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All about Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) under GST

Updated on:  

08 min read

Reverse charge is a mechanism where the recipient of the goods or services is liable to pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) instead of the supplier.

What is a reverse charge mechanism?

Usually, the supplier of goods or services pays the tax on supply. In a reverse charge, the receiver becomes liable to pay the tax, i.e., the chargeability gets reversed.

reverse charge under gst

When is a reverse charge applicable?

Section 9(3), 9(4) and 9(5) of Central GST and State GST Acts govern the reverse charge scenarios for intrastate transactions. Also, sections 5(3), 5(4) and 5(5) of the Integrated GST Act govern the reverse charge scenarios for inter-state transactions. Let’s have a detailed discussion regarding these scenarios:

A. Supply of certain goods and services specified by the CBIC

As per the powers conferred in section 9(3) of CGST Acts, CBIC has issued a list of goods and services on which reverse charge is applicable.

B. Supply from an unregistered dealer to a registered dealer

Section 9(4) of the CGST Act states that if a vendor is not registered under GST supplies goods to a person registered under GST, then reverse charge would apply. This means that the GST will have to be paid directly by the receiver instead of the supplier. The registered buyer who has to pay GST under reverse charge has to do self-invoicing for the purchases made.

In intra-state purchases, CGST and SGST have to be paid under reverse charge mechanism (RCM) by the purchaser. Also, in the case of inter-state purchases, the buyer has to pay the IGST. The government notifies the list of goods or services on which this provision gets attracted from time to time.

The RCM in case of supplies made by unregistered persons to registered persons deferred to 30th September 2019. Previously, this provision was applicable from 1st October 2018.

In the real estate sector, the government notified that the promoter should buy inward supplies to the extent of 80% from registered suppliers only. Suppose the purchases from registered dealers shortfall 80%; then the promoter should GST at 18% on the reverse charge to the extent short of 80% of inward supplies. However, if the promoter purchases cement from an unregistered supplier, he must pay tax at 28%. This calculation is to be done irrespective of the 80% calculation.

The promoter is liable to pay GST on reverse charge basis on TDR or floor space index supplied on or after 1st April 2019. Even if a landowner is not engaged in a regular business of land-related activities, transfer of development rights by such an individual to the promoter is liable to GST as it is considered as supply of service under section 7 of CGST Act. Also, in case of outward supply of TDR by one developer to another, GST is applicable at 18% on reverse charge.

C. Supply of services through an e-commerce operator

All types of businesses can use e-commerce operators as an aggregator to sell products or provide services. Section 9(5) of the CGST Act states that if a service provider uses an e-commerce operator to provide specified services, the reverse charge will apply to the e-commerce operator and he will be liable to pay GST. This section covers the services such as:

  • Transportation services to passengers by a radio-taxi, motor cab, maxi cab and motorcycle. For example – Ola, Uber. 
  • Providing accommodation services in hotels, inns, guest houses, clubs, campsites or other commercial places meant for residential or lodging purposes, except where the person supplying such service through electronic commerce operator is liable for registration due to turnover exceeding the threshold limit. For example – Oyo and MakeMyTrip.
  • Housekeeping services, such as plumbing and carpentering, except where the person supplying such services through electronic commerce operators are liable for registration due to turnover beyond the threshold limit. For example, UrbanClap provides the services of plumbers, electricians, teachers, beauticians etc. In this case, UrbanClap is liable to pay GST and collect it from the customers instead of the registered service providers. 

Also, suppose the e-commerce operator does not have a physical presence in the taxable territory. In that case, a person representing such an electronic commerce operator will be liable to pay tax for any purpose. If there is no representative, the operator will appoint a representative who will be held liable to pay GST.

Time of supply under RCM

A. Time of supply in case of goods

In case of reverse charge, the time of supply for goods shall be the earliest of the following dates:

  • the date of receipt of goods
  • the date of payment*
  • the date immediately after 30 days from the date of issue of an invoice by the supplier

If it is not possible to determine the time of supply, the time of supply shall be the date of entry in the books of account of the recipient. 

*This point is no more applicable based this Notification No. 66/2017 – Central Tax issued on 15th November 2017 


  1. Date of receipt of goods 15th May 2021
  2. Date of invoice 1st June 2021
  3. Date of entry in books of receiver 18th May 2021

The time of supply of service, in this case, will be 15th May 2021.

