Complete Guide to GST Returns in India


    Through the GST portal managed by the GST Network (GSTN), firms registered under GST must submit GST Returns monthly, quarterly, and annually, depending on the type of business. In these GST Returns, companies must provide the specifics of the sales and purchase of products and services.

    In this article, we will dive deep into understanding GST Returns, who should file GST Returns, the types of GST Returns, how to file GST Returns and much more.

    What is a GST Return?

    A GST Return is a document used by the tax authorities to calculate the tax liability of a GST-registered taxpayer. It mentions the details of sales, income, expenses and purchases made by the taxpayer in a specified period, depending on the type of Return. Every GST-registered taxpayer is required to file GST Returns on the GST Portal, but the filing frequency may change depending on the business’s size and the taxpayer’s filing frequency. More on this later.

    GST Returns include the following information:

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    Who Should File GST Returns?

    Businesses with an annual turnover greater than ₹5 crores must file 25 GST Returns annually. The frequency of filing these returns is as follows:

    This scheme applies only to regular businesses. However, there is an additional scheme known as the Quarterly Return and Monthly Payments (QRMP) Scheme. This scheme can only be opted for by businesses with an annual turnover below ₹5 crores. If such a business has opted for this scheme, they must file their GST returns (specifically GSTR 3B) only once a quarter.

    How Many GST Returns are There?

    Under GST, there are a total of 13 different returns, as mentioned below:

    1. GSTR-1
    2. GSTR-3B
    3. GSTR-4
    4. GSTR-5
    5. GSTR-5A
    6. GSTR-6
    7. GSTR-7
    8. GSTR-8
    9. GSTR-9
    10. GSTR-10
    11. GSTR-11
    12. CMP-08, and
    13. ITC-04

    Note that every Return does not have to be filed by every taxpayer. Instead, the returns to be filed depend on the type of taxpayer and the type of registration obtained by the taxpayer.

    If a taxpayer has an annual turnover below ₹5 crores, they also need to furnish a self-certified reconciliation statement, Form GSTR-9C.

    Apart from GST Returns, taxpayers can access Forms GSTR-2A and GSTR-2B. These are input tax credit statements. GSTR-2A is a dynamic statement showing details of purchase related transactions (inward supplies). GSTR-2B is a static statement showing the details of input tax credit.

    What are the Different Types of GST Returns?

    The different types of GST Returns, along with their description and date of filing are mentioned in the table below:

    Return FormDescriptionFrequencyDue Date
    GSTR-1Details regarding outward supply of all taxable goods and services supplied externally.Monthly (Quarterly under QRMP Scheme)11th of the succeeding month.13th of the month after the end of quarter under QRMP Scheme.
    IFF (Optional under QRMP scheme)Details about the taxable goods and services supplied to other registered businesses (B2B).Monthly, but only for the first two months of the quarter13th of the succeeding month.
    GSTR-3BA summary return indicating the outward supplies made, input tax credit claimed, and tax payment made by the taxpayer.Monthly (Quarterly under QRMP Scheme)20th of the succeeding month.
    22nd or 24th of the month immediately after the end of the quarter***
    CMP-08A statement and challan for taxpayers registered under the GST Composition Scheme to pay their taxes.Quarterly18th of the month immediately after the end of the quarter.
    GSTR-4A return for taxpayers registered under the Composition Scheme.Annually30th of the month immediately after the end of a financial year.
    GSTR-5A return to be filed by non-resident taxable individuals.Monthly20th of the succeeding month.(Amended to the 13th of the succeeding month by Budget 2022, though yet to be notified by CBIC.)
    GSTR-5AA return to be filed by non-resident OIDAR (Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval) service providers.Monthly20th of the succeeding month.
    GSTR-6A return for an input service distributor to distribute eligible input tax credit to its branches.Monthly13th of the succeeding month.
    GSTR-7A return to be filed by registered persons who deduct tax at source (TDS).Monthly10th of the succeeding month.
    GSTR-8A return to be filed by e-commerce operators that includes information about supplies made and tax collected at source.Monthly10th of the succeeding month.
    GSTR-9An annual return to be filed by regular taxpayers.Annually31st December of the succeeding financial year.
    GSTR-9CA self-certified reconciliation statement.Annually31st December of the succeeding financial year.
    GSTR-10The final return to be filed by taxpayers whose GST registration has been cancelled.Once, when the GST registration is either cancelled or surrendered.Within 3 months from the date of registration cancellation or date of cancellation or registration order, whichever happens later.
    GSTR-11Details of inward supplies to be submitted by persons holding a UIN (Unique Identification Number) and claiming a refund.Monthly28th of the month succeeding the month for which statement is filed.
    ITC-04A statement to be filed by a principal/job-worker about the details of goods sent to/received from a job-worker.Annually(for Average Annual Turnover up to Rs.5 crore)
    Half-yearly(for Average Annual Turnover > Rs.5 crore)
    25th April if Average Annual Turnover is ₹5 crores or less.
    25th October and 25th April if Average Annual Turnover is greater than ₹5 crores.

