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What is a GST Return? Who Should File and What are the Types?

GST is an abbreviation for Goods and Services Tax, which is a utilisation tax paid on the provision of products and services in many nations worldwide. The tax is collected at every stage of the supply chain, from the manufacturer to the end consumer, and is designed to replace other indirect taxes such as excise duty, service tax, and value-added tax (VAT).

The GST system is a comprehensive and integrated tax system that aims to simplify and streamline the tax collection process, reduce tax evasion, and promote economic growth. 

Under GST, businesses are required to file returns on a periodic basis, which could be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on the type of business registered under the act.

The filing of GST is a crucial aspect for businesses, and it depends on the type of business registered under the GST system. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the GST return, it is important to understand the various nuances surrounding it.

This article will provide you with an overview of all the essential aspects you need to know about GST returns.

What is a GST Return?

A GST Return is a document that needs to be filed by a registered taxpayer under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act. Taxpayers must declare their sales, purchases, and tax liability to the tax authorities in these returns. The GST Return contains details such as the taxpayer’s turnover, the taxes collected on sales, input tax credit claimed on purchases, and the amount of tax payable.

Every person who is registered under GST must file a GST return, whether they have made any sale or not during the return period. GST return filing is mandatory, and non-compliance may attract penalties and interest.

Types of GST Returns and Their Due Dates

Here are the details about the different types of GST returns in India.

GSTR-1

GSTR-1 is a type of GST return that contains details of all outward supplies made by a registered taxpayer during a particular period. It includes the taxpayer’s and recipient’s GSTIN, the nature of the goods or services supplied, the value of the supplies, and the tax paid on supplies.

When to file

The GSTR-1 return must be filed by every registered taxpayer, regardless of whether any supplies were made during the relevant period or not. The due date for filing GSTR-1 is the 11th day of the succeeding month.

GSTR-2

It is a type of GST return that contains details of all inward supplies made by a registered taxpayer during a particular period. This return includes the supplier’s and recipient’s GSTIN, the nature of the goods or services supplied, the value of the supplies, and the tax paid on the supplies. 

When to file

The details of purchases made during a particular month must be filed by the 15th of the following month.

GSTR-3

GSTR-3 is a monthly return that contains a summary of all outward and inward supplies made by a registered taxpayer, along with the tax liability and tax paid for the period. 

When to file

This tax return should be filed on a monthly basis. 

GSTR-3B

GSTR-3B is a monthly summary return that must be filed by all registered taxpayers under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) system in India. It contains a summary of the taxpayer’s sales and purchases, along with the amount of tax liability and tax paid for the period.

When to file

The due date for filing GSTR-3B is the 20th of the following month for regular taxpayers.

GSTR-4

GSTR-4 is a quarterly return that must be filed by taxpayers registered under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) composition scheme. GSTR-4 contains details of the taxpayer’s outward supplies, tax liability, and tax paid during the quarter. It also includes details of any purchases made from unregistered dealers and the tax paid under the reverse charge mechanism.

When to file

The due date for filing GSTR-4 is the 18th of the month following the end of the quarter. 

GSTR-5

GSTR-5 is a return that must be filed by non-resident taxpayers who are registered under the GST system in India. Non-resident taxpayers are businesses or individuals who do not have a permanent place of business in India but are required to pay GST on their transactions in the country.

GSTR-5 contains details of the non-resident taxpayer’s outward supplies, tax liability, and tax paid during the tax period.

When to file

The due date for filing GSTR-5 is the 20th of the following month.

GSTR-6

Registered Input Service Distributors (ISDs) in the GST system of India are required to file the GSTR-6 return. This includes information on the input tax credit received by the ISD during the tax period. It also includes the credit distributed to each branch or unit, and any amendments made to the previous return, if applicable.

When to file

The due date for filing GSTR-6 is the 13th of the following month.

