Do I Need to Generate An E-Waybill for Exports?

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Published Date:  05-02-2024   Author:   ahana-das
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Exporting products from India requires navigating an array of regulations stipulated by customs authorities, the GST Council, shipping ministries, and more. One key document that has now been made mandatory for export shipments is the e-way bill.

So as an exporter, do you need to generate e-way bills? What exactly are the requirements when goods destined for international markets leave your factory premises en route to the gateway port?

Let’s examine what the e-way bill regulations entail for your export transactions and when they apply.

The e-way bill mechanism was introduced for tracing the movement of goods exceeding INR 50,000 in value across state borders. The intent is to ensure tax compliance and prevent black marketing. Consignments are tracked until receipt by the recipient.

This system covers exports as well and comes into play once goods leave the exporter’s warehouse. However, exemptions also exist in certain cases.

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In this article, we simplify the largely transaction-based applicability guidelines. Whether you run a MSME manufacturing set-up or a large export house, insights shared here will help determine when e-way bills need generation as you plan dispatches abroad.

Stay tuned as we discuss key topics like:

  • Scenarios where exports necessitate e-way bills
  • Situations where exceptions can be claimed
  • E-way bill generation process
  • Validity determination
  • documentation to carry
  • FAQs and more

Let’s get to decoding this key export compliance requirement.

Export E-waybill Requirements

The e-way bill system was introduced under GST to track the inter-state and intra-state movement of goods valued over Rs. 50,000. It is mandated that an e-way bill be generated prior to the commencement of the transport of the goods. 

This requirement applies to exports as well. When goods meant for export are transported from the exporter’s premises to the port, airport, or land customs station, an e-way bill needs to be generated. 

However, once the goods are inside the customs area, any further movement (like from ICD to gateway port) does not require an e-way bill.

So to summarize:

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  • E-way bill mandated for transportation from exporter’s premises to customs port or station
  • No e-way bill is required within the customs area.

This helps ensure the traceability of export goods right up to customs clearance.

Also Read: E-waybill for Return of Goods: Procedure and Documentation Requirements

Is an e-waybill necessary for exports?

Given that exports need to fulfill stringent documentation requirements like shipping bills, packing lists, etc., exporters may question the need for other compliance in the form of e-way bills.

However, the e-way bill still serves some important purposes:

  • Confirmation of dispatch: The very generation of an e-way bill acts as proof that the goods have indeed been shipped out for export.
  • Prevents revenue leakage: Without e-way bills, ensuring exports are genuine becomes difficult. E-way bills discourage the black marketing of exports within the country.
  • Input tax credit eligibility: Only if an e-way bill is generated will the exporter be eligible to claim input tax credit for GST paid on export goods.
  • Smooth clearances: Customs authorities can verify the e-way bill for exports to ensure compliance. This facilitates faster clearances and assessments.

So while documentation requirements feel excessive, the e-way bill is still an essential part of the export compliance process.

Generating an e-waybill for export compliance

The steps to generate an e-way bill for exports are outlined below:

  1. Access the E-way bill portal.

The authorized person can log into the e-way bill portal at https://www.ewaybillgst.gov.in. 

  1. Enter business details.

The exporter’s GSTIN, trade name, etc. need to be entered.

  1. Specify dispatch and delivery details.

  • Enter the address of the exporter’s premises under ‘Dispatch From’
  • For ‘Ship To’, enter code 999999 and select ‘Other Country’.
  1. Input transporter info.

Details like transporter ID and vehicle number need to be specified. 

  1. Select ‘Export’ supply type.

Choose the supply type as ‘Export’ from the drop-down menu. 

  1. Input document details.

The tax invoice meant for exports needs to be entered along with its date. 

  1. Submit details.

Upon submitting the details, a unique e-way bill will be generated with a specific validity. 

  1. Print the e-waybill.

The e-way bill needs to be carried along with the shipment of export goods. 

Therefore, by providing various verified inputs on the portal, a compliant e-way bill for exports can be generated.

Also Read: E-Waybill Generation Process: Step-By-Step Guide

Export Documentation: E-waybill Need 

There are a wide range of export shipping and customs documents that need to be prepared, like: 

  • Shipping Bill
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Origin, and so on. 

In addition to these export documents, the e-way bill forms an integral part. It is not merely a procedural formality but has legal validity and must accompany the goods.

The table below explains how other export documents are connected to the e-way bill requirement:

Document E-way bill relevance
Shipping Bill Details of the shipping bill, like the number and date, need to be furnished while generating the e-way bill.
Invoice The tax invoice details need to match those provided in the e-way bill.
Packing List It helps verify actual goods against those specified in the tax invoice used for making the e-way bill.
Bill of Lading Transporter details like the LR number entered in the e-way bill should match the bill of lading.

Therefore, the e-way bill integrates with other export paperwork and facilitates cross-verification. The absence of an e-way bill can lead to containers being denied loading on vessels bound for international shipping.

Hence, the e-way bill remains a non-negotiable component of export documentation.

Also Read: Documentation And Invoicing Requirements For Exports: Place Of Supply Considerations

Export Regulations and E-Waybill Mandate

Exports need to fulfill several regulatory requirements governed by customs, GST, foreign trade policies, and shipping norms. 

The e-way bill mandate is driven chiefly through GST rules enforced by the tax authorities. Some governing provisions related to e-way bills include: 

  • As per Rule 138 of the CGST Rules, e-way bill generation is mandated for the movement of goods exceeding Rs. 50,000.
  • 138(14) specifically states that even for exports, the e-way bill requirements would apply.
  • Sub-rule 60 of Rule 138 outlines situations where exemptions can be availed of, like for port-bound movement of goods. 

