Export Tax Invoice vs GST Invoice: Aligning with Global Trade Regulations

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If you’re engaged in international trade, understanding the difference between an export tax invoice and a GST invoice is crucial to ensure compliance with global trade regulations. This blog will provide a blanket overview of how to align your invoicing practices with the requirements of the GST system while conducting exports. From explaining the key elements of a GST invoice to highlighting the specific compliance measures needed for international trade, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of export invoice compliance with GST. With this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to streamline your invoicing process and navigate the complexities of GST invoicing for international trade. Stay tuned for expert tips and practical advice to optimise invoicing practices and ensure seamless compliance.

Export Tax invoice vs GST invoice 

The distinction between export and GST invoices lies in their scope, application, and regulatory context. An export invoice primarily caters to international trade, detailing the terms, descriptions, and financial aspects of cross-border transactions between exporters and importers. It often involves multiple currencies and adheres to varied tax regimes based on destination countries. On the other hand, a GST invoice is designed for domestic trade within a specific country, providing a comprehensive breakdown of goods or services. An export invoice is scrutinised by customs authorities globally, ensuring compliance with international trade regulations; a GST invoice is a tool for monitoring domestic transactions and adhering to uniform tax regulations within a country. The nuanced differences reflect the diverse landscapes of global and domestic commerce, each demanding precise adherence to regulatory frameworks.

Export tax invoice alignment with GST

A GST export invoice emerges as a requisite document mandated for meticulously recording the export of goods or services. In the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system of India, this invoice holds paramount significance, serving as a comprehensive record and a means to claim input tax credits. As goods embark on a journey beyond the national borders, marking them as exports, companies engaged in import and export activities become obligated by law to accompany each consignment with a GST export invoice. This essential document must encapsulate intricate details about the shipment, including comprehensive information about the goods and the buyer’s contact details. Including these particulars facilitates seamless cross-border transactions, providing a robust reference for customs agents involved in the international trade process.

GST invoice requirements for exports

  • Credentials of the Supplier:

    • Name, contact details and address, including email addresses and phone numbers, ensuring clear identification.
  • Credentials of the Buyer:

    • The recipient’s name, address, and contact details facilitate communication between parties.
  • GSTIN of Supplier:

    • The unique Goods and Services Tax Identification Number is assigned to registered taxable persons under the GST Act.
  • Details of Goods or Services:

    • Comprehensive information about the goods sold or services supplied, encompassing rates, quantities (for goods), and corresponding amounts.
  • Invoice Date:

    • The date the invoice is generated provides a reference point for the transaction.
  • Invoice Number:

    • A unique alphanumeric combination sequentially arranged to record and track various transactions.
  • Conversion Rate:

    • Reflecting the currency conversion for export transactions is essential when dealing with currencies other than the Indian rupee.
  • Amount:

    • The invoice’s total value includes insurance, freight, and taxes.
  • Type of Export:

    • Indication of whether the export is conducted under a bond or a letter of undertaking to a Special Economic Zone or after the payment of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
  • Details of Shipping Bill:

    • Information regarding the shipping bill, a detailed document filed with Customs to declare the type and value of goods intended for export.
  • Signature:

    • The supplier’s physical or digital signature is an authentication check for the authorised transaction.
  • Notes:

    • Any additional remarks or instructions by the supplier to the importer.

Global trade regulations for export tax invoices

Countries may have different rules and regulations regarding the format, content, and validity of export tax invoices. Aligning export tax invoices with global codes is essential to avoid any delays, penalties, or disputes arising from discrepancies or errors in the invoices.

Container Number:

A unique identifier for the shipping container, aiding in tracking and logistics.

Country of Origin and Destination:

Specifies the originating and concluding countries crucial for customs and regulatory purposes.

Port of Origin and Destination:

Information about the ports involved in the shipping process facilitates smooth navigation through shipping channels.

Shipping Mark:

A distinctive mark provides cargo for easy identification, streamlining the handling process.

Container Seal Number:

A seal number provides security to the container, ensuring the integrity of the shipped goods.

Description of Goods – HSN, Rate, Quantity, Units:

Comprehensive information about the goods, including Harmonized System Nomenclature (HSN) codes, rates, quantities, and units, aiding in customs clearance and logistics planning.

Also Read: How Can I Ensure That I Issue Tax Invoices On Time?


In this article, we have explored the difference between an export tax invoice and a GST invoice and how to ensure compliance with GST invoicing for international trade. We have discussed the vital elements of a GST invoice, such as the invoice number, date, GSTIN, HSN code, place of supply, and signature. We have also explained the specific compliance measures required for export invoices, such as declaring the invoice as an export invoice, mentioning the payment terms, and providing the details of the shipping bill or bill of export. Following these guidelines, you can align your invoicing practices with the GST system and avoid penalties or disputes. We hope this article has helped you understand the intricacies of GST invoicing for international trade and provided helpful tips and advice to optimise your invoicing process.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  1. What is the purpose of an export tax invoice in international trade?

An export tax invoice is a crucial document in international trade, providing a comprehensive record of transactions and facilitating compliance with global trade regulations.

  1.  How does a GST invoice differ from an export tax invoice?

While both invoices document transactions, a GST invoice is designed for domestic trade, while an export tax invoice caters explicitly to international trade, involving different compliance measures.

  1.  What information should be included in a GST invoice for international trade?

A GST invoice for international trade should encompass critical details such as the container number, country of origin and destination, port information, shipping mark, container seal number, and a comprehensive description of goods, including HSN codes, rates, quantities, and units.

  1. Why is compliance with GST regulations essential for international exporters?

Compliance with GST regulations is essential for international exporters to ensure smooth cross-border transactions, avoid penalties, and optimise the invoicing process in alignment with global trade standards.

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Kiran Jagadale
I am a seasoned marketer specializing in Tax, Finance, and Digital. I bring a wealth of hands-on experience to demystify complex subjects, providing insightful guidance for entrepreneurs, finance enthusiasts, and digital marketers alike.

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