When you operate a business, invoice printing is a crucial aspect. B2C businesses must print invoices for every transaction a customer makes. They need a fast printing printer, and they can get away with low-quality printing. Essentially, B2C bills only need to be legible and neat at the time of printing. Your customer will toss away the printed receipts after they get home.
However, in B2B invoicing, the tax invoice plays a critical role in business operations. The GST tax invoice is proof of the supply of goods or services and a demand for payment. Invoice sending is the first business transaction you can have with your customer. Your reputation and brand image depend on the format and quality of your invoice. Your printed invoice will be handled by many authorities when you use transportation trucks for goods supply.
In this blog, we will explore the importance of using a high-quality printer for tax invoices.
Printing Invoices – Is it Necessary?
The purpose of digitisation is to eliminate the need for manual paperwork. When you can generate electronic invoices, what is the necessity for printing them? Businesses can save money in the long run if they go entirely digital. Printing, filing, storing, and safekeeping printed invoices is a huge task. Apart from the cost of printing, businesses must worry about the safety of printed invoices that contain sensitive business and financial information.
When the government of India updated its GST rules and mandated the generation of e-invoices, every taxpayer had the same question. Do I have to print e-invoices? The e-invoice is the only valid tax invoice for businesses that meet the mandatory requirements. E-invoice simply means electronic invoice. Printing an e-invoice may sound counterproductive.
So, if you are wondering whether it is necessary to print an e-invoice, the answer is no. According to Rule 138A(2) of CGST rules, whenever e-invoicing is generated, the QR code with embedded IRN can be produced electronically. When officers and authorities request e-invoice for verification, there is no need to submit a printed copy. The person questioned can produce an electronic e-invoice to verify and validate the goods supplied.
However, in reality, carrying out e-invoice in the digital format alone is not practical. When you transport goods and don’t supply a printout of the invoice, you expect the transporter to carry the digital copy of the invoice in their digital device. When the goods are stopped for inspection, the transporter must use their device to retrieve the correct invoice.
If there are issues with the device or internet connection, the transporter may be unable to produce the digital invoice. Also, they may not have a standard system to associate the correct invoice with your goods. This becomes an issue if you supply multiple items with multiple invoices to multiple customers using the same transporter on a given day.
Despite the conveniences of a digital invoice, printing an e-invoice can make transportation smoother. You can simply affix the printed e-invoice and e-way bill to the packages. When authorities require verification, they can scan the QR code of the printed e-invoice to verify and validate the goods.
When you have an e-invoice, the advantage is that you don’t have to print out multiple copies. The system speeds up the process of doing B2B business. You can generate and issue e-invoices digitally and send them to your customer. Even if you are not mandated to generate an e-invoice, you can issue a digital tax invoice to your customer directly from the billing software.
Printing tax invoices becomes necessary only when you must transport the goods physically. The authorities on the road can stop any transportation truck at any time and inspect the goods. Preparing printed invoices will save the time and hassle of verifying supplied goods. It will also enable your customers to verify the shipment quickly. Printing invoices saves time and effort for supplying physical goods.
Exporters must print invoices clearly and legibly because the goods will be transported along with other consignments. At every port, the goods will be verified against invoices and e-way bills. So, finding the right way to print an invoice clearly with the QR code is necessary to ensure timely delivery to the customer.
Importance of Using a High-Quality Printer for Tax Invoices
Understanding the importance of printing e-invoices is vital for businesses. As per the government mandate, businesses with an aggregate annual turnover (AATO) of Rs. 5 crore must generate and issue e-invoices. This is crucial when you supply taxable goods or services.
The critical part of an e-invoice is the QR code. The e-invoice is different from other types of invoices and bills mainly because of the QR code. This code is unique for each e-invoice. When you upload invoice details to the IRP system, the system will verify the invoice and invoice number. An invoice registration number (IRN) and QR code containing that IRN will be generated. Both of these are unique to an invoice.
Only if the B2B GST invoice contains a QR code will it be considered valid. Before sharing with customers and other stakeholders, you must generate a valid tax invoice with a QR code.
When there is a QR code, it must be available for a QR code reader to read effortlessly. Authorities will use the QR code verifier app to verify the QR code as and when necessary. If you print an invoice, you must use a high-quality printer to print the QR code correctly. Otherwise, this QR code may not be read correctly. It can render your e-invoice invalid, even if you have taken all the proper steps so far.
So, using a high-quality printer is essential for printing tax invoices. Depending on your budget and type of printing, you can choose anything from a dot matrix printer to a laser printer for printing your invoices.
