The Electronic Way Bill (e-waybill or EWB) is a mandatory electronically generated document in the GST framework. It is essential for transporting goods exceeding Rs 50,000 in value or according to state-declared thresholds. Its validity period is determined by the cargo type and the movement’s distance, ensuring compliance and timely delivery.
E-waybills digitally manage logistics and compliance, dictating validity based on distances. Expired ones trigger consequences – detention, seizure, and potential confiscation. In commerce, they’re silent regulators, ensuring compliance in a straightforward digital landscape.
Read on to explore the various critical facets of e-waybill validity.
E-waybill Validity Duration Based on Distance and Mode of Transport
The e-waybill’s validity commences upon the initial entry in Part-B, which is either the first-time vehicle entry for road transportation or the introduction of the first transport document number for rail/air/ship transportation, depending on the nature of the transport.
It’s worth noting that the validity remains constant and is not recalculated for subsequent entries in Part B.
Validity Based on Distance
The e-waybill’s validity is dependent on the distance between the supplier and the recipient. This duration is computed based on the approximate distance entered during the e-waybill generation. Users can find this distance using the MAP feature, with a current limitation of 3,000 kilometers for online waybill generation. After entering PIN codes, users can access approximate motorable distances between the supplier and recipient addresses as per the PIN codes entered in the “Bill From & Bill To” sections.
Users can also manually enter the actual distance traveled, with a limit set at a 10% increase over the auto-calculated distance, allowing flexibility within the system to account for variations in the distance covered during the transportation of goods. If the PIN codes of both source and destination are the same, the user can enter a distance up to a maximum of 100 km only.
Once generated, this distance field cannot be changed unless an extension is requested.
A straightforward one-day validity is assigned for every 200 kilometers or part thereof for regular vehicles and transportation modes. On the other hand, Dimensional Cargo vehicles follow a more granular approach, with a one-day validity for every 20 kilometers or part thereof, concluding at midnight on the last day.
This limitation may pose challenges for users planning to transport goods over distances exceeding 3,000 kilometers. However, if the goods can be transported within the stipulated validity period, even if the distance exceeds 3,000 kilometers, it poses no issue.
For international consignments, the approximate distance within the country is considered, factoring in movement from the source to the destination within the country after customs clearance.
Consolidated e-waybills, acting as trip sheets, do not have an independent validity period. Instead, each consignment specified in the consolidated e-waybill adheres to its individual validity period, ensuring compliance.
Time Validity Calculation
The calculation of time validity for an e-waybill is precise. Whether generated at the beginning or end of a day, the system adheres to a clear pattern which marks midnight as the end of one day.
For example, an e-waybill generated at 00:04 on March 14 sees its first day, concluding at midnight on March 15-16. Similarly, if generated at 23:58 hrs on March 14, the first day still concludes at midnight on March 15-16.
Extending E-waybill Validity for Exceptional Circumstances
In cases where the validity of the e-waybill expires, preventing the movement of goods, an option exists to extend its validity. The extension can be requested within a specific time frame – between 8 hours before the expiry time and 8 hours after the expiry time of the original validity period. This extension can be requested under exceptional circumstances, such as natural calamities, law and order issues, trans-shipment delays, accidents, and other unforeseen events. The transporter has the power to initiate this extension process by updating the reason for the extension and providing details in Part B of FORM GST EWB-01.
To request an extension, the transporter must enter the e-waybill number, specify the reason for the extension, current location, approximate distance to be covered, and complete Part-B details. It’s crucial to note that changes to Part-A details are not permitted during this extension process. The extended validity is granted based on the remaining distance to travel.
Importantly, only the current transporter has the authority to extend the validity of the e-waybill. If no transporter is assigned, the generator of the e-waybill can undertake this task. This provision ensures flexibility for businesses and transporters to adapt to unforeseen circumstances, facilitating the continued movement of goods even when faced with exceptional challenges.