B. Time of supply in case of services

In case of reverse charge, the time of supply shall be the earliest of the following dates:

  • The date of payment
  • The date immediately after 60 days from the date of issue of invoice by the supplier

If it is not possible to determine the time of supply, the time of supply shall be the date of entry in the books of account of the recipient. 


  1. Date of payment 15th July 2021
  2. Date immediately after 60 days from the date of issue of the invoice (Suppose the date of the invoice is 15th May 2021, then 60 days from this date will be 14th July 2021)
  3. Date of entry in books of receiver 18th July 2021

The time of supply of service, in this case, will be 14th July 2021

Who should pay GST under the RCM?

As per provisions of GST law, the person supplying the goods must mention in the tax invoice whether tax is payable under the RCM. 

The following points should be kept in mind while making GST payments under RCM: 

  • The recipient of goods or services can avail of the ITC on the tax amount paid under RCM only if such goods or services are used for business or furtherance of business. 
  • A composition dealer should pay tax at the normal rates and not the composition rates while discharging liability under RCM. Also, they are ineligible to claim any input tax credit of tax paid. 
  • GST compensation cess can apply to the tax payable or paid under the RCM.

Input Tax Credit (ITC) under RCM

A supplier cannot take the GST paid under the RCM as ITC. The recipient can avail of ITC on GST amount paid under RCM on receipt of goods or services, only if such goods or services are used or will be used for business purposes. 

The recipient cannot use the ITC to pay output GST on goods or services under reverse charge and should be paid in cash only.

What is self invoicing?

Self-invoicing is to be done when purchased from an unregistered supplier, and such purchase of goods or services falls under reverse charge. This is because your supplier cannot issue a GST-compliant invoice to you, and thus you become liable to pay taxes on their behalf. Hence, self-invoicing, in this case, becomes necessary.

Also, section 31(3)(g) states that a recipient who is liable to pay tax under section 9(3) or 9(4) shall issue a payment voucher at the time of making payment to the supplier.

How ClearTax helps you with self invoicing?

You can create self invoices at ease using ClearTax GST software. You just have to follow the below steps:

Step 1 – Login to ClearTax GST → ‘‘Create and View Invoices’ → ‘‘Choose a Business’’ → ‘Invoices’ → ‘‘Purchase’’ → then click on ‘‘+ New Purchase Invoice’’ to create a new invoice.

self invoicing

Step 2 – As you can see, you need to fill data in multiple fields. Let’s understand each field in detail:

  • Enter the serial number of the bill into the field marked ‘‘Invoice Serial Number’’. Since your supplier has not issued an invoice and you are creating an invoice on their behalf, you need to add a serial number on your own. You can create and maintain a serial number series for reverse charge bills for easier invoicing
  • Enter the ‘‘Invoice Date’’. This date must be based on the time of supply
  • Enter any detail, such as the order number etc., into the field marked ‘‘Reference Number.’’
  • Under ‘‘Due Date’’, you have to mention the date by when you have to make the payment to the supplier for the purchase you made (mentioning this date is not mandatory)
  • Under ‘‘Vendor Name’’, enter the supplier’s name. Remember, this name cannot be your own name, even if you are doing self-invoicing under reverse charge. If the vendor’s name is not set already, you can add a new vendor
  • Enter details of goods/ services purchased
  • From the drop-down under ‘‘Advanced Settings’’, select ‘‘Reverse Charge.’’
  • Now, fill in all the details displayed on your screen.

Step 3 – After filling in all the other details, click on Save.

You can also use our ClearOne invoicing solution for creating self invoices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if the receiver of goods or services is required to pay tax under reverse charge but is not a registered dealer?

All taxpayers required to pay tax under reverse charge have to register for GST, and the threshold of Rs.20 lakh or Rs.40 lakh, as the case may be, does not apply to them.

Is Input Tax Credit (ITC) allowed under reverse charge?

Tax paid on a reverse charge basis will be available for ITC if such goods or services are used, or will be used, for business. The recipient, i.e., who pays reverse tax, can avail it as ITC.

What if an Input Service Distributor (ISD) receives supplies liable to reverse charge?

An ISD cannot make purchases liable to reverse charge. If the ISD wants to procure such supplies and take the reverse charge paid as ITC, the ISD should register as a regular taxpayer.

When can one claim ITC of tax paid under RCM?

The person who paid tax under RCM in a month can claim it as ITC in the subsequent month.

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