Benefits of Using a High-Quality Printer for Tax Invoices
The QR code on an e-invoice contains the following details:
- GSTIN of supplier
- GSTIN of recipient
- Invoice number
- Data of invoice generation
- Invoice value
- Number of line items
- HSN code of the main item
To verify the goods, authorities only need to scan the QR code. The QR code will present all the essential details about the goods. This saves time for transporters and authorities to verify the consignment.
When a QR code has a lot of significance in delivering goods safely to the customer promptly, it must be printed correctly. This is why you must use a high-quality printer to print an invoice. Some of the benefits of using a high-quality printer to print invoices accurately are:
- Ensuring compliance with legible printing of all necessary details
- Displaying QR codes, images, and graphics correctly
- For accurate reporting of invoices
- Showing professionalism with high-quality invoices
- Easy dispute resolution with clearly printed invoice details
- Creating a neat audit trail
- Cost savings with reduced breakdown of printers
Consequences of Using a Low-Quality Printer for Tax Invoices
Businesses want to save money at each step. A low-quality printer will be cheaper, and you may think about buying it to save capital expenditure. However, this strategic decision will affect everything from GST compliance to brand reputation.
In the long run, the cost of the printer is not as significant as the cost of the toner. The toner cartridges that come with the printer are of small sizes. When you print hundreds or even thousands of invoices daily, you will run out of toner, and you must purchase more. Low-quality printers use toner haphazardly. As a result, toner consumption will be higher. When you consider long-term costs, including toner costs, high-quality printers are inexpensive than low-quality printers.
Invoices are printed to present them to authorities when requested. Low-quality printers may not print the details clearly. Within a short duration, the ink may fade away. When you are involved in an export business where the shipping of the consignment may take a few days to a few weeks, you should not use a low-quality printer. When your goods reach your customer, the invoice may be barely visible.
The QR code in a GST e-invoice must be printed clearly for verification. Even when you have entered all the details correctly in the invoice, if the QR code is not readable, the authenticity of the invoice will be questioned. So, using a low-quality printer to print the QR code is not ideal. The cost of a printer is much lower than the value of your goods and the reputation of your business.
Your customers will form an opinion about your business based on how you execute it. When you use a low-quality printer and print an invoice without colourful brand images and logos, your customers may assume that your business is not professional. Using a high-quality printer to print legible and clear invoices will boost your brand reputation.
Best Practices for Using a High-Quality Printer for Tax Invoices
When it becomes necessary to print your tax invoices, use a high-quality printer. Expensive printers are not always of high quality. So, do your research and choose a printer that suits your needs. Some of the best practices for choosing and printing using a high-quality printer are:
- Determine your printing needs
- Consider whether you want a monochrome or colour printer
- Explore multiple options for a printer
- Compare the total printing cost per page costs
- Consider wireless printers for using a single printer for the whole office
- Test the printer by printing a few invoices
- Evaluate printing speed and energy efficiency
- Ensure that the printer comes with a warranty
When you use automated billing software, printing invoices becomes easy. The software can upload invoice details to the IRP system and read the JSON file returned by the IRP system after verification. You can add customisation features and other details to your invoice after generating IRN. Using a high-quality printer will ensure that the QR code is printed correctly and it is easier for the readers to scan the code.
Using CaptainBiz, you can generate a tax invoice, upload it to the e-invoice portal, download the e-invoice after IRN and QR code generation, and print the invoice directly from the tool. The unified platform provides a simplified way to streamline all business transactions and store financial records accurately for GST compliance.
Do I need to print an e-invoice for transporting goods?
No, printing an e-invoice is not mandatory while transporting goods. The e-invoice with a valid QR code containing IRN and GSTIN can be produced digitally when authorities need it. However, printing the e-invoice will make it easy for transporters to produce the e-invoice without needing their digital device.
Is it necessary to print a QR code on the tax invoice?
When your business is mandated to generate an e-invoice, the e-invoice with the QR code is a valid tax invoice. If your business is not mandated as per GST rules, you cannot create an e-invoice using the IRP system. So, in that case, a QR code is not needed. There is no need to generate a QR code for supplying non-taxable goods or services.
What is the best printing method for printing a tax invoice?
You can use different methods based on your preference. Many businesses use their letterhead and print invoice details on the letterhead. Now, the widely used method is to print an invoice from the GST billing software directly. This method doesn’t require you to prepare your letterhead ahead of time.
What if the QR code is not printed correctly?
If the authorities cannot verify the QR code on the invoice, your tax invoice will be declared invalid. So, you must use a high-quality printer and ensure that the invoice details, along with the QR code, are printed correctly.
What is the QR code size for printing?
GST has no mandated requirements for printing the size of the QR code. Generally, it is ideal to print a 3x 3-inch QR code to ensure clarity. Leaving a 1-inch thick white space surrounding the QR code improves its readability by a scanner. However, with a high-quality printer, you can print a 2 x 2-inch QR code based on your invoice design.