As you may be aware that the GST Council has decided to introduce electronic-invoice (hereinafter called as E-invoice) on voluntary basis from January 2020.
Presently there is no standard defined for E-invoice under GST or under any other statute. Need has been felt of having a standard to ensure complete inter-operability of e-invoices across the entire GST eco-system so that e-invoices generated by one software can be read by any other software, thereby eliminating the need of fresh data entry, which is a pain point today and also responsible for lot of transcription error related non-reconciliation. Apart from the GST System, adoption of a standard will also ensure that an e-invoice shared by a seller with his buyer or bank or agent or any other player in the whole business eco-system can be read by machines and obviate and hence eliminate data entry errors. In short, standard will ensure machine readability across business eco-system. Many countries across the world have adopted standards for e-invoice, based on the Universal Business Language (UBL) Standard.
GSTN, in partnership with Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), has drafted an e-invoice standard, (referring and considering the PEPPOL standard, which is based on UBL standard) which also takes into account the requirement under tax laws and has features, which are required for international trade.