Invoice Reference Number (IRN)

Each invoice uploaded by a seller to the Invoice Registration Portal and validated will receive a number called Invoice Reference Number (IRN). IRN is a 64 characters long, unique number in the GST system - irrespective of taxpayer, financial year and document type.

IRN will be issued by the Invoice Registration Portal on uploading of the JSON invoice file. IRN will be generated based on a combination of the supplier GSTIN, document type, document number and year of invoice. Document types are INV for invoice, CRN for credit note, DBN for debit note.

eInvoice QR Code

The IRP will digitally sign a JSON invoice submitted by the seller and also generate a QR code containing the unique IRN along with other invoice data so that it can be readily verified online. This QR code can be scanned by the buyer or any tax offer using an app to check the validity of invoice issued. The eInvoice QR code will contain the following information:

  • GSTIN of supplier
  • GSTIN of recipient
  • Invoice number as given by supplier
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice value
  • Number of line items
  • HSN code of main item (Item with highest value)
  • Unique Invoice Reference Number (IRN)

GST eInvoice Format

The GST eInvoice will be similar to the existing GST invoice format. It has been clarified by the GSTN that writing of IRN (64 characters) is not required by the seller. However, the IRN will be included in the QR code provided by the Invoice Registration Portal. The QR code will contain details of the invoice and the IRN. Thus, it is better to make digitally signed QR code as a response which will be proof of registration of invoice and print on invoices issued by a business.

Time Limit for Generating eInvoice

The time limit for generating an eInvoice will be notified by the Government. Without registration of an invoice with Invoice Registration Portal and generation of QR code, it will not be valid. Hence, before the movement of goods or delivery of goods or service or filing of GST returns, eInvoicing must be completed.

Cancellation of eInvoice

An eInvoice once generated can be fully cancelled within 24 hours on the Invoice Registration Portal. After 24 hours, cancellation of eInvoice on the Invoice Registration Portal will not be possible and the same will have to be done on the GST Portal before filing of GST return.

Once a GST eInvoice is cancelled, the same invoice number cannot be used again to generate another invoice.

Amendment of eInvoice

Amendments to eInvoice can be done on the GST Portal. All amendments to the eInvoice generated on the Invoice Registration Portal can be done only on the GST Portal. An amended invoice if again sent to IRP as a JSON file will get rejected as the IRN will be duplicate.

Frequently asked questions

What is e-Invoicing?

E-invoicing is a system of raising invoices under which invoices are generated. In othe words it is generated using a standardized format where the electronic data of the invoice can be shared with others.

Will the e-Invoice format be similar for all categories of taxpayers?

All businesses need to issue e-invoices using the same e-invoice schema laid down by the GSTN. The schema has mandatory and non-mandatory fields. All taxpayers are required to fill mandatory fields. Specific businesses can use non-mandatory fields as per their requirement.

What is the maximum number of line items supported by an e-Invoice?

The maximum number of line items allowed per e-Invoice is 100.

Can an e-Invoice be cancelled partially/fully?

An e-Invoice cannot be partially cancelled, it has to be cancelled fully. Once cancelled, it will need to be reported into the IRN within 24 hours. A cancellation done after 24 hours cannot be done on the IRN and needs to be manually cancelled on the GST portal before the returns are filed.

How can an e-Invoice be amended?

All the amendments to an e-invoice can be made only on the GST Portal. 

Is bulk-uploading of invoices be possible?

Yes, details of invoices can be entered in bulk in an excel based bulk convertor tool, available on the e-invoice portal.

For how long is the data available on the Government Portal?

On the IRP, the data will remain for only 24 hours. However, once an invoice has been registered and validated, it will be uploaded into the relevant GST return where it will be available for the entire financial year.

What is E-invoicing under the GST Tax Law Act?

E-invoicing is a system where the B2B invoices are authenticated electronically by using the GSTN for further using the GST portal. The invoice information is then transferred from this portal to the GST portal and the E-way portal bill.

Is E-invoicing mandatory?

Yes, E-invoicing by the notified person is mandatory to carry the supply of goods and serves or both to a person who is registered GST.

Is QR code required mandatorily for e-invoicing?

The QR code is mandatorily required from the 1st October 2020 for the taxpayers with their aggregate turnover exceeding Rs.500 crore in 2017-18 to 2019-20. By 1st January the E-invoicing is now mandatory for the businesses that exceed Rs.100 crore limit in 2017-18 to 2019-20. Further, it was extended for businesses that have a total turnover of more than Rs.50 crore from the 1st of April.

What is the turnover requirement limit for e-invoicing?

An E-invoicing system is mandatory for taxpayers with a turnover exceeding Rs.50 crore from the 1st of April 2021.

Is it possible to issue E-invoice after the invoice date?

Yes, it is possible to generate the IRN after a few days after the date of invoice, but this is violating the time of supply rules. Without the IRN the invoice will not be considered valid. Hence, it is better to generate the IRN when the invoices are raised.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is the quick response code that is mandatory on all the e-invoices that provide simplified access to the GST invoices that are eligible. The QR code is a two-dimensional bar code that can be read in a machine. The government has released a QR code verification app that can be used to verify e-invoice authenticity.

What happens when E-invoice is not generated?

If IRN is not generated then the invoice will not be issued. If the invoice is not registered on the IRP then the invoice will not be treated as a valid tax invoice for the GST-related matters and can attract a penalty of Rs. 10,000 for in case of non-compliance.

Can an E-invoice be exported?

An exporter needs to select the type of export while he is registering on the IRP. The exporters can use the existing invoice format for e-invoicing along with additionally capturing the QR code.

Is an e-Invoice necessary for delivery challan?

For obtaining the delivery challan the IRN is not required. Also, in the case of imports, the IRN is not required for the entry bill that is generated by the customs authorities.

What is an E-invoicing schema?

The supplier is required to keep the IRN against each invoice that is generated. Hence, it is useful to store the IRN in ERP as without the IRN an invoice is not considered to be legal. E-invoice schema is an instruction guide for the users that helps in understanding the different specifications, examples, and explanations.

What are the advantages of E-invoicing?

There has been a considerable reduction in fraud and the data entry errors have also reduced. The E-invoicing system uploads the invoice on the common portal which facilitates multipurpose reporting.

GST eInvoicing in City

Last updated: July 06, 2021


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