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What is a GST Return?

A GST return is a document containing the following information:

  • Total purchase details

  • Total sales made

  • Total tax collected on sales, known as the output tax

  • Total tax paid on purchases called the input tax

 

After GST filing, you must pay the government net tax liability. Simply put, it is a form you need to file as a taxpayer. Read on to understand more about GST filing online, and different types of GST returns.

Who Should File a GST Return?

The entities that must file GST returns are: 

  1. A registered dealer must submit returns for purchases and sales, output GST (on sales), and input tax credit (GST paid on purchases).

  2. A trader with a yearly turnover of ₹1.5 Crores or less who has opted for the composition scheme is required to file just one GST return in a financial year.

  3. Entities with over ₹20 Lakhs in annual turnover must have a valid GST registration and file returns. In certain states, the annual turnover limit is set at ₹10 Lakhs.  

 

You may refer to the table below for details on various types of GST returns and which category of businesses are eligible to file which type of returns:

GST Return Type

Who Should File the Return?

GSTR-1

All regular, GST-registered businesses

GSTR-3B

All regular, GST-registered businesses

GSTR- 4

Dealers who have opted for the composition scheme

GSTR-5

Non-resident foreigners with businesses in India

GSTR-5A

Non-resident OIDAR (Online Information and Database Access) service providers

GSTR-6

Input Service Distributors (ISD)

GSTR-7

Businesses who deduct TDS

GSTR-8

E-commerce operators

GSTR-9

All regular, GST-registered businesses

GSTR-9C

All regular, GST-registered businesses

GSTR-10

Businesses whose GST registration was cancelled or surrendered

GSTR-11

Every registered business with a UIN

Types of GST Returns

The following table illustrates various types of GST returns along with their due dates and the frequency of filing:

Type of GST Return

Details

Frequency of Filing

Due Date

GSTR-1

Details of the outward supplies of all the taxable goods and services.

  • Monthly

  • Quarterly (if opted under the QRMP scheme)

  • 11th of the following month

  • 13th of the month succeeding the quarter (for quarterly filing)

GSTR-3B

Details of all the outward supplies and the input tax credit claimed along with the tax amount paid.

  • Monthly

  • Quarterly (if opted under the QRMP scheme)

  • 20th of the following month

  • 22nd or 24th of the month succeeding the quarter (for quarterly filing)

GSTR-4

GST return for the businesses who have opted for the composition scheme.

  • Annually

  • 30th of the month succeeding the given financial year

GSTR-5

GST returns filed by non-resident taxable persons.

  • Monthly

  • 20th of the following month

GSTR-5A

GST return filed by non-resident OIDAR service providers.

  • Monthly

  • 20th of the following month

GSTR-6

GST return filed by input tax distributor to distribute the input tax credit to its branches.

  • Monthly

  • 13th of the following month

GSTR-7

GST returns filed by registered businesses that deduct TDS.

  • Monthly

  • 10th of the following month

GSTR-8

GST returns filed by e-commerce operators detailing the supplies affected and the amount of tax collected at source.

  • Monthly

  • 10th of the following month

GSTR-9

GST Annual returns filed by all regular GST-registered businesses.

  • Annually

  • 31st December of the next financial year

GSTR 9C

Self-certified annual audit.

  • Annually

  • 31st December of the next financial year

GSTR-10

Final GST return filed by a business whose GST registration has been cancelled.

  • When the registration is cancelled

  • Within three months of cancellation of registration

GSTR-11

Details of inward supplies provided by an individual with a UIN.

  • Monthly

  • 28th of the following month

How to File GST Returns Online?

You can easily file your GST returns online on the GST portal. All you must do is follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Visit the official GST portal at www.gst.gov.in and log in with your credentials

  • Step 2: Wait to get redirected to the “Dashboard” and click on “Continue to Dashboard” 

  • Step 3: View your ledger balance, if any, and click on “File Returns”

  • Step 4: Fill in the financial year, the return filing period in the designated space, and click on “Search”

  • Step 5: Select the type of return, GSTR - 1 or 3B, you wish to file and click on “Prepare Online”

  • Step 6: Based on your tax liability, pick the appropriate choice. If you have no liability, click on the “File Nil GSTR” option and click on “File Statement”

  • Step 7: Confirm the check box in this part of the GST return filing process and select the authorised signatory, from the dropdown menu

  • Step 8: Select the “File with EVC” option, and provide the OTP you receive on your registered mobile

How to File GST Returns with GSTN?

The Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) stores information about all GST-registered sellers and buyers to ensure a streamlined and straightforward process. The data is then combined and maintained for future reference. 

 

Business entities can download the excel workbook available on the common GST portal free of charge. In addition, the template can be used to collate all the necessary information offline. 

 

Once done, the file must be uploaded to the GST portal. This way, you can file your final return under GST using GSTN. 

How to Download GST Returns

You can download the GST return filing form from the official GST portal by following the steps given below: 

  • Step 1: Log in to the GST portal, i.e. www.gst.gov.in

  • Step 2: Click on the ‘Services’ tab in the top menu

  • Step 3: Choose the ‘Refunds Dashboard’ under the ‘Refunds’ option

  • Step 4: Select the financial year and the return filing period from the respective drop-down boxes on the next page

  • Step 5: Click on the ‘Search’ tab before selecting the GSTR you wish to download

  • Step 6: Click on the ‘Prepare Offline’ button under the selected GSTR

  • Step 7: Select the ‘Generate File’ option under ‘Download’

 

A download link will be generated once your file is prepared. Then, select the ‘Click Here’ button and download the ZIP file to view your GST returns.

Read More

Important Invoices When Filing the GST Return

When your business is registered with GST, you must provide certain invoices to your clients for the sale of goods and services. All GST-listed merchants will issue you a buying invoice compliant with GST

 

You may personalise this invoice with your company logo. Hence, a tax invoice is essential when you file your GST returns. Ideally, your GST return filing invoice must include the following particulars:

  • Invoice date

  • Title of the customer

  • Area of supply

  • Billing and transportation location

  • Your and your client’s GSTIN

  • Details of the item

  • Taxable value and discounts 

  • Volume and rate of taxes

  • Supplier’s signature

  • If GST is paid on a reverse charge basis

  • SAC/HSN code

Read More

Essential Documents Required for GST Return Filing

Remember that the following documents are crucial when filing your GST returns.

  • GSTIN of the customer

  • Complete invoice list, including B2C and B2B services

  • Invoice type

  • Place of supply

  • Applicable GST rate

  • Invoice number

  • Taxable value

  • HSN-wise summary details

  • Consolidated list of inter- and intra-state sales

  • Summary of credit and debit notes

  • Amount of applicable CGST, IGST, GST and SGST

Types of GST Return Filing Status

When you check your GST return status on the official GST portal, you may come across any of the four following statuses for your GST return:

  1. To Be Filed: This status indicates that the return is due but has not been filed yet.

  2. Submitted But Not Filed: This status means that your return has been filed and validated, but the same has not been updated in the GST records.

  3. Filed-Valid: This status indicates that the return has been filed successfully, and the tax has also been paid as per the filing.

  4. Filed-Invalid: It means that the return has been filed but the tax has not been paid, or there is a shortfall in the amount paid.

How to Check the GST Return Filing Status?

You can check the status of the GST return you have filed in any of the following three ways:

1. Tracking GST Return Status Using the Return Filing Period

  • Step 1: Visit the official GST portal and log in with your credentials

  • Step 2: Select the ‘Services’ tab from the top menu

  • Step 3: Click on ‘Track Return Status’ under the ‘Returns’ option

  • Step 4: Choose the ‘Return Filing Period’ option

  • Step 5: Select the financial year and the return filing period from the respective drop-down menus

  • Step 6: Click on ‘Search,’ and the GST return status will be displayed on your screen

2. Tracking GST Return Status Using the ARN Option

  • Step 1: Visit the official GST portal and log in with your credentials

  • Step 2: Select the ‘Services’ tab from the top menu

  • Step 3: Click on ‘Track Return Status’ under the ‘Returns’ option

  • Step 4: Select the ARN option and enter your ARN in the designated field

  • Step 5: Click on ‘Search,’ and you can see the status of your GST return on the screen

3. Tracking GST Return Status Using the ‘Status Option’

  • Step 1: Visit the official GST portal and log in with your credentials

  • Step 2: Select the ‘Services’ tab from the top menu

  • Step 3: Click on ‘Track Return Status’ under the ‘Returns’ option

  • Step 4: Select the ‘Status’ option and select the GST return for which you wish to check the status

  • Step 5: Click on ‘Search,’ and you can see the status of your return on the screen