To extend the validity of e-waybills, follow these steps:
- Login to the e-waybill system by entering your username, password, and the provided Captcha code. Click on ‘Login.’
- On the dashboard’s left side, click ‘E-waybill’ and then select ‘Extend Validity.’
- Enter the e-waybill number for which you intend to extend the validity.
- Select ‘Yes’ to confirm your decision to extend the validity.
- Provide the reasons and remarks for the extension. Re-enter the vehicle details and select the relevant reason from the drop-down menu. Note that not all fields can be edited during the extension. Certain fields, such as Part A details, invoice details, and GSTIN of the supplier and receiver, remain non-editable.
- Re-enter specific details, including the approximate distance left to the destination, place of dispatch (from place), place of delivery (to place), and mode and/or vehicle details. The system will calculate and provide additional validity based on the remaining distance to travel.
Once the validity is extended, a new e-waybill number is allotted instead of the old one.
A commissioner can also facilitate the extension of the e-waybill validity period based on recommendations from the Council. Nevertheless, an official notification from the council is requisite to authorize the extension specifically for certain categories of goods.
Consequences of an Expired E-way Bill
When the e-waybill validity expires, it results in a comprehensive set of consequences, particularly concerning the movement and handling of goods. The authorized officer, designated by an Indian state or the Centre, holds the pivotal authority to intercept goods in transit. This interception allows scrutiny of the goods and extends to a detailed examination of accompanying documents, including the e-waybill. Legal consequences come into play for both expired e-waybills and instances where no e-waybills are presented:
- Detention of Goods: Detention, a critical facet of the consequences, involves restricting the owner’s access to their goods through issuing a legal notice. Despite this restriction, ownership remains with the original owner. The detention of goods occurs when there is a suspicion that they may be liable for confiscation.
- Seizure of Goods: Moving beyond detention, seizure becomes a possibility. Authorized departments or officers can take possession of goods, but this step is contingent upon an investigation establishing the necessity for confiscation.
- Confiscation: The most severe consequence in expired e-waybills or absent e-waybills cases is confiscation. This action occurs only after a thorough adjudication process. Upon confiscation, both possession and ownership are wrested from the original owner, and these rights are transferred to the Indian Government or CGST authority.
The repercussions extend to imposing penalties on seized goods, vehicles, and related documents. The owner must settle taxes and penalties accrued due to overdue or nonexistent e-waybills to release seized items.
Two distinct scenarios arise: if the owner comes forward, the proper officer levies a 100% penalty equivalent to the tax amount. In the event of the owner’s absence, a penalty of 50% of the total value of the goods (before tax) is imposed, along with additional taxes and charges. The example below can highlight this better:
Fines for Confiscated Goods
Fines related to confiscated goods align with the severity of the consequences. The minimum fine is the same as that of seized goods. However, the maximum fine escalates to the market value of the confiscated goods before tax. In cases where vehicles are confiscated, owners face fines equivalent to the taxation payable on the captured goods.
Additionally, involved parties or individuals are obligated to cover extra charges, taxes, and penalties beyond the initial fine for confiscated items. This detailed cascade of consequences underscores the critical importance of adhering to e-waybill validity requirements in the smooth flow of goods transportation.
Maintaining E-waybill Records for Future Reference
The common portal for e-waybill generation and management offers a smooth system to keep track of e-waybills for future reference. The comprehensive reporting system ensures that business owners and decision-makers have a consolidated overview of various e-waybill actions.
To keep a record of all past e-waybills efficiently, businesses can utilize the following steps:
- Visit ewaybill.nic.in.
- Enter the user name, password, and captcha code.
- Click “Login.”
- Access the main menu on the left-hand side.
- Click “Reports.”
Choose from various masters: clients, suppliers, transporters, and products.
Utilize this facility to generate the following reports –
- EWB Generated by Me: Lists e-waybills generated by the user for a specific date and includes details of rejected, canceled, and verified EWBs.
