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Introduction to GST Returns

Updated on October 1st, 2019 in GST Return

Pre 1st July 2017, a manufacturer, trader, retailer or any other business was filing returns for various compliance’s – Excise, VAT, Service Tax, Sales Tax, and Income Tax etc. with individual returns for each of them. A continuous process of filing returns – monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly existed and businesses were apparently occupied throughout the year for filing one or the other return.

The basic features of the GST returns mechanism in GST include electronic filing of GST returns, uploading of invoice level information and auto-population of information relating to Input Tax Credit (ITC) from GST returns of supplier to that of recipient, invoice-level information matching and auto reversal of Input Tax Credit in case of mismatch. The returns mechanism is designed to assist the taxpayer to file returns and avail ITC smoothly.

Filing of GST Returns

Online filing of GST returns is a new phenomenon for the Indian businesses and there are three ways to file a GST return:

  • Do it all by yourself and file it at the GSTN portal [gst.gov.in], which might be a bit confusing and may lead to incorrect disclosure of information resulting in a direct hit on the GST compliance rating.
  • Offline utilities provided by GSTN
  • Bring on board a GST Suvidha provider / Application Service Provider [ASP] and use its automated GST solution, which would make an accurate return filing look just like a few clicks.

What is GST Return?

A GST Return is a form that shall be filed by every registered taxable person. Further, GST Return can be furnished either through the portal or GST software such as Masters India GST Solution. Furnishing GST Returns helps the GST authorities to carry out taxpayer’s assessment.

The common details that a GST Return carries are:

  • Inward supplies
  • Outward supplies
  • Output GST Liability
  • Input tax credit or ITC

Who Should File GST Returns?

Every normal taxable person has to file 2 monthly GST Return and 1 Annual GST Return under GST regime. So, in total a taxpayer has to file almost 26 GST Returns annually. The best thing about the GST system is that GSTR 2A data gets auto populated when supplier file GSTR 1.

Types of GST Returns

The returns are structured and mentioned in a numerological manner [from GSTR 1 – GSTR 11] to ensure capturing of the minutest transaction between the two parties. Primarily, there are total eleven GST returns starting from GSTR-01 to GSTR-11 catering to varied form of tax payers. Here are the different types of GST Return:

GST Return FormWhat to File?By Whom?By When?Frequency
Form GST MIS-1Communication of acceptance, discrepancy or duplication of input tax credit claimRegistered Taxable SupplierNAMonthly
GSTR 1Details of outward supplies of taxable goods and/or services effectedRegistered Taxable Supplier10th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 1ADetails of outward supplies as added, corrected or deleted by the recipient  in Form GSTR-2 will be made available to supplierRegistered Taxable Supplier17th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 2Details of inward supplies of taxable goods and/or services effected claiming input tax credit.Registered Taxable Recipient15th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 2AAuto-populated details of inward supplies made available to the recipient on the basis of Form GSTR-1 furnished by the supplierRegistered Taxable Recipient11th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 3Monthly return on the basis of finalization of details of outward supplies and inward supplies along with the payment of amount of tax.Registered Taxable Person20th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 3ANotice to a registered taxable person who fails to furnish returnsRegistered Taxable PersonNA15 Days from default
GSTR 4Quarterly return for compounding taxable person.Composite Tax Payer18th of the month succeeding quarterQuarterly
GSTR 4ADetails of inward supplies made available to the recipient registered under composition scheme on the basis of Form GSTR-1 furnished by the supplierComposite Tax PayerNAQuarterly
GSTR 5Return for Non-Resident foreign taxable personNon-Resident Taxable Person20th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 6Furnish the details of input credit distributedInput Service Distributor13th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 6ADetails of inward supplies made available to the ISD recipient on the basis of Form GSTR-1 furnished by the supplierInput Service Distributor13th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 7Return for authorities deducting tax at source [TDS]Tax Deductor10th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 7ATDS Certificate – capture details of value on which TDS is deducted and deposit on TDS deducted into appropriate Govt.Tax DeductorTDS certificate to be made available for downloadMonthly
GSTR 8Details of supplies effected through e-commerce operator and the amount of tax collectedE-commerce Operator/Tax Collector10th of the next monthMonthly
GSTR 9furnish the details of ITC availed and GST paid which includes local, interstate and import/exports.Registered Taxable Person31st December of next financial yearAnnually
GSTR 9AFurnish the consolidated details of quarterly returns filed along with tax payment details.Composite Tax Payer31st Dec of next financial yearAnnually
GSTR 9BAnnual statement containing the details of outward supplies of goods or services or both effected through an e-commerce operator, including the supplies of goods or services or both returned and the amount collected underE-commerce Operator/Tax Collector31st Dec of next financial yearAnnually
GSTR 9CReconciliation Statement – audited annual accounts and a reconciliation statement, duly certified.Exceeding annual turover of 2 crore rupees31st Dec of next financial yearAnnually
GSTR 10Final ReturnTaxable person whose registration has been surrendered or cancelled.Within three months of the date of cancellation or date of cancellation order, whichever is later.Monthly
GSTR 11Details of inward supplies to be furnished by a person having UINPerson having UIN and claiming refund28th of the month following the month for which statement is filedMonthly


An eagle’s eye view on the overall GSTR portfolio, would look like this:

File GST Return

Different returns apply to different categories. The below snapshot quickly explains this:

Normal/E-Commerce/ CasualISDGovernmentCompoundingNRI
Required Returns to be filedGSTR 1GSTR 6GSTR 7GSTR 4GSTR 5


There is a vast business population, which would not be affected at all or much.

Approximately, 80% of the businesses will not feel the heat with no GST returns to file or just a quarterly one.

  • Any business with an annual turnover up to 40 LPA [lakhs per annum] is excluded from the GST laws(depending upon the states).
  • Businesses operating between 40 LPA – 1.5 Cr. will just have to file one quarterly GST return, i.e. just four returns in a year. If a business opts for the composition scheme, there would not be much details asked and just the total turnover. Composition scheme applies to the product based businesses and is not for the service providers.
  • An enterprise operating above 1.5 Crore will be required to file three monthly returns GSTR-1, GSTR-2, GSTR-3. 

Prompt and accurate GST return filing will be critical, to ensure timely returns and a high GST Compliance Rating.

Any deviation from filing the returns can lead to penalties and interests. It can also cause disallowance or delay in getting the input tax credit. There’s an automated late fine for the late filers.  Each day’s delay will cost Rs. 100/- [tentative], with a maximum limit up to Rs. 5000/-. In the case of annual returns, the fine is Rs. 100 per day with a maximum limit of .25% of the aggregate turnover.

Timely and accurate filing of returns will ensure delivery of credit to the last recipient.

What is GSTIN?

Every business will be assigned a unique identification number called the GSTIN number, against which all of your GST returns would be filed. The GST returns can be filed online, using the services of a GSP [GST Suvidha Provider], who will accurately consolidate all your invoices, prepare your application of GSTreturn filing and get your return registered at GSTN.

The Bottom Line

If you need any assistance or consultation in filing the GST returns, the deft team at Masters India is here to help you. AutoTax from Masters India, a GST Suvidha Provider is a fully automated GST Software, which along with other functionalities also ensures that you always file GST returns timely and accurately.