Challenges and Best Practices for Bill-to/Ship-to Transactions in GST

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Bill-to or ship-to transactions are being considered to be heavily challenging during filing. It is understandable, as people do have to understand the tougher aspects of identifying the place of supply. However, knowing the challenges that people might have to face creates an environment for others to dodge the problems that people have to face. Hence, it is essential for GST payers to put in best practices that assure them of minimisation of errors. Hence, chasing accuracy paves the path to 100% compliance.

Challenges in managing place of supply for bill-to/ship-to transactions

People will face several obstacles in managing the place of supply for bill-to or ship-to transactions. 

Identification of the correct place of supply: It is a very complex method to identify the place of supply in bill-to or ship-to transactions, mostly seen during interstate supplies. Also, there are several rules and regulations under section 10 of the IGST act, which are applied in different situations. Situations that one has to identify. People often need to understand the rules and regulations, leading to errors during GSTR one filing. 

Numerous tax invoices: While filing the bill-to or ship-to scenarios, two different kinds of tax invoices must be generated. One of the tax invoices must be from the seller to the bill to party, and another must be provided to the ship to party. Hence, it is essential to scrutinise the tax invoices before filing the GSTR1 return. Otherwise, it might create a delay in the Input Tax Credit. 

Problems in generating bills: The problem is faced when it is time to determine who has to generate the e-way bill in the different situations of bill-to/ship-to. It can be confusing since it can be done either by the principal or the supplier. Incorrect filing of e-way bills might be subjected to fees and penalties, which will finally result in the stoppage of the movement of goods. 

Claiming the Input Tax Credit: Input Tax Credit can be claimed by both the recipient as well as the principal and enable bill-to or ship-to transaction. However, the process can be very critical. Hence, it is suggested to ensure a process of proper documentation that complies with the rules and regulations in order to be eligible to claim the Input Tax Credit.

Also Read: Bill-To Ship-To Transactions: Place Of Supply Considerations

Ensuring accuracy of the place of supply determination

Knowledge about the relevant rules and regulations: We have to have knowledge of section 10 of the IGST act, and the registered taxpayer will have to be resourceful about clauses (a) to (j), which regards the place of supply, thereby determining the scenarios in case of bill-to or ship-to. Also, we have to get suggestions from the circular and official notification provided to you by the government to clarify your stance about the place of supply determination. 

Proper documentation: Bill-to or ship-to requires submitting a number of invoices and contracts. However, you have to maintain a detailed picture of the documents in order to ensure that you have an accuracy of the place of supply. All the purchase orders and invoices must have accurate information regarding prices, quantities and addresses. The contract between the principal supplier and other recipients must be addressed. Any kind of document in terms of transportation or bills must have accurate data about the transport of goods. 

Point of supply identification: You will have to point out the place where there is a termination of the movement of goods for delivery to the recipient. We have to consider factors such as the transfer of ownership of the goods and instructions listed during delivery and the transfer of risk. 

Calculating the rate of tax.: You will have to be assured of the GST rate, which includes IGST, SGST, and CGST, which are applied during the transaction. In order to be more sure of the tax rate, we will also have to refer to the update. It mandates the GST rate from the government.

Also Read: How Does the Place Of Supply Affect Tax Determination?

Implementing best practices for managing bill-to/ship-to transactions 

In order to maintain the accuracy of the transactions, one has to implement several practices and processes. 

Maintaining a standardised process: You must determine the workflow of gathering data to better assess the situation. Develop a procedure that has clarity for handling the bill-to or ship-to transactions across the different departments. You can also implement some templates of invoices, contracts, purchases, orders, e-way bills and many more in order to have the right data in the right format so that it is easier for you to transfer the data whenever used. There are software automation tools like e-way bill management or GSTR-1 return reporting tools that will assist you as well. 

Enhancing communication: Create an open communication where you can collaborate with other parties during the transactions and harness the invoices whenever necessary. The delivery instructions, as well as the arrangement of ownership transfer, are important too. Therefore, kindly communicate all those data to avoid any kind of misunderstanding. Standardised communication channels must be placed into practice in order to fetch updates on shipment resolution issues as well as confirmation on orders. 

Improving the management of data: A company can implement a robust data management system where it can document each and every invoice, contract of suppliers, transportation documents, delivery instructions, and many more. In doing so, you will be leveraging technology to maintain accuracy of information. 

Employee training: The rules and regulations of GSTR-1 and the tax rates must be learnt thoroughly in order to ensure that proper filing of the GSTR-1 return has been done. Since the bill-to or ship-to transactions are crucial during this process, therefore, the company has to ensure that each and every employee are skilful enough to harness, the data, thereby improving accuracy that will help a company to file the returns efficiently. 