- EWB Generated by Others: Lists e-waybills generated by others against the user’s GSTIN for a specific date.
- Outward Supplies: Generates a list of e-waybills representing outward supplies for a specific date.
- Inward Supplies: Generates a list of e-waybills representing inward supplies for a specific date.
- Masters: Generates a list of master entries under different categories such as clients, suppliers, transporters, and products.
Ensuring Timely Delivery of Goods within the E-waybill Validity Period
Ensuring the timely delivery of goods within the e-waybill validity period is extremely important for the smooth functioning of the logistics chain. The validity period of the e-waybill is a critical factor that dictates the permissible time frame for transporting goods. Adhering to this period is important in order to avoid potential penalties, confiscation, or seizure of goods.
Businesses and transporters must carefully plan and execute the transportation process within the stipulated validity period. It is important to take into account factors such as distance, mode of transport, and any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during transit.
Through this, they not only comply with regulatory requirements but also contribute to the efficiency of supply chains, meeting customer expectations and maintaining the integrity of the entire goods transportation ecosystem.
In the end, adhering to the e-waybill validity period is essential for the efficient and penalty-free movement of goods. Timely compliance or extensions as required ensure the avoidance of legal complications – such as confiscation and seizures, contributing to a seamless logistics process.
Lastly, the contents of this article should not be interpreted as a legal opinion or representation of the author’s views. The information provided is intended solely for informational and educational purposes. Although care has been taken in preparing this article, there may be inadvertent mistakes and omissions. The author disclaims any liability for losses or damages of any nature resulting from inaccurate or incomplete information in this document or any actions taken based on it. It is recommended to seek expert or professional consultation.
Here are some frequently asked questions.
How can I check for expiring e-waybills as a transporter?
Transporters or taxpayers can check the list of e-waybills about to expire within the next 4 days by logging into the e-waybill portal (https://ewaybillgst.gov.in/). Navigate to Reports > My E-way > E-waybills about to expire.
What qualifies as exceptional circumstances for e-waybill validity extension?
Exceptional circumstances include natural calamities, law and order issues, trans-shipment delays, and conveyance accidents. Transporters must provide detailed explanations when extending the validity period of an e-waybill.
How is the distance measured for e-waybill generation?
The MAP feature of the e-waybill system measures the approximated distance to generate a validity period. The online e-waybill generation facility limits the maximum distance to 3,000 KMs.
What should be done if the validity of the e-waybill expires?
If the validity of the e-waybill expires, the goods are not supposed to be moved. However, under exceptional circumstances and trans-shipment scenarios, the transporter may extend the validity within 8 hours after the expiry period by updating reasons and details in PART-B of FORM GST EWB-01.
What is the protocol for a breakdown while transporting goods with an EWB?
If the vehicle breaks down, the transporter can either repair the vehicle and continue with the same EWB or update new vehicle details on the e-waybill portal. The validity can also be extended, with specifics provided for the remaining distance.
What are the consequences if the transporter fails to extend the e-waybill validity?
If the transporter fails to extend the e-waybill validity, the proper officer can detain, seize, and confiscate the goods in transit according to updated CGST rules.
Who has the authority to extend the validity of the e-waybill?
The transporter in possession of the consignment during the e-waybill validity expiry has the authority to extend the validity period.
Can the e-waybill entry be assigned to another transporter by an authorized transporter?
Yes, an authorized transporter can assign the e-waybill to any enrolled or registered transporter for further transportation. The new transporter is then responsible for updating Part B of the EWB.
How do I generate an e-waybill for multiple invoices belonging to the same consignor and consignee?
Multiple invoices from the same consignor and consignee require the generation of individual EWBs for each invoice. A consolidated EWB can be prepared for transportation purposes if the goods are in one vehicle.
What is the validity of a consolidated e-waybill?
The Consolidated EWB, serving as a trip sheet, lacks independent validity. However, individual consignments specified within the consolidated EWB must reach the destination within the validity period of their respective EWBs.