphabets, etc., to increase the number of available invoice numbers, thereby, enabling them to handle complexities, like branch accounting.
GSTIN of the recipient
The GST has distinct rules, for issuing an invoice to a recipient registered under GST and a recipient not having GST registration. Normally,
businesses would have a GSTIN and would be able to claim input tax credit on the purchase. Recipients without a GSTIN would be end-users/individuals who are not eligible to claim input tax credit. Therefore, in the case of the recipient having a GSTIN, the name, address and GSTIN of the recipient should be mentioned. In case the recipient does not have a GSTIN and the value of supply is more than Rs 50,000, then, these details of the recipient will have to be mentioned on the invoice:
- Address of the recipient
- Address of delivery with state and state code
HSN Code or Accounting Code of Services
The rates of tax under GST are classified under the HSN Code and Accounting Code of Services. Harmonized System of Nomenclature (HSN) Codes have been issued for all goods and the rates of tax have been fixed, on the basis of these HSN Codes. Hence, in all the invoices, the goods sold by the business have to be classified as per the HSN Code.
In the case of services, the rate of tax under GST has been classified under the Accounting Code of Services. All invoices for services, therefore, must mention the business as per its classification under the Accounting Code of Services. Apart from the HSN or Accounting Code of Services, the description of goods, quantity, value of supply, the taxable supply and the rate of tax, must be mentioned in the invoice. The taxable value of supply of goods or services, is the value of supply taking into account discount or abatement, if any. The invoice must also mention the place of supply, along with the name of the state, in case of supply in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
Signature of authorized representative
The invoice has to contain the signature or digital signature of the supplier, or his authorized representative.
Maintain invoice serial number
The invoice serial number must be maintained. For example, if an invoice has been issued with the serial number INV001, the same numbering and format must be maintained consecutively. One can change the format, by providing a written intimation to the GST department officer, along with reasons for the same.
Details that have to be mentioned in the GSTR-1 for documents issued, include the nature of documents issued, the number of documents prepared, cancelled and net issued, along with the serial number of each for the following:
- Invoices for outward supply
- Invoices for inward supply from unregistered persons
- Revised invoice
- Debit note
- Credit note
- Receipt voucher
- Payment voucher
- Refund voucher
- Delivery challan for job work
- Delivery challan for supply on approval
- Delivery challan in case of liquid gas
- Delivery challan in cases other than the ones mentioned