API (Application Programming Interface) acts as an intermediary to facilitate communication between taxpayers/GSP and the e-invoice system. There are different methods of API integration, which are discussed in this article.

Latest Updates on e-Invoicing

Update as on 29th November 2020

The CBIC issued a notification seeking to waive the penalty imposed on non-compliance of dynamic QR code provisions for B2C invoices between 1st December 2020 and 31st March 2021, provided the eligible registered person complies with these provisions from 1st April 2021.

Update as on 10th November 2020

The taxpayers having an aggregate turnover exceeding Rs.100 crore in any preceding financial years (starting from 2017-18) should implement e-invoicing from 1st January 2021.

Update as on 1st October 2020

The applicable taxpayers have been given a grace period of 30 days for generating an Invoice Reference Number (IRN). However, this grace period is valid for the invoices issued between 1st October 2020 to 31st October 2020.

Update as on 30th September 2020

Now, the aggregate turnover should be checked from FY 2017-18 till FY 2019-20, for checking the applicability of e-invoicing. Also, the date of implementation of the dynamic QR Code for B2C invoices has been extended until 01.12.2020.

Update as on 30th July 2020

1. A new refined format of e-invoice has been notified by CBIC adding 20 new fields and removing 13 fields. Certain fields have undergone changes in character length as well.

2. e-Invoicing system shall apply to those taxpayers with annual turnover exceeding Rs 500 crore instead of Rs 100 crore.

3. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) units shall also be exempted from issuing e-invoices.

Update as on 23rd March 2020

The implementation of e-invoicing and the QR code has been deferred to 1st October 2020.

Exemption from e-Invoicing and QR code has been granted to sectors such as insurance, banking, financial institutions, NBFCs, GTA, passenger transportation service and movie tickets.

Direct API Integration for e-Invoicing, Cost, Process and Benefits

The GST Network allows a taxpayer with turnover greater than Rs.500 crore (Rs.100 crore from 1st January 2021) to use API means to integrate with the IRP system directly. It enables the real-time generation of the IRN for e-invoice.

Below are the steps for one-time onboarding of a taxpayer to use the direct integration method:

  1. Test the API integration in the sandbox environment (https://einv-apisandbox.nic.in/).
  2. A taxpayer has to send the test summary report to support.einv.api@gov.in. This report should be as per the format provided under the ‘onboarding’ section of the sandbox portal.
  3. On successful verification of the test summary report, a taxpayer will be provided API production details.
  4. One must then log in to the https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in portal (if a user is already registered on the e-way bill portal, then he can use the same login credentials; otherwise he can take a new registration by going to the registration option on the e-invoice portal).
  5. Also, if the user has already integrated with the API under e-way bill system, then he can use the same API credentials otherwise, he needs to go to IP whitelisting option under API registration and enter the production IPs which are to be whitelisted, up to a maximum limit of four, and then click submit.
  6. The network team will scrutinise and whitelist the IP addresses.
  7. After scrutinisation, click on create API user and enter the new credentials. On successful registration, you will receive Client-ID and Client-Secret.

Cost: As per market research, the cumulative value of direct integration will work out to approximately Rs 5 lakh for the enterprise. It includes setting up and recurring expense of MPLS network for a stable connection and one-time development cost to reconfigure the ERP system as per the e-invoicing requirements.

Benefits: As there will be direct interaction between the taxpayer and GSTN, there will be a smooth flow of data without the involvement of a third party. This ensures data security, accuracy and improves efficiency in the business.

However, it is advised that the enterprise partners with a GSP such as ClearTax since it may not be technically equipped to realign the ERP system for the regular API updates. The enterprise may find it difficult to collate the data as per the GSTN e-invoice formats. Though using GSP is an indirect way to interact with GSTN, it provides an easy and trusted platform.

GSP-based API Integration for e-Invoicing, Cost, Process and Benefits

GSP is an acronym for GST Suvidha Provider. API-GSP based integration is the easiest and fastest way to connect with IRP in comparison to the direct integration with the IRP. It is because this integration route offers scalability and real-time support too. Further, there are value additions also available to the partnered enterprise, such as a backup facility for IRN.

The following are the steps for one-time onboarding process:

  1. Test the API integration with the GSP in the sandbox environment. (https://einv-apisandbox.nic.in/)
  2. The GSP has to then send the test summary report to support.einv.api@gov.in as per the format provided under the onboarding section of the sandbox portal.
  3. On verification of the test summary report, the GSP will be provided with API production details.
  4. One must then log in to the https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in portal (if a user is already registered on the e-way bill portal then he can use the same login credentials; otherwise he can take a new registration by going to the registration option on the e-invoice portal).
  5. Also, one must register for GSP on the e-invoice portal. But, if he is already registered with a GSP for e-way bill and wants to continue with the same GSP for e-invoice then no need to register again. The same login credentials will work for the e-invoice portal as well.

Benefits of using ClearTax Integration Solution

ClearTax is an ASP as well as GSP providing end-to-end compliance solutions. It also facilitates a smooth flow of data between the application and GST portal by avoiding third-party dependency.

  • Security: GST data travels end-to-end without the involvement of a third-party. Hence, 100% data security guaranteed.
  • Experience: It provides various value-added services like trend analysis, tax alerts and legal support. Besides this, it offers an end-to-end solution to corporates through which they can manage their sale, purchase and GST filing.
  • Convenient: It provides various convenient and interactive modes, including desktop application and cloud-based application.
  • Scalability: It is known for its scalability feature. With this, the enterprise can work with a comparatively massive volume of invoices while ensuring a stable connection and faster performance.

Cost: Using a GSP involves an additional cost. Still, a GSP can seamlessly connect with the GST portal, thus increasing the speed of data processing and ensures higher scalability for the user.

API - Through Enabled Sister Concerned GSTIN

  1. Test the API integration in the sandbox environment (https://einv-apisandbox.nic.in/).
  2. A taxpayer has to send the test summary report to support.einv.api@gov.in. This report should be as per the format provided under the onboarding section of sandbox portal.
  3. On verification of the test summary report, a taxpayer will be provided API production details.
  4. The public IP used by the company and sister concern should be the same when accessing the e-invoice and e-way bill production APIs.
  5. One must then log in to the https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in portal (if a user is already registered on the e-way bill portal then he can use the same login credentials; otherwise, he can take a new registration by going to the registration option on the e-invoice portal)
  6. Also, if the user has already integrated with the API under the e-way bill system, then he can use the same API credentials; otherwise, he has to create API by selecting the sister concern GSTIN.
  7. Enter the new API credentials you want.
  8. Now, with your new API user credentials and client-id credentials of the sister concern, you can connect and generate both IRN and e-way bill.

E-Way Bill API Enabled Taxpayers

This method is the same as using a direct integration method. It involves the enterprise using the e-way bill-related whitelisted IPs to access the e-invoice system.