IRP, known as the Invoice Registration Portal is instrumental in validating the genuineness of the invoices used in the GST ecosystem. It generates and assigns IRN to every GST invoice.
The infrastructure to support the trial version of the e-invoicing system was first made available for voluntary use from 1st January 2020. The Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) plays a key role in running the show.
The Invoice Registration Portals are entities that act as Registrars and operate through a website for assigning Invoice Reference Numbers (IRN) to each invoice/credit note/debit note. The invoice details can be uploaded onto the Invoice Registration Portal using a prescribed mode for the purpose of either generating or validating the Invoice Reference Number (IRN) of the invoice uploaded. Only such invoices with an authorised IRN will be considered valid as per law.
At present, there is only one IRP – NIC. The e-invoice portal currently in use is https://einvoice1.gst.gov.in/. However, multiple Registrars (IRPs) will be added in the future.
The IRP performs the following tasks:
1. Generation of hash/IRN for invoices:
Where the invoices have been uploaded without hash, the Invoice Registration Portal generates the hash/IRN for that invoice in the prescribed format based on the IRN parameters.
2. De-duplication check:
The IRP conducts a check of the hash/IRN of an invoice for any duplication or repetition by comparing the same with information stored in the Central Depository.
3. Digital Signing of validated invoices:
All the validated invoices are digitally signed by the Invoice Registration Portal using the private key of the IRP. This digitally signed JSON is then made available to the supplier.
4. Generation of QR codes in respect of validated invoices:
Along with digital signature, a QR code is also generated in respect of each invoice by the Invoice Registration Portal. The resulting QR code can be used to verify/print the invoice and also to have a quick view/access on handheld devices. This feature is especially useful for tax officers and other stakeholders to verify certain details when they have no/limited access to the internet. The following parameters will be available through the QR code:
A. GSTIN of supplier
B. GSTIN of recipient
C. Invoice number as given by supplier
D. Date of generation of invoice
E. Invoice value (taxable value and gross tax)
F. Number of line items
G. HSN Code of the main item (the line item having the highest taxable value)
I. Unique Invoice Reference Number (hash)
5. Sending the invoice via e-mail:
The validated invoice will be sent to the e-mail address of the seller.
6. Offline app:
The IRP will provide an offline app to authenticate the QR code of an invoice offline and view its basic details. The complete details of the invoice would be available only after connecting to the portal.
7. Integration with GST and E-Way Bill system:
The details of the uploaded invoice will automatically be shared with the GST system which will allow for automatic updating of GSTR-1 (of the seller). Further, the details will also be automatically shared with the E-Way Bill system wherever required to make the process of creating E-Way Bill even simpler. The E-Way Bill system would only then require vehicle number to complete the process of creating E-Way Bill.
E-invoicing ensures that a particular standard or format is followed for the electronic reporting of invoice details. GST taxpayers must follow a prescribed format which helps the system read the output generated by another system (inter-system readability). Therefore, if the details of the invoices are reported as per the prescribed format, it will result in a major improvement by automation in the process of filing returns.
Thus, it can be concluded that the purpose of the Invoice Registration Portal is not to generate e-invoices online but to only register the details of the invoices generated by the entity on a day-to-day basis. In order to upload details of the invoices into the IRP, the invoice should be available as a JSON file using offline tool or the ERP must be integrated with the e-invoice system via API, either directly or through GSPs.
Multiple modes have been proposed for registering the invoice on the IRP:
The details of invoices can be entered on an excel based offline tool which converts the data into a JSON file. The same can be uploaded onto the e-invoice website of the IRP for the purpose of registration/validation of the same. IRN will be generated thereafter along with QR code.
The API integration mode will allow big taxpayers and accounting software providers to interact with the Invoice Registration Portal through their own software. For this purpose, server details of their own systems must be registered with the e-invoice system. The IRN can be generated and validated for invoices either one at a time or in bulk, similar to the E-Way Bill system using the APIs. Prerequisites for integration include a IT enabled invoice generation system with a static IP address, pre-production system to test the API interface and SSL based domain name.
IRP has proposed a mobile app on the play store or App store, which carries out some functions of the IRP as discussed above. The user must register the IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number of the mobile phones through which the IRN needs to be generated on the e-invoice system
Taxpayers can also utilise the services of the GST Suvidha Provider (GSP) such as ClearTax to help them carry out their e-invoice related compliances.