Special Offer for Chartered Accountant

Tally Automation
Apr 22, 2024

Simplify Your Tax Compliance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Filling All Types of GST Returns in India

Ankit Virani



The Goods and Services Tax (GST), implemented in India in 2017, transformed the tax landscape by replacing a multitude of state and central taxes with a single, unified system.

This simplified tax structure promotes transparency and boosts economic activity. But how do businesses ensure they contribute their fair share under GST? GST returns are the answer.

These are regular reports filed with the government, summarizing a business's tax activities (sales, purchases, taxes) for a specific period. They play a crucial role in ensuring tax compliance and offer benefits like claiming tax credits and gaining financial insights.

Stay tuned as we explore the different types of GST returns, the new return system, filing procedures, and the consequences of non-compliance.

Types of GST Returns

The world of GST returns can seem complex at first glance. However, understanding the different types and the recently implemented new GST return system (October 2020) will help you navigate it smoothly. Here's a breakdown of the various forms and their purposes:

The New GST Return System (October 2020):

This simplified system aims for increased efficiency and automation. Here are its key features:

  • Single Main Return Form (GST RET-1): This replaces multiple forms with two annexures:

    • GST ANX-1 (Outward Supplies): Details all sales made by the business during the return period.

    • GST ANX-2 (Inward Supplies): Captures information on all purchases made by the business.

  • Filing Frequency: The frequency depends on your business size:

    • Monthly Filing (Mandatory): Applicable to large taxpayers with a turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore.

    • Monthly or Quarterly Filing (Option): Small taxpayers can choose between monthly or quarterly filing based on their preference.

  • 24/7 Invoice Upload Interface: This allows businesses to upload invoice details continuously throughout the month, facilitating a more streamlined filing process.

  • Amendment Returns: Businesses are now permitted two amendment returns per tax period to rectify any errors or make necessary adjustments to payments.

Beyond the New System: Other GST Return Forms

While the new system simplifies things for most businesses, there are a few additional return forms you might encounter depending on your specific registration type and activities:

GSTR-5: This return is filed by non-resident foreign taxpayers who make taxable supplies in India.

GSTR-6: Input Service Distributors (ISDs) use this form to report the distribution of input tax credits (ITC) to their recipients.

GSTR-7: This return is filed by businesses required to deduct Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) under GST rules.

  • GSTR-8: E-commerce operators collecting tax at source (TCS) on online sales are required to file GSTR-8.

  • GSTR-9: This is an annual return summarizing all the information filed in the monthly/quarterly returns for the entire financial year.

  • GSTR-10: This return is filed when a taxpayer's GST registration is cancelled or surrendered.

  • GSTR-11: Registered persons with a Unique Identity Number (UIN) can claim a refund of taxes paid on their purchases through GSTR-11.

  • CMP-08: This is a quarterly return specifically for taxpayers registered under the Composition Scheme.

  • ITC-04: Manufacturers use this return to report details of goods sent to a job worker for processing and subsequently received back.

Important Note: Not all businesses will need to file every return form mentioned above. The specific forms applicable to you depend on your registration type (regular taxpayer, composition, etc.) and your turnover.

Understanding the purpose of each return form and the new system's features will equip you to file GST returns accurately and efficiently.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates: Keeping Up with the Schedule

The new GST return system simplifies things by introducing clear filing frequencies and due dates based on your business size. Here's a table summarizing this information:

Taxpayer CategoryFiling FrequencyDue Date
Large Taxpayers (Rs. 5 Crore Turnover)Monthly11th of the month following the return period
Small Taxpayers ( Rs. 5 Crore Turnover)}Monthly (Optional) OR Quarterly15th of the month following the return period (Monthly) OR 22nd of the month following the quarter (Quarterly)

Turnover Impact: As you can see, your business turnover determines the filing frequency. Large taxpayers with a turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore are mandated to file returns monthly. Small taxpayers, on the other hand, have more flexibility.

They can choose between filing GST returns monthly (similar to large taxpayers) or opt for a less frequent quarterly filing schedule.

This allows smaller businesses with potentially lower transaction volumes to manage their filing workload more efficiently.

Remember: Regardless of your chosen filing frequency, ensure you stay updated on the due dates to avoid any late filing penalties. These dates typically fall around the 11th or 15th of the month for monthly filing and the 22nd of the month following the quarter for quarterly filing.