Read More

Upcoming Due Dates to file GST Returns

To avoid any late payment fee, you must be aware of the upcoming due date for filing your GST returns. Here are the due dates you need to keep in mind this year:

GST Return Form Name

Filing Period

Due Date in 2024

GSTR-7

Monthly (January 2024)

February 10, 2024

GSTR-8

Monthly (January 2024)

February 10, 2024

GSTR-1

Monthly (January 2024)

February 11, 2024

GSTR-6

Monthly (January 2024)

February 13, 2024

GSTR-5 

Monthly (January 2024)

February 13, 2024

GSTR-5A

Monthly (January 2024)

February 20, 2024

GSTR-3B

Annual turnover of up to ₹5 Crores in the previous financial year monthly filing – Monthly (January 2022)

February 20, 2024

GST-11

Monthly (January 2024)

February 28, 2024

GSTR-1 (T.O. up to ₹1.5 Crores)

Quarterly (January 2024 to March 2024)

April 13, 2024

GSTR-4

Annually (FY 2023-24)

April 30, 2024

GSTR-9/GSTR-9C

Financial Year 2023-2024

December 31, 2024

Disclaimer: The due dates mentioned may change depending on the amendments to the GST Rules.

Penalty for Late Filing of GST Returns

In case you fail to file GST returns on time, you are liable to pay two types of penalties: 

  • Late Fee: Fines applicable are ₹100 per day, after the due date. This is applicable on late filing of CGST and SGST each (total of ₹200 per day), subject to a maximum late fee of ₹5,000.

  • Interest: The taxpayer is also liable to pay interest at 18% per annum on the total amount of tax to be paid. This interest rate is applicable from the due date of filing the return till the payment is made.

Taxpayer Category 

Late Fee Capped at

Ones who have a total amount of central tax payable amounting to zero

₹250

Ones who have an annual aggregate turnover of up to ₹1.5 Crores in the previous financial year

₹1,000

Ones who have an annual aggregate turnover of more than ₹1.5 Crores and up to ₹5 Crores in the previous financial year 

₹2,500

Benefits of GST Return Filing

Now that you know the procedure to file your returns and check the GST filing status, here are a few benefits of filing your GST returns on time. 

  • You can avoid unnecessary interest levied on the outstanding tax amount

  • You can claim the input tax credit when you file your returns promptly

  • You can file your GST returns through a single form, making the process easy and simple

  • GST implementation helps provide higher threshold advantages to small-scale businesses

  • Introduction of GST has eliminated the cascading effect of tax

  • You have to follow a lesser number of compliances with the implementation of GST 

FAQs on GST Returns

What is a GST return?

A GST return is an official record that includes information about all purchases, sales, taxes paid on purchases, and taxes received on sales. Following the submission of the GST returns, you must settle your tax debt.

How many types of GST returns are there?

There are 11 types of GST returns.

Who should file a GST return?

A registered dealer is required under the GST system to submit returns for purchases, sales, output GST (on sales), and input tax credit (GST paid on purchases).

When should the GST return be filed?

GST return has to be filed within the due dates provided in government circulars or notices. 

Is filing a GST return mandatory?

Yes, it is mandatory for every GST-registered business owner to file GST returns as applicable to their business type and size.

How many GST returns are to be filed in a year?

The number of GST returns to be filed depends upon the nature and the size of the business. A regular GST-registered business with an annual turnover greater than ₹5 Crores is required to file 25 GST returns in a year. 

 

Businesses with turnover up to ₹5 Crores can opt for the QRMP (Quarterly Return Filing and Monthly Payment of Taxes) scheme. In that case, only 9 returns are to be filed in a year. 

 

Businesses with turnover up to ₹1.5 Crores can also opt for the composition scheme under which they are required to file just one return in the entire financial year.

Can the taxpayer change the period of filing the return?

Yes, apart from the mandatory annual return, you can file your GST returns monthly or quarterly. However, if you have opted for the composition scheme, you need to file only one return - GSTR-4 - in a financial year.

For taxpayers who file returns on a quarterly basis, what are the types of regular returns that should be used?

The regular GST returns that must be used for taxpayers with an annual total turnover of up to ₹5 Crores are either Sahaj, Sugam, or normal quarterly returns.

If documents are left pending by recipients, can amendments be made to the documents by the supplier?

Only after the recipient has rejected the document can suppliers make changes; changes cannot be made while the document is still waiting.

Is CA required to file GST returns?

No, CA is not required to file GST returns.

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