The GST (Goods and Services Tax) journey in India began back in the year 2000 and took 17 years to evolve into a full-fledged GST law that came into force on July 1, 2017. The existence of GST has removed the cascading effect of tax on the sale of goods and services and widened the tax base in India.
While it is easier for businesses to understand the advantages of GST law in India, many of them often face hurdles in GST return filing. It is because there are different types of GST returns that taxpayers have to file based on the kind of business they run.
Here, we will cover various aspects of GST return filing in detail, including different types of forms, steps on how to file GST, and more. Let’s start with the basics.
What is a GST return?
A GST return refers to the tax document or form that contains information about income/sales along with purchases/expenses that GST-registered taxpayers need to file with the authorities. This return is then used by the tax authorities to calculate their net tax liability.
A GST-registered dealer must know about accurate GST return filing that broadly includes:
- Output GST on sales
- Input tax credit (tax paid on purchases)
Furthermore, there are seven types of taxpayers that are covered under GST return filing laws, including:
- Composition taxable individuals
- Regular taxpayers
- Non-resident taxpayers
- TDS deductors
- Casual taxable person
- Input service distributor
- E-commerce operators
You should also know that GST returns are to be filed either monthly, quarterly, or annually.
How to file GST returns: 9-Step Process
An individual can file GST return online by following a nine-step process given below:
- Ensure that you/your business is registered under GST and have the 15-digit GSTIN with you based on your PAN and state code. In case you do not have GSTIN, register for it first before GST return filing.
- Visit the GST portal and click ‘Services’.
- Click on the ‘returns dashboard’ and then select the financial year and return filing period from the drop-down menu.
- Select the return you want to file and click ‘Prepare Online’.
- Enter the required values, including the amount (along with the late fee if applicable)
- Save the details you have filled and then click the ‘Submit’ button at the bottom of the page for GST return filing.
- Once you see the GST return filing status being changed to ‘Submitted’, scroll down and click ‘Payment of Tax’.
- Click ‘Check Balance’ to check cash and credit balance before you pay tax for the respective heads. Then click on ‘Offset Liability’ to make the payment online.
- Check the box against the given declaration and choose an authorized signatory from the given list before clicking on ‘File Form with DSC’/’File Form with EVC’. Lastly, make the payment for your respective GST return.
Who should file GST returns?
Under the GST regime, businesses having an annual aggregate turnover of Rs. 5 crore or more and individuals who have not chosen the QRMP (Quarterly Return Filing and Monthly Payment of Taxes) scheme need to file 25 returns in a year. These include two monthly returns and an annual return.
On the other hand, taxpayers with a turnover of less than Rs. 5 crore get the option to file GST returns under QRMP scheme. The number of GST return filings under this scheme is nine every year. Note that taxpayers enrolled under this scheme must pay the taxes every month though they file GST returns quarterly.
Penalty for late filing of GST returns
If a taxpayer fails to get the GST return filing done within the specified time limit, he/she will be liable to pay a late fee along with an interest. The interest here, is charged at the rate of 18% per annum on the outstanding tax amount. Along with this, there is a late fee of Rs. 100 each for CGST and SGST, amounting to Rs. 200 per day.
Different types of GST returns
There are 22 types of GST returns in total, out of which 11 are active, 8 are for view only, and 3 of them are suspended. The taxpayer needs to select the right type based on the GST registration being done and then proceed toward knowing how to file GST returns online.