GSTR-7

The GSTR-7 return is filed by a registered taxpayer who is obligated to deduct TDS under GST. This return includes information on the TDS deducted, TDS liability to be paid, and TDS payment made for a specific period.

When to file

The GSTR-7 return is required to be filed by the 10th of the following month after the end of the month for which the TDS was deducted.

GSTR-8

E-commerce operators who are obligated to collect Tax Collected at Source (TCS) under GST are responsible for filing the GSTR-8 return. This return provides information on the TCS collected, TCS liability to be paid, and TCS payment made for a specific period.

When to file

The return must be filed by the 10th of the following month after the end of the month for which the TCS was collected.

GSTR-9

GSTR-9 is an annual return that needs to be filed once a year by registered taxpayers who are registered under GST. It contains a summary of all the transactions that were carried out by the taxpayer during the financial year for which the return is being filed.

The GSTR-9 return is a consolidation of all the monthly/quarterly returns (GSTR-1, GSTR-2A, and GSTR-3B) filed by the taxpayer. It contains details of the purchases and sales made during the financial year, input tax credit (ITC) availed, ITC reversed, ITC utilised, and taxes paid.

When to file

The GSTR-9 return must be filed by the 31st of December of the following financial year.

GSTR-9A

GSTR-9A is an annual return that is required to be filed by taxpayers who have opted for the composition scheme under GST.

When to file

The due date for filing the GSTR-9A return is the 31st of December of the subsequent financial year.

GSTR-9C

GSTR-9C is a reconciliation statement that taxpayers registered under the GST with an annual turnover exceeding ₹2 Crore need to file. It is a consolidation of the audited annual financial statements and the reconciliation statement submitted in Form GSTR-9.

The purpose of GSTR-9C is to reconcile the information provided in the annual financial statements with that furnished in the GSTR-9 return. Thus ensuring that the taxpayer has paid the correct amount of tax and has complied with all the provisions of the GST Act. 

When to file

As per the GST law, the due date for filing GSTR-9C is 31st December of the subsequent financial year. 

GSTR-10

The GSTR-10 return is mandatory for taxpayers whose registration for Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been cancelled or surrendered. This return summarises all the input tax credits (ITC) utilised, liabilities fulfilled, and refund requests made by the taxpayer following the cancellation or surrender of their registration.

When to file

The GSTR-10 return must be filed within three months of the date of cancellation or surrender of registration.

GSTR-11

GSTR-11 is a return that needs to be filed by taxpayers who are registered as a Non-Resident Taxable Person (NRTP) under the GST regime. It is a statement of all the inward supplies of goods or services received by the NRTP during a tax period.

When to file

The due date for filing GSTR-11 is the 28th of the month following the end of the tax period.

Late Fees on GST Return

Late fees are applicable on GST returns filed after the due date. The amount of the late fee depends on the type of return and the number of days the return is filed after the due date. The following is the late fee provisions for various GST returns:

  • GSTR-1: Late fee of ₹200 per day of delay for each return.
  • GSTR-3B: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹20 per day for nil returns) for each return, subject to a maximum of 0.25% of the taxpayer’s turnover in the state or union territory.
  • GSTR-4: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹25 per day for nil returns) of each return.
  • GSTR-5: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹20 per day for nil returns) of each return.
  • GSTR-6: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹20 per day for nil returns) of each return.
  • GSTR-7: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹20 per day for nil returns) of each return.
  • GSTR-8: Late fee of ₹50 per day of delay (₹20 per day for nil returns) of each return.

Conclusion

GST has simplified the taxation system by replacing multiple taxes with a single tax, making it easier for taxpayers to comply with the tax laws.

GST returns are an essential aspect of the GST regime, which enables taxpayers to report their business activities and tax liabilities to the government. The filing of GST returns is mandatory for all registered taxpayers, and the frequency of filing varies based on the type of taxpayer.

Overall, GST has brought transparency, efficiency, and simplicity to the taxation system in India.

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