Creating a review system: Just putting in place the best practices will not help in succeeding towards maintaining the accuracy of data. Therefore you will have to create a screening process so that each and every date of invoice contract of suppliers e-way bill can be checked thoroughly so that during the filing of GSTR-1 return, the level of confidence of putting the data is high enough in order to avoid any kind of errors.

Mitigating risks of non-compliance with the place of supply rules

Non-compliance with the place of supply rule can result in different penalties and fees. It will create a huge obstacle for the registered taxpayer and companies in general. 

Understanding the intricacies cases of GST: One must ensure that all the employees who have been responsible towards generating the bill-to or ship-to transaction have knowledge about the rule behind the place of supply under the IGST act. Hence, regular training sessions must be conducted in order to enhance their skills, thereby assisting them in learning about the new changes. The company should also provide relevant resources and materials that will enable the employees to gather information. Therefore, one will have to learn those rules and regulations properly. 

Structured documentation process: Each and every document involved in the GSTR-1 return filing in terms of bill-to or ship-to transactions needs to be properly documented. Such that any kind of documents in terms of invoices or e-way bills can be furnished easily whenever it is necessary. 

Internal audits: Internal audit helps in finding out the errors while documenting the invoices or any kind of contracts. During the filing of the GSTR-1 return, those invoices are vital. Therefore, it is necessary for companies to conduct internal audits in terms of GSTR-1. This will minimise the chances of error during filing the return altogether. 

Professional advice: Non-compliance with the place of supply rules will involve the non-understanding of the rules and regulation that is required while determining the place of supply. Therefore, hiring a GST professional will reduce the chances of error such that it enables the company or the registered taxpayer to file the proper documents at the proper time as well as determine the place of supply without any kind of errors. 

Updating the regulatory changes: The GST rules and regulations change rapidly. Therefore, it is essential for the registered taxpayer to stay updated on the rules and regulations, thereby minimising the error of any kind of filing which might happen due to unknowingly of the laws around GST that might help the company to satisfy their GSTR-1 returns.

Also Read: Recent Updates And Changes In Place Of Supply Rules For Import Transactions

Achieving compliance and maximising tax benefits in bill-to/ship-to transactions

You must achieve compliance and maximise the tax benefits of bill-to or ship-to transactions. One has to understand the strategic applications of the rules of taxation as well as the process of documenting that might enable them to pay the tax with accuracy. 

Rules behind the place of supply must be understood: Section 10 of the IGST act and especially the clauses (a) to (j) must be learnt properly so that while filing the GSTR-1 return, one can easily identify the place of supply of the bill-to or ship-to transactions. Notifications and mandates launched by the government should be kept up to date so that in case of any sudden changes in tax rate or any other compliance objectives, the rate of tax can easily be confirmed with that situation, and the tax paid is correct. 

Detailed documentation must be maintained so that any kind of invoices that have been sent to the company or any kind of other contracts with the supplies must be furnished on proper time and meticulously. There are several documents to be gone through. Therefore, it is important for the rest to expect to have a grasp of every document. 

GSTR-1 return reporting optimization: The GSTR-1 return must be filed meticulously to ensure that the place of supply determined for the bill-to or ship-to transaction has been entered in the transaction properly, and that there is no mistake. Otherwise, there will be problems with fees and penalties, which the tax must be subjected to. Hence the registered taxpayer can be inclined towards automation tools which will ease the process of accurately filing the GSTR-1 return.


GSTR-1 return filing is essential for registered taxpayers. Therefore, it is suggested that people must ensure that compliance of the highest level could be achieved which will thus assist them in reducing the chances of paying any kind of penalty or fees thereby, ducking any kind of hindrance in conducting business. 


1. What is a bill-to or ship-to transaction?

This kind of transaction takes place when the buyer of the good is different from the recipient. In such a situation, one invoice in relation to the buyer who purchases the goods and the invoices that the recipient should receive.

2. Why is it complicated for a bill-to or ship-to transaction?

It is a complex method; therefore, it might lead to errors which might cause problems while retrieving Input Tax Credit.

3. How to improve the accuracy of such transactions?

Create a proper documentation system, be very mindful of the rules and regulations, and the point of supplies to be identified accurately.

4. What are some of the best practices for managing bill-to or ship-to transactions?

To improve communication and data management, employee training must be proper as well and a review system must be created

5. Is there any risk of non-compliance with the place of supply rules?

You might be subjected to fees and penalties as well and the Input Tax Credit might get delayed.

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Arghyadeep Bose Equity Research Associate
I am a passionate writer with a deep understanding of the financial world. I believe in making complex financial concepts accessible and engaging for everyone. With my corporate experience and love for storytelling, I craft compelling narratives that educate and inspire. I am always looking for ways to bridge the gap between finance and creativity, and I am excited to share my insights with the world.

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