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A GST taxpayer often encounters JSON file and JSON errors while filing GST returns. The use of JSON file is going to be more frequent under the e-invoicing system. Invoice JSON and e-Invoice JSON are not the same.

Latest Updates on e-Invoicing

Update as on 8th March 2021

The CBIC has notified that e-Invoicing will be applicable from 1st April 2021 for businesses with an aggregate turnover of more than Rs.50 crores (in any financial year from FY 2017-18 onwards).

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 year 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 1st December 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 the insurance, banking, financial institutions, NBFCs, GTA, and passenger transportation service, etc.

What is a JSON file?

It is a JAVA-based computer file. It is an open-standard file format which uses human-readable text to transmit data objects consisting of attribute-value pairs and array data types. It is in an easy to read and write format. The JSON format is often used for transmitting structured data between a server and web application. Thus, it serves as an alternative to XML.

E-Invoice JSON Objects

Below are the e-invoice JSON objects:
Sr.No Section Contents
1 Header Contains Tax Scheme, Version, Invoice Reference No., etc.
2 Transaction Contains Transaction Category and Type
3 Document Contains Document Type, Number, Date, etc.
4 Seller Contains Seller GSTIN, Trade Name, Address, etc.
5 Buyer Contains Buyer GSTIN, Trade Name, Address, etc.
6 Dispatch Contains Dispatch GSTIN, Trade Name, Address, etc.
7 Ship To Contains Ship to GSTIN, Trade Name, Address, etc.
8 Item Contains Details of Line Items
9 Document Contains all Total Values of the Document
10 Payment Contains Payment Details and Conditions
11 Reference Contains References Related to Invoice

JSON validations and error log or report

Some of the major areas where JSON validations come up are:  
1 Generation of IRN Only the following documents are considered for IRN generation:
  • Invoice
  • Debit note
  • Credit note
2 Category of transactions E-invoice request should be made only for below category of transactions:
  • Business-to-Business(B2B) invoices
  • Business-to-Government (B2G) invoices
  • Business-to-Export invoices
  • Reverse Charges invoices
  • Supplies through e-commerce operator
3 Reverse Charge It is allowed only for B2B invoice
4 Request for the IRN/e-Invoice
  • It can be made only by the supplier or e-commerce operator on behalf of the supplier
  • Duplicate IRN requests are not considered
  • IRN can be regenerated for cancelled e-invoice
  • IRN can be generated on a combination of supplier GSTIN, FY, document type and number.
5 Number of Items Maximum number of items should not exceed 1,000, which later has been increased to 10,000

Where is the JSON file used under GST?

The JSON file is used under GST for submitting invoice information on various government portals for GST compliance. It includes filing of GST returns and generation of e-way bills. In its latest application,  it will be used for generating an e-invoice.

Purpose and uses of JSON file

JSON syntax is very easy to use and is one of the best tools for sharing data of any size because it stores data in arrays and makes data transfer easier and faster. Thus, a JSON file is used for uploading invoice data for GST return filing in GSTR-1 and generation of e-way bill. Under the e-invoicing system, the seller will have to upload the JSON invoice data onto the IRP. Thereafter, the IRP shall send back the signed JSON to the seller. 

How to extract invoices into JSON format and approaches followed?

A taxpayer has to raise a normal invoice on his accounting software by providing all the necessary details as per e-invoice schema such as billing name and address, GSTIN of the supplier, transaction value, tax amount, etc. After creating an invoice the taxpayer must report this with IRP by uploading in JSON file. Let us understand the invoice extraction options and routes available to upload invoice data with IRP. Ultimately by either of the options or routes, a JSON file will be uploaded on IRP.   Invoice Extraction Options:
  1. Download invoices in excel format (.csv or .xlsx) in case of using third-party applications (ASP)/GSP. These applications will convert data into JSON files for uploading on the IRP.
  2. Get an API integration done to extract the JSON of invoices directly from the billing/ERP system.
Routes to approach IRP: 1. By using Third-Party Applications (ASP):  The advantage of using third-party applications is that bulk uploading of JSONs will be taken care of by the applications themselves on behalf of the users. The option is favourable for the category of taxpayers having an aggregate turnover between Rs.100 crore and Rs.500 crore. JSON validation will be done. 2. By using ASP that is also a GSP: The advantage of opting this route would help in achieving scalability and also benefit from archiving. The government has released APIs to GSPs along with those taxpayers with aggregate turnover over Rs.500 crore. Taxpayers, using GSPs interface, will get an API User name and password. The GSPs will validate the data before submitting to IRP, as per the JSON Schema and business rules.
Source: GSTN
Source: GSTN
3. Direct Interaction with IRP via API:   This option is currently made available to taxpayers with aggregate turnover over Rs.500 crore. Taxpayers, using direct APIs, will get Client ID, ClientSecret, an API user name and password. By using convertors/tools available online, a taxpayer can also convert an invoice into JSON by using converters available online but this method takes time as the taxpayer has to upload one invoice at a time.

