What is a Credit Note? | Meaning, Examples & Templates

What is a Credit Note and its Format?

A credit note is a document that a seller issues to a buyer in order to adjust or rectify an error in a previous invoice or bill. The main purpose of a credit note is to correct a mistake on an invoice or provide a refund to the buyer. In some cases, a credit note may also be issued to adjust the amount of GST charged on an invoice. The credit note will contain the same information as the original invoice, including the date, the seller's information, the buyer's information, and a description of the purchased goods or services.

The credit note will also have a credit amount, which is the amount that the buyer will receive back from the seller. The buyer will then use the credit note to adjust the amount owed on the original invoice. You can simplify the invoicing process on the Kernel website.

Here’s what the Credit Note template looks like:

What information should be included in a credit note?

In India, the GST law requires that all credit notes must be issued within 30 days from the date of the original invoice. If you are issuing a credit note for a return of goods, there are a few things you should know when making a credit note:

1. According to the Indian GST law, a credit note can be issued by the registered seller who has supplied the goods or services within 1 year from the invoice date.

2. Every credit note issued in India should contain the following information:

  • The name, address and GSTIN of the seller
  • The name, address and GSTIN of the buyer
  • The original invoice number and date
  • A unique credit note number and date
  • A brief description of the goods or services that were purchased
  • The quantity of each item
  • The unit price of each item
  • The total amount of the credit note
  • The GST(goods and service tax) rate and the amount that is being refunded or adjusted
  • The reason for issuing the credit note
  • The signature of the seller

3. The credit note should be serially numbered and kept in the seller's records for five years.

4. The credit note should be made available to the buyer on request.

5. The credit note should be filed with the GST return.

6. The credit note should be stamped with the company's official stamp.

7. The credit note should be sent along with the invoice to the buyer.

How should long businesses maintain records of credit notes?

It is important to note that the credit note should be issued within thirty days from the date of the invoice. If the credit note is issued after the due date, the buyer will be unable to avail of the credit. You should also keep in mind that you should keep a copy of the credit note for your records for 72 months from the date of issue.

How to make a credit note?

The most interesting part for you is probably how to make a credit note, so read this subsection carefully. A credit note can be created manually or by using accounting software.

Manually creating a credit note requires the following steps:

1. Determine the reason for issuing the credit note.

2. Choose the appropriate invoice against which a credit note must be raised.

3. Enter the relevant details in the credit note.

4. Verify the credit note for accuracy.

5. Print or download the credit note in the required format.

Some common reasons why is a Credit Note issued under GST?

There are many reasons why a business may issue a credit note. Some of the most common reasons for issuing credit notes include:

1. To adjust the value of an invoice: If a customer overpays, the customer can ask for a credit note to be issued to receive a refund for the excess amount.

2. Reversal of transaction: A credit note will be issued if a transaction is reversed.

3. To adjust the value of an invoice that has been partially paid.

4. To correct discrepancies in an original invoice: If there is an error in an invoice, such as an incorrect item or quantity being charged, the customer can ask for a credit note to be issued so that they can receive a refund for the wrong amount.

5. To refund the customer for a return: If the customer returns damaged goods that they have purchased, the seller can issue a credit note for the value of the returned goods.

6. To provide a discount to the customer: If the seller wants to give a discount to the customer, they can do so by issuing a credit note for the value of the discount.

7. To cancel an invoice: If an invoice needs to be cancelled, either by the customer or the business, the seller can issue a credit note to refund the customer for the amount that was invoiced.

8. To make any other changes to an invoice: for example, if an invoice is modified or there is a change in the GST rate.

You should also be aware that there are different types of credit notes, and the kind of credit note you issue will depend on the nature of the transaction and the reason for the credit note.

Tax liability of credit notes in India

If the credit note issued reduces tax liability, the supplier should pay the difference in tax to the government. If the credit note increases tax liability, the recipient should pay the difference in tax to the supplier.


Credit Notes as optional documents in India

A credit note is not a mandatory document in India, but it is advisable to issue one whenever a transaction is cancelled or modified. GST law does not specifically mention credit notes, but it does say debit notes. A credit note can be seen as an optional document that a seller may issue to a buyer in certain situations.

What’s the difference between a Debit Note and a Credit Note?

A debit note is a document issued by a seller to a buyer to adjust a previous invoice. Debit notes are typically used when there is a discrepancy between an original invoice and what was received or when there are damaged goods. A credit note, on the other hand, is a document issued by a seller to a buyer to indicate that the buyer is entitled to a discount or a credit. A credit note is typically used when an invoice is cancelled, or goods are returned.

The main difference between a debit note and a credit note is that a debit note indicates that the buyer owes the seller money. In contrast, a credit note indicates that the buyer is entitled to a discount or a credit.

If you want more detailed information on Debit notes, read this article:

What is the difference between a Credit Note and a Sales return

First, you should know that a Credit note is equivalent to a Sales Return. A credit note is a type of sales return issued by the seller or supplier of the product to the buyer or client, confirming that it has been accepted.

In India, a credit note is issued when there is a mistake in the original invoice or when the customer returns purchased goods. In the meantime, a sales return is issued when the customer is unsatisfied with the goods purchased.

If you want to know more about Sales Return, read this article: What is Debit Note? | Meaning, Examples & Templates

What is the difference between a Credit Note and a standard invoice in India?

A seller issues a credit note to a buyer to adjust a previous invoice, while a seller issues a standard invoice to a buyer to purchase goods or services.

A credit note is issued to adjust a previous invoice, whereas a standard invoice is issued for the sale of goods or services. A credit note may be issued for various reasons, such as to cancel an invoice, provide a discount to the buyer, or return goods to the seller.

FAQs on credit notes in India

1. What is a credit note?

A credit note is a document that a seller issues to a buyer in certain situations, such as when an invoice is cancelled or goods are returned.

2. What is the difference between credit and debit notes?

A debit note is a document issued by a buyer to a seller in certain situations, such as when an invoice is incorrect or when goods are returned. A seller issues a credit note to a buyer.

3. What is the difference between a credit note and a standard invoice?

A credit note is issued in certain situations, such as when an invoice is incorrect, or goods are returned. A standard invoice is issued in all other cases.

4. What is the difference between a credit note and a sales return?

A credit note is issued in certain situations, such as when an invoice is incorrect, or goods are returned. A sales return is issued when goods are returned, but no invoice is involved.

5. For how much time Credit Notes should be maintained?

You need to keep a copy of the credit note for your records for 72 months from the date of issue.