    How to File GST Returns Online?

    All taxpayers, including manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, and consumers, must file their tax returns with the GST department each year. The process of filing tax returns has been automated under the new GST system. Using the software or apps made available by the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN), GST returns can be submitted online with the information on each GSTR form automatically filled in. The steps for submitting a GST return online are:

    Step 1: Go to the GST website.

    Step 2: Your state code and PAN number will be required to generate a 15-digit GST identification number.

    Step 3: Upload invoices using the software or the GST portal. For each invoice, a reference number will be provided.

    Step 4: Outgoing returns, incoming returns, and cumulative monthly returns must all be filed online after invoices have been uploaded. You have the option of fixing any problems and resubmitting the returns.

    Step 5: On or before the 10th of the following month, submit the GSTR-1 outward supply returns through the GST Common Portal (GSTN) information section.

    Step 6: The recipient will get information in GSTR-2A regarding the external supplies provided by the supplier.

    Step 7: The recipient must confirm, authenticate, and change the information regarding outgoing supplies and file the specifics of any credit or debit notes.

    Step 8: The recipient must fill out the GSTR-2 form with details on any inward supplies of taxable goods and services.

    Step 9: The supplier can accept or reject any changes to the GSTR-1A information the recipient provides regarding inward supply.

    How to Download GSTR Returns?

    The steps listed below can be used to quickly get the GST returns from the official GST portal:

    Step 1: Go to the GST portal

    Step 2: Select the ‘Services’ tab from the top menu by clicking on it.

    Step 3: Select the “Returns Dashboard” link under the “Returns” menu.

    Step 4: On the following page, choose the fiscal year and the timeframe for filing returns from the corresponding drop-down boxes.

    Step 5: Before choosing the GTR you want to download, click the “Search” tab.

    Step 6: Select the ‘Prepare Offline’ button next to the GSTR you’ve chosen.

    Step 7: Select the “Generate File” link under “Download.”

    Step 8: The request for file generation typically takes 20 minutes or less.

    Step 9: A download link will be generated once your file is ready. Select the “Click Here” option to view your GST Returns and download the ZIP file.

    How to File Returns with GSTN?

    The GSTN stores data of all GST-registered suppliers and customers to facilitate a quick and easy transaction. The information is then merged and kept for future use. The excel workbook, freely available on the common GST platform, can be downloaded by business entities. The template can be used to compile all the required information offline efficiently. The file needs to be finished and uploaded to the GST portal.

    What is the Penalty for not filing the Return on time?

    You will be responsible for paying interest and a late fee if your GST returns are not filed within the allotted time frames.

    18% interest is applied annually. The amount of unpaid tax that needs to be paid must be calculated by the taxpayer. From the day after filing to the day of payment, there will be a grace period.

    The cost of late fees is Rs. 100 per Act per day. As a result, it will cost Rs. 100 under CGST and Rs. 100 under SGST. The total will be Rs. 200 daily, with Rs. 5,000. Please note that the maximum amount of late fees has been amended as of the month/quarter ending in June 2021.

    Other articles related to GST Returns 

    Guide to GSTR-1

    Procedure to file GSTR-1

    Guide to GSTR-1A

    Guide to GSTR-2

    Procedure to file GSTR-2

    Guide to GSTR-2A

    Guide to GSTR-3

    Guide to GSTR-3B

    Guide to GSTR-4

    Guide to GSTR-9

    Guide to GSTR Nil Return 

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