The following table summarizes different types of GST return forms in brief:
|GST Return Form||About||GST Return Filing Frequency|
|GSTR-1||Covers details of the outward supplies of taxable goods/services|
|GSTR-2A (view only)||Covers details of purchases made (inward supplies) in a specific month||NA|
|GSTR-2B (view only)||Contains ITC (Input Tax Credit) data for a particular return period||NA|
|GSTR-3B||Contains a summary of outward supplies and ITC claimed, along with tax paid|
|CMP-08||Refers to the statement-cum-challan used for making a tax payment by taxpayers registered under the composition scheme (Section 10 of the CGST Act)||Quarterly|
|GSTR-4||Refers to the annual return to be filed by taxable individuals under the composition scheme||Annual|
|GSTR-5||GST returns to be filed by a non-resident foreign taxable person||Monthly|
|GSTR-5A||Summary of outward taxable supplies and tax payable by OIDAR service providers||Monthly|
|GSTR-6||Return to be filed by an Input Service Distributor (ISD) to distribute eligible ITC to its branches||Monthly|
|GSTR-7||GST returns to be filed by registered individuals deducting TDS||Monthly|
|GSTR-8||Return form to be filed by the e-commerce operators registered under the GST regime||Monthly|
|GSTR-9||Annual return to be filed by a regular taxpayer||Annually|
|GSTR-9C||Self-certified statement filed by all taxpayers registered under the GST regime and having a turnover of more than Rs. 2 crores in a year||Annually|
|GSTR-10||Return to be filed by a taxpayer whose GST registration was either canceled or surrendered||Once, at the time of cancelation or surrender of GST registration|
|GSTR-11||Details of inward supplies to be furnished by an individual having a UIN to claim a refund||Monthly|
How to download GST returns form?
Given below are the steps to download forms for GST return filing:
- Visit the GST portal.
- Click Service => Returns => Return dashboard.
- Select the month/year and then click ‘Prepare Offline’.
- Navigate to ‘Download’ and then generate a file.
- Download the ZIP file which contains the required return form.
How to check GST return filing status?
You can check GST return filing status online using the steps given below:
- Visit the GST portal at: https://www.gst.gov.in/.
- Enter the login details and then click Service > Returns > Track Return Status.
- Select the ‘Status of Return’ option from the drop-down menu.
- Click Search to view the return status, which can be – TO BE FILED, FILED – VALID, FILED – INVALID, etc.
Due dates for GST return filing
Given below are the GST return filing dates for different types of return forms:
|GST Return Form||Due date|
|GSTR-1||11th of the next month (monthly) / 13th of the month after every quarter|
|GSTR-3B||20th of the next month / 22nd or 24th of the next month succeeding the quarter|
|GSTR-4||30th of the next month succeeding a financial year|
|GSTR-5||20th of the next month|
|GSTR-5A||20th of the next month|
|GSTR-6||13th of the next month|
|GSTR-7||10th of the next month|
|GSTR-8||10th of the next month|
|GSTR-9||Dec 31 of the next financial year|
|GSTR-9C||Dec 31 of the next financial year|
|GSTR-10||Within 3 months of the date of cancellation|
|GSTR-11||28th of the month following the month for which a taxpayer files the statement|
How to file a GST return online?
There are different return forms to be filled out to file GST returns online. You can also take help from a tax professional to understand the process and get things done timely. Read the steps given above for more details.
Do I need to pay GST every month?
All taxpayers are liable to pay GST every month, including those who have opted for the QRMP scheme. For small business owners, there is an option to select the composition scheme under GST provided their annual turnover is less than Rs. 1.5 crore (manufacturers/dealers) and Rs. 50 lakh for service providers.
Can I revise the GST return filed already?
There is no procedure to revise a GST return. All the unreported invoices related to the previous tax period must be included in the current month’s return and interest if applicable.
What is the penalty for not filing GST returns?
The GST department will track all the non-filers. A list of GST return filing defaulters will be provided to the respective authorities for follow-up and enforcement action. Besides this, the GST law also includes the imposition of late fees for both non-filers and late-filers.
Who need not file the GSTR-1?
Taxpayers under the composition scheme, Input Service Distributors, non-resident taxpayers, and e-commerce operators deducting TCS are not required to file GSTR-1.
Who should file nil GSTR-1?
A taxpayer/dealer must file a Nil GSTR-1 if he has no business activity (no sales) during a month or quarter.