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August 20, 2020

FAQ on Signed QR Code in E-Invoicing System in GST

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in GST

FAQ on Signed QR Code in E-Invoicing System in GST

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. e-Invoicing system shall apply to those taxpayers with annual turnover exceeding Rs 500 crore instead of Rs 100 crore. Special Economic Zones (SEZ) units shall also be exempted from issuing e-invoices.

Quick Response Code is abbreviated as QR code. It is a two-dimensional barcode applied to items for presenting information in its machine-readable format. 

In the e-invoicing system, the QR Code will be used to provide information about a particular invoice in a quick manner, without the need to retrieve such information from an external source, say, the internet. This would serve the following needs:

  • It would help in increasing the efficiency of conducting commerce by using machines to capture the data contained in invoices for quick input.
  • It would help tax officers to determine whether a particular invoice is valid and contains all the relevant particulars with the use of handheld devices. This is especially useful when they are out on the field for search or visits
  • Once the Invoice Registration Portal (IRP) returns the e-invoice to the supplier after assigning the QR Code, the supplier only needs to use the QR Code to generate a PDF of the signed e-invoice. 

Following are some of features

1. The IRP will generate a QR code containing the unique IRN (hash) along with some important parameters of invoice and digital signature so that it can be verified by an Offline App.

2. IRP system will pass back this ‘Signed QR Code’ as part of the response to the request made by the tax payer for the IRN.

3. It is the signed QR code which will be easily verifiable by taxpayers as well as Tax Officers to validate whether the e-invoice has been reported to the IRP and accepted by it, as it will contain both the IRN as well as the Digital Signature of IRP as proof of having received and registered the e-invoice. If the signed JSON is tampered, then e-invoice will become invalid and the digital signature will fail.

4. The QR code will consist of the following e-invoice parameters:

  • GSTIN of Supplier
  • GSTIN of Recipient
  • Invoice number as given by Supplier
  • Date of generation of invoice
  • Invoice value (taxable value and gross tax)
  • Number of line items.
  • HSN Code of main item (the line item having highest taxable value)
  • Unique Invoice Reference Number (hash)

5. The Signed QR Code which is in Base64 form may be used by the tax payer to generate the QR code on the invoice copy.

6. The size of the printed signed QR code can be 2 X 2 inches. However, it depends on available size on the invoice. But it should be readable from the mobile.

7. The Signed QR Code can be verified by anyone using the offline app provided on the IRP portal.

The Signed QR code, when it is printed will look like as follows:

8. The Signed QR Code is passed by IRP for the IRN request in Base64 encoded form as follows

9. Signed QR Code is in the form of JWT. It has three parts — signature parameters, data and signature. These parts are separated by DOT in-between as indicated below in Red colour.

10. On decoding Signed QR Code parameter, it looks like as follows

FAQs On Signed QR Code

1. What is the purpose of Signed QR Code?

Answer: The IRP will generate a QR code containing the unique IRN (hash) along with some important parameters of invoice and digital signature so that it can be verified by an Offline App.

2. When would the Signed QR code be available?

Answer: IRP system will provide this ‘Signed QR Code’ as part of the response to the request made by the tax payer for the IRN generation.

3. How one can use the Signed QR Code?

Answer: Content of the signed QR code can be easily verified by the tax payers or Tax Officials to ascertain whether the invoice is registered with the IRP and is digitally signed by the IRP itself. By validating the content of the QR code data with the digitally signed content (which is part of the QR code itself) one can check the authenticity of the content. If the content of the QR code is tampered, the e-Invoice will become invalid and signature verification fails. The Signed QR Code can be verified by anyone using the offline app provided on the IRP portal.

4. What will be there in Signed QR Code?

Answer: The QR code will consist of the following e-invoice parameters:

  • GSTIN of supplier
  • GSTIN of Recipient (if applicable)
  • Invoice number as given by Supplier
  • Date of generation of invoice
  • Invoice value (taxable value and gross tax)
  • Number of line items.
  • HSN Code of main item (the line item having highest taxable value)
  • Unique Invoice Reference Number (hash)

5. Does tax payer have to print the Signed QR Code?

Answer: The Signed QR Code may be printed by the tax payer on the invoice copy.

6. What shall be size of the Signed QR code on the invoice?

Answer: The size of the printed signed QR code can be 2 X 2 inches. However, it depends on the size of the space available on the invoice. But it should be readable from the QR code scanners.

7. How the Signed QR code looks on the invoice?
Answer: When it is printed it will look like as follows:

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