Therefore, technical factors like GSTIN registration status or the value of goods become key considerations in determining if an e-way bill is required. 

For example, while exports are considered zero-rated supplies under GST, an e-way bill exemption cannot be claimed merely on that basis when goods above Rs. 50,000 are supplied.

The law makes it clear that for export transactions, GST-registered persons have to generate this documentation.

Requirements for E-Waybill in Export Transactions

When navigating export e-way bill rules, several questions around compliance requirements tend to emerge. What details need to be captured? How do I determine the validity period? Can transporters assume any filing obligations themselves? Let’s examine some key aspects concerning mandatory documentation during export shipments. 

With a wide array of export goods classifications, parameters like value, pre-import conditions, and area-based exemptions impact when e-way bills need generation. For example, no e-way bills are required for goods like exports from SEZs or international transhipment cargo. 

  1. Distance Calculations

One key variable that influences documentation is ‘distance’. In the case of exports, the distance must be calculated from the exporter’s factory or warehouse location to the gateway port. Based on this route, the portal automatically calculates and indicates the validity date up to which the e-way bill will remain applicable during transit.

  1. Transporter Role

Often, goods get handled by freight forwarders who manage documentation with customs authorities on the exporter’s behalf. Here, exporters can share invoice and vehicle details with forwarders to enable them to produce compliant e-way bills by classifying the transaction as an ‘Export’ supply type. 

  1. Multi-Shiftments

In some cases, goods first move from a manufacturing unit to a local warehouse and are then transported to the ports via road or rail. This necessitates the generation of separate e-way bills for each leg: factory to warehouse, and then finally warehouse to gateway port. At the last stretch, a consolidated e-way bill can also be generated. 

  1. Air Freight Scenario

Another question often raised is whether e-way bill formalities apply for air freight cargo as well. The answer is affirmative: for all modes, including air shipments, an e-way bill becomes necessary if the invoice value crosses the Rs. 50,000 threshold. 

  1. Onus for Compliance

Responsibility for documentation varies based on contractual terms like CIF (cost, insurance, and freight), FOB (freight on board), ex-work, etc. Under CIF and C&F terms, where the exporter handles formalities until the destination port, the onus lies with the Indian supplier. Thus, the nuances of each transaction type have a bearing on e-way bill applicability.

Therefore, while claiming export incentives, following e-way bill protocols is intrinsic to remaining compliant, avoiding penalties, and building credibility with authorities. Integrating requirements early on aids in hassle-free clearances.

If you want to understand the E-Way bill system deeply, Then you really need to check out this blog by CaptainBiz.

Conclusion

To conclude, in addition to export shipping and customs documentation, generating an e-way bill has also become essential. It is mandated that e-way bills accompany export goods from the supplier’s premises until the customs frontier. 

While documentary compliance seems cumbersome, the e-way bill plugs revenue leakage, authenticates the movement of goods, and provides legitimacy for eligible input tax credits.

The government is also easing processes, bringing in options like the bulk generation facility and consolidated e-way bills. Exporters also need to maintain adept familiarity with GST rules concerning e-waybill applicability. 

Leveraging the functionalities available to generate accurate bills in line with regulations can make compliance easier. With some prudence around documentation, genuine exporters have little to be concerned about.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is an e-way bill required if the goods supplied involve merchant trade exports?

In merchant trade export transactions, since the Indian supplier purchases goods from overseas and directly ships them to foreign buyers, this movement does not happen from his business premises. So the e-waybill generation prerequisite does not exist. However, all other export documentation would need to be furnished.

  • Can I generate the e-way bill after goods reach the port?

No, under export transaction regulations, the e-way bill has to be generated before the movement of goods commences from the exporter’s warehouse or factory towards the gateway port. It has to accompany the goods in transit. The delayed generation of bills once goods reach port will violate compliance requirements.

  • Do SEZ units exporting goods require an e-way bill?

Supplies made to an SEZ unit from domestic areas require an e-way bill. However, SEZ-to-gateway port movement does not mandate the generation of export e-way bills as per current laws. Only shipping bills from SEZs would suffice.

  • As an exporter, how do I transport goods from the factory to the customs warehouse?

Where goods are stored in customs warehouses for export, separate e-way bills have to be created first from factory to warehouse. When cleared ex-bond for export shipment, another e-way bill covering warehouse to gateway port needs to be produced.

  • Can courier-shipping parcels meant for export also issue e-way bills if they are above Rs. 50,000?

In the case of international courier shipments being transported for export, issuing an e-way bill is voluntary, as per the latest clarification issued by the Tax Authority. It is not compulsory for such consignments.

  • How long do exporters need to retain the e-way bill?

It is mandatory for exporters to preserve the e-way bills generated for any export consignment for at least 5 years, as stipulated under the GST law. Tax officials can seek access to these during audits to establish the credibility of supplies.

  • Who generates the e-way bill if the exporter sells on a CIF or C&F basis?

In the case of CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) terms or C&F (cost and freight) terms, the exporter bears responsibilities until goods reach the destination port. Hence, the liability for e-way bill generation rests with the Indian exporter, who must issue the same.

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Ahana Das

Ahana is an accomplished SEO writer who has covered her graduation in English Honours. Having written in various subjects, she takes particular interest in writing content on personal finance, investing, budgeting and financial planning and her articles on finance and current affairs are seldom published in global newspapers.

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