GST Returns

Last Updated at: Jan 15, 2021
gst returns
In a welcome move towards taxpayer facilitation, the Government recently allowed the filing of NIL GST monthly return in FORM GSTR-3B through SMS. From now on, the taxpayers with NIL liability need not log on to the GST Portal. They may simply file NIL returns through an SMS. After successful filing, an ARN will be sent to the taxpayer through SMS. With the  ARN, they can track the status of their returns.


On 12 June 2020, it was reported that the GST council had voted to reduce the late fee for filing GSTR 3B returns for the period from July 2017 to January 2020.


All businesses across the country must understand that they will have to file GST returns every month. This state applies even for those entities who have not generated any transactions during a month. They will have to state the same in their returns filed before the designated and official authority.

A registered taxpayer will have to file returns for Goods and Services Tax (GST) every month. A return, for the unitiated, is the paperwork that a taxpayer is required to file in accordance with the tax authorities. It is basically a record of all the taxes collected from customers. In this article, we look at all the technical details on how to file the returns, who should be filing it and more.

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Who should be filing the GST returns?

Under GST, every person registered under the new regime would be required to file timely returns. Even if a legal entity has no activity, it will still be required to file returns as GST Nil Return to stay out of trouble with GST compliance issues.

How often does one need to file their returns?

Every person registered as a taxpayer has to file outward supply details in Form GSTR-1. This needs to be done by the 10th of the subsequent month. On the next day i.e. the 11th, inward supplies are made available to the recipient in GSTR-2A. Now, till the 15th, corrections can be made in the form with respect to any additions, deletions, modifications. This is finally submitted in Form GSTR-2. The corrections henceforth on GSTR-2, will be available to the supplier in GSTR-1A. The supplier then has to accept or reject the corrections made after which GSTR-1 will be amended accordingly.

Discover the GST rate, HSN code, or SAC code for all goods and services by using our GST rate finder service. This finder service is also known as the HSN code finder. For products and services, GST is calculated on the basis of an item’s HSN or SAC code.


Then, on the 20th, GSTR-3 will be made available or submission along with payment. Once this is filed properly, inward and outward supplies will be matched and then the final input tax credit will be put forward in Form GST ITC-1.

In a nutshell, all those registered as regular taxpayers have to pay it thrice a month:

GSTR-1, which would contain the details of the outward supplies, has to be filed by 10th of every month;
GSTR-2, which would contain details of inward supplies, would be due by the 15th of each month;
GSTR-3, which is the monthly return, would be due by the 20th of every month.

Compounding taxpayers will have to file their returns on a quarterly basis through GSTR-4, on the 18th day after the end of the quarter.

In addition to monthly and quarterly returns, there is an annual return that needs to be filed by the December 31. Requisite GST reconciliation statement has to be duly filed by the appointed chartered accountant.

How must one file GST returns?

All returns have to be filed online via a common government approved portal, GSTN. While you can prepare your return documents offline, you will have to submit the same via the GST Registration online portal.

Another thing to note here is that one can not merely revise their returns once they are filed under GST. For example, if you realize that there are unreported invoices of the previous tax period, you can only include the same in the current tax period.

What happens when you miss filing your returns?

Everything has to be filed online. The new law would provide for an automatic late fee to be slapped on the defaulter. Other than that, all non filers will be tracked by the GST authorities with requisite procedure in place.

You must bear in mind that the GST mechanism is efficient and effective. They have the resources to track the defaulters with relative ease. They can make sure that you pay the penalties if you commit any act of tax avoidance or tax evasion. So, being sincere and prompt is essential.

A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Vikram has worked with several well-known corporate law firms before joining Vakilsearch.