Rule 46 (b) of the CGST Rules 2017 suggests that any tax invoice should have a 16 character alpha-numeric invoice number unique for a financial year. This draws attention, now that we are entering a new Financial Year – 2019-2020.
The GSTN has issued an advisory to this regard –
“Attention of all taxpayers is invited to Rule 46 (b) of the CGST Rules 2017, which specifies that the tax invoice issued by a registered person should have a consecutive serial number, not exceeding sixteen characters, in one or multiple series, containing alphabets or numerals or special characters - hyphen or dash and slash symbolized as “-” and “/” respectively, and any combination thereof, unique for a financial year.
This rule implies that with the start of new financial year 2019-20 (w.e.f. 01/04/2019), a new invoice series, unique for the financial year is to be started by the GST taxpayers. Similar provision is there in Rule 49 of the CGST Rules 2017, in respect of issue of Bill of Supply by registered taxpayers availing Composition Scheme or supplying exempted goods or services or both.
If the provisions of Rule 46 or Rule 49 are not adhered to, apart from being a compliance issue, taxpayers may face problem while generating E-Way Bill on E-way bill system or furnishing their Form GSTR 1 or for applying for refund on GST Portal. It is therefore necessary that suitable modification may be made by the taxpayers in this regard in their invoices or bill of supply, to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
This is important considering the fact that the entire GST system is based on the invoice number. The invoice number is the unique code for every transaction happening in the business. Also, the uniqueness has to be there to identify transactions for a particular Financial Year as well. Hence, it is advisable to reset your invoice numbers to 19-20 from 18-19. This will help to have invoice numbers unique to the financial year.The CHAPTER VI of the CGST Rules 2017 deals with the TAX INVOICE, CREDIT AND DEBIT NOTES preparation rules. Rule 46 under the same suggests that a tax invoice shall be issued by the registered person containing the following particulars, namely,-