Information Required for Filing GST Returns: What You Need to Gather

Filing GST returns accurately requires compiling specific information about your business activities during the return period. Here's a breakdown of the general details needed for most GST returns under the new system:

  • Sales Details: This includes information on all outward supplies made by your business, such as:

    • Invoice numbers and dates
    • Details of the goods or services supplied
    • Taxable value of the supplies
    • GST rate applicable (e.g., 5%, 18%)
    • Amount of tax collected (CGST, SGST, IGST)
  • Purchase Details: Capture information on all purchases made by your business during the return period, including:

    • Details of the goods or services purchased
    • Taxable value of the purchases
    • GST rate charged by the supplier (CGST, SGST, IGST)
    • Input tax credit (ITC) claimed on those purchases
  • Tax Calculations: Based on the sales and purchase details, you'll need to calculate the total tax liability for the return period. This involves:

    • Calculating the total output tax collected on sales (CGST, SGST, IGST)

    • Calculating the total input tax credit (ITC) claimed on purchases

Remember: Uploading accurate invoices with these details is crucial for a smooth filing process.

Specific Information for Certain Return Forms:

While the information above applies to most GST returns under the new system, some specific forms might require additional details. Here are a few examples:

  • GSTR-7 (TDS): This return requires details like the name and GSTIN of the supplier from whom TDS was deducted, the amount of TDS deducted, and the nature of the service for which TDS was applied.

  • GSTR-8 (e-commerce TCS): This form requires information on the value of online supplies made through your platform, the rate of TCS collected, and details of the recipients (buyers and sellers).

It's always recommended to consult the official guidelines or a tax advisor for specific return forms to ensure you gather all the necessary information for accurate filing.

Understanding the Impact of Non-Compliance with GST Returns

Filing GST returns accurately and on time is not just a legal obligation; it's crucial for maintaining a healthy tax compliance record for your business. But what happens if you miss a deadline or file inaccurate returns? Here's a breakdown of the potential consequences of non-compliance:

  • Late Filing Penalties: The government levies penalties for late filing of GST returns. These penalties can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the tax liability, depending on the delay.

  • Interest on Late Payment: If you delay payment of your tax dues beyond the due date, you will be liable to pay interest on the outstanding amount. This interest is calculated at a specific rate for each day of delay.

  • Demand Notices and Recovery Proceedings: In case of significant delays or non-filing, the tax authorities may issue demand notices and initiate recovery proceedings to collect the outstanding tax and penalties.

  • Input Tax Credit (ITC) Reversal: If discrepancies are found in your return, the authorities may disallow you from claiming ITC on your purchases, potentially increasing your overall tax liability.

  • Cancellation of GST Registration: In severe cases of non-compliance, the tax authorities may cancel your GST registration, significantly impacting your ability to conduct business.

Remember: Penalties and legal consequences can not only strain your finances but also damage your business reputation and hinder future growth.

Taking the Right Steps:

To avoid these complications, ensure the timely filing of accurate GST returns. Maintain proper records, consult a tax advisor if needed, and stay updated on any changes in GST regulations.

Additional Considerations: Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Even with the simplified new system, filing GST returns can involve complexities. Here's a look at some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Inaccurate Invoice Data: Uploading invoices with incorrect details like value, tax rates, or HSN codes can lead to discrepancies and potential ITC disallowances. Double-check all invoice data before uploading.

  • Mismatching Tax Rates: Ensure you apply the correct GST rates to your sales and purchases based on the nature of your goods or services. Refer to the latest HSN code listings for accurate tax rate application.

  • Late Invoice Uploads: The new system allows continuous invoice upload, but avoid waiting until the last minute. Uploading invoices regularly reduces workload during peak filing times.

  • Missing Return Filing: Even if you have no business activity in a particular month/quarter, it's crucial to file a nil return to avoid late filing penalties.

  • Neglecting Reconciliation: Regularly reconcile your GSTR-2B (purchase data received from suppliers) with your purchase records to identify any discrepancies and rectify them promptly.

Importance of Consulting a Tax Advisor:

While the new system streamlines filing, complex business scenarios or specific GST regulations might require expert guidance. Consider consulting a registered tax advisor for:

  • Businesses with intricate transactions or a large product/service portfolio.
  • Businesses unsure about the applicability of specific GST provisions.
  • Situations requiring interpretation of complex GST rules or claiming exemptions.

A tax advisor can help ensure accurate return filing, minimize the risk of errors and penalties, and provide valuable insights for tax optimization.

By understanding these additional considerations and seeking professional help when needed, you can navigate the world of GST returns with confidence.

You May Found This Useful:

  1. Fast Track Your Tax Refund: Essential Tips for a Smooth and Efficient ITR Filing
  2. What Role GST Software Plays For Your Business?
  3. 7 Easy Steps for Flawless GST Reconciliation in Tally

Recent Blogs