Sample format of JSON

The government has released two types of e-invoice format. One is only with mandatory fields and the other one is with both mandatory and optional fields. Below is the template with only mandatory fields: There are two types of JSON that deal with e-invoicing. One is Request JSON and the second one is Response JSON. A taxpayer uploads his details into IRP through Request JSON and the IRP, in turn, provides validation errors, status and other information through Response JSON.  The JSON format of an Invoice is given below:
"TranDtls": {
"Catg": "B2B",
"RegRev": "RG",
"Typ": "REG",
"EcmTrnSel": false,
"EcmTrn": "N",
"EcmGstin": null
"DocDtls": {
"Typ": "INV",
"No": "sadsd",
"Dt": "2019-11-25",
"OrgInvNo": null
"ExpDtls": {
"ExpCat": null,
"WthPay": null,
"ShipBNo": null,
"ShipBDt": "2019-11-25",
"Port": null,
"InvForCur": 0,
"ForCur": "BDT",
"CntCode": "BD"
"SellerDtls": {
"Gstin": "37BZNPM9430M1kl",
"TrdNm": "TAN TEST NIC",
"Bno": "TEST2",
"Bnm": "TEST1",
"Flno": "3RD FLOOR",
"Dst": null,
"Pin": 518001,
"Stcd": 37,
"Ph": null,
"Em": null
"BuyerDtls": {
"Gstin": "37BZNPM9430M1kl",
"TrdNm": "TAN TEST NIC",
"Bno": "TEST2",
"Bnm": "TEST1",
"Flno": "3RD FLOOR",
"Dst": null,
"Pin": 518001,
"Stcd": 37,
"Ph": null,
"Em": null
"DispDtls": {
"Gstin": "37BZNPM9430M1kl",
"TrdNm": "TAN TEST NIC",
"Bno": "TEST2",
"Bnm": "TEST1",
"Flno": "3RD FLOOR",
"Dst": null,
"Pin": 518001,
"Stcd": 37,
"Ph": null,
"Em": null
"ShipDtls": {
"Gstin": "37BZNPM9430M1kl",
"TrdNm": "TAN TEST NIC",
"Bno": "TEST2",
"Bnm": "TEST1",
"Flno": "3RD FLOOR",
"Dst": null,
"Pin": 518001,
"Stcd": 37,
"Ph": null,
"Em": null
"ValDtls": {
"AssVal": 100.00,
"CgstVal": 1.50,
"SgstVal": 1.50,
"IgstVal": 0.00,
"CesVal": 15.00,
"StCesVal": 36.00,
"CesNonAdVal": 0.00,
"Disc": 0, "OthChrg": 0,
"TotInvVal": 154.00,
"RefDtls": {
"InvRmk": null,
"InvStDt": "2019
"InvEndDt": "2019
"PrecInvNo": null,
"PrecInvDt": "2019
"RecAdvRef": null,
"TendRef": null,
"ContrRef": null,
"ExtRef": null,
"ProjRef": null,
"PORef": null
"PayDtls": {
"Nam": null,
"Mode": null,
"FinInsBr": null,
"PayTerm": null,
"PayInstr": null,
"CrTrn": null,
"DirDr": null,
"CrDay": null,
"BalAmt": null,
"PayDueDt": null,
"AcctDet": null
"ItemsList":”Item” [{
"PrdNm": "dfasf",
"PrdDesc": "dfdfsdf",
"HsnCd": "10",
"Qty": 10,
"Unit": "bag",
"UnitPrice": 10,
"TotAmt": 0,
"CgstRt": 1.500,
"SgstRt": 0,
"IgstRt": 0,
"CesRt": 15.000,
"CesNonAdVal": 0,
"StateCes": 36.000,
"TotItemVal": 100,
"Discount": 0,
"OthChrg": 0,