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What is an invoice or GST Bill?

In the intricate world of Goods and Services Tax (GST), a Tax invoice or GST bill is more than just a piece of paper; it's a detailed record of goods or services sold, specifying the corresponding payment due. 

For businesses registered under GST, creating and issuing invoices is a critical aspect that demands strict adherence to GST guidelines.

What are the types of invoices under GST?

Tax Invoice:

A tax invoice is issued in case of the sale of taxable goods or services on which GST is levied. 

Bill of Supply:

A Bill of Supply is issued when a registered person supplies exempted goods or services or he is a composition dealer.

Invoice-cum-bill of supply:

As per Notification No. 45/2017 – Central Tax dated 13th October 2017 If a registered person is supplying taxable as well as exempted goods/ services to an unregistered person, then he can issue a single “invoice-cum-bill of supply” for all such supplies.

Debit Note:

A debit note is issued by the seller when the amount payable by the buyer to the seller increases due to a change in taxable value or tax.

Credit Note:

A credit note is issued by the seller when the value of the invoice decreases due to a change in tax invoice or tax or goods returned or deficient service.

Bulk or Aggregate Invoice:

If the value of multiple invoices is less than Rs. 200 and the buyers are unregistered, the seller can issue an aggregate or bulk invoice for the multiple invoices daily.

Contents of GST Bill/Invoice

As per Rule 46 of CGST Rules, GST invoice should contain the following particulars:

  1. Name, address, and GSTIN of the supplier
  2. Invoice number:
  3. It should contain a maximum of 16 characters
  4. It should be in one or multiple series
  5. It should contain alphabets or numerals or special characters- hyphen or dash and slash symbolized as "-" and "/" respectively, and any combination thereof
  6. It should be unique for a financial year
  7. Date of its issue
  8. Name, address, and GSTIN (if registered) of the recipient
  9. The address of delivery, along with the name of the State and its code
  10. HSN code of goods/services
  11. Description of goods or services
  12. Quantity in case of goods and units or Unique Quantity Code thereof
  13. total value of supply of goods or services or both
  14. Taxable value of the supply of goods or services or both taking into account discount or abatement, if any
  15. Rate of Tax
  16. Amount of tax
  17. Place of supply along with the name of the State
  18. Whether the tax is payable on a reverse charge basis
  19. A signature or digital signature of the supplier or his authorized representative
  20. Quick Reference code, having embedded Invoice Reference Number (IRN)
  21. A declaration that “I/We hereby declare that though our aggregate turnover in any preceding financial year from 2017-18 onwards is more than the aggregate turnover notified under sub-rule (4) of rule 48, we are not required to prepare an invoice in terms of the provisions of the said sub-rule.”

The time limit for issuing invoices

As per Section 31 of CGST Act, 2017, a registered person should issue a tax invoice, before or at the time of:

(a) Removal of goods for supply to the recipient, where the supply involves the movement of goods

(b) Delivery of goods or making available thereof to the recipient, in any other case.

In the case of services, the invoice should be issued within 30 days from the date of supply of service (Rule 47 of CGST Rules,2017).

Revision of Invoice

An invoice can be revised by a registered person. As per Rule 53 of CGST Rules, it should specifically contain the following details in addition to the details required in the original invoice:

  • The word "Revised Invoice", wherever applicable, is indicated prominently;
  • Serial number and date of the corresponding tax invoice


In GST, invoices should be compliant with provisions of the GST Act and Rules. An invoice acts as a basic proof of supply as well as the primary document for claiming Input Tax Credit. 

Therefore, its format should include all details required as per GST law and it should be issued within the time limit specified.

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