How to file your GST returns online? Full step-by-step guide

For lawfully updating their invoice, Indian businessmen and taxpayers have to mandatorily file various GST returns online with the government. Any non-compliance on their part could pave the way for attracting penalties/fines, dis-allowance of input tax credit, etc. Therefore, properly filing your information in the GST returns is VERY, VERY important. Remember, all the data of the users/taxpayers is stored in GSTN portal which can be accessed any time, anywhere by the taxpayer.

The process of filing GST returns starts from GSTR-1. There are many other GST forms that need to be filed by you based on the nature of your business. However, there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the filing of GST returns online due to various technical issues. But, going through this article will not only help you understand how to file your GST returns correctly, but also clear all the doubts you previously had regarding filing of GST returns online very easily. Let’s begin:

GST returns

Types of GST Returns that should be filed by normal taxpayers

1) GSTR-1  (For outward supplies)

The taxpayer has to put in all the details of their outward supplies of goods and services in this form. This form has to be mandatorily filed by the 10th of next month. Remember, do not make any mistakes while filing this form because it is the basis of all future credit harmonisations/balancing. The critical headings of GSTR-1 are as follows-:

  • GSTIN of the Taxable Person
  • Name of the Taxable person
  • Gross Turnover in Last Financial Year which is filed only once. (From 2018, this field will be auto-populated)
  • The Period for which the return is being filed. There will be a drop down menu for selecting Month & Year.
  • Taxable outward supplies- under this heading, Integrated goods and services tax or IGST should be filled up only in the case of inter-state movement while Central Goods and service tax (CGST) and State goods and services tax (SGST) should be filled up only in case of intra-state movement. Further, taxpayers are also advised to furnish details of any exempted sales or sale at nil rate of tax under this heading.
  • Outward Supplies to end customer, where the value exceeds Rs. 2.5 lakhs- Other than mentioned, all such supplies are optional in nature.
  • Other supplies that are not covered in above 2 sections
  • Credit Notes or Debit Notes details
  • Amendments made to the details of any outward supplies of previous period(s). This does not cover any changes through debit/credit notes.
  • Exempted, Nil-Rated and Non-GST Supplies- This section is Non-GST. Once the details of nil-rated sales or exempted sales have been already furnished anywhere in the above headings, only then can Non-GST details be filled up here.
  • Export Sales
  • Tax Liabilities from advance receipts
  • Total tax Paid

GST returns

GSTR-2A

This form is available on the 11th of the next successive month for the recipients to view and validate the information therein. The period to fill up and submit this form is between 11th – 15th of the next month. Recipients can add or delete, and change any information based on their account books

GSTR-2 (GST returns for inward supplies)

The GSTR-2 form is the conclusion of all inward supplies of goods and services that is approved by the recipient of the services. The due date for filing and submitting this form is 15th of the next month. Please note, this form is auto-filled with the details of GSTR-2A. GSTR-2 includes the following headings:

  • GSTIN of the taxable person
  • Name of the taxable person
  • The Period for which the return is being filed. There will be a drop down menu for selecting Month & Year.
  • Details of all inward supplies- Auto filled with details of GSTR-1. Here, the taxable person can make changes or addition to the invoice.
  • Changes to the inward supplies made during any previous period
  • Import of Goods- Imports shall be treated as Inter-state supply and IGST (Integrated goods and services tax) will be applicable on the imports.
  • Import of Goods during earlier periods
  • Services received from a person residing outside India (Import of Services)
  • Import of Services in previous periods
  • Credit notes or Debit notes Details
  • Amendments made to Credit or Debit notes of earlier periods
  • Inward supplies resulting from Unregistered person(s)
  • Credits received from an Input Service Distributor (Auto-filled from details of GSTR-6)
  • TDS credit from specified persons- Auto-filled from details of GSTR-7
  • TCS credit from E-Commerce companies- Auto-filled from details of GSTR-8.
  • Input Tax Credit left to be taken against an invoice, from which a partial invoice was taken initially.
  • Reverse Charge tax liability
  • Amendment to any reverse charge tax liability
  • Tax Paid
  • Input Tax Credit Reversals- A Dropdown menu containing reasons for Input Tax Credit Reversals.
  • Amendments to Input Tax Credit Reversals

GST returns

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GSTR-1A

The GSTR-1A form is auto-filled after the successful filing of GSTR-2 on the 15th of the next month. It consists of all the correct or changed information. Please note, the supplier will have the choice to accept or reject the changes made by the recipient. Following such acceptance, the GSTR-1 will be revised to such extent.

GST returns

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GSTR-3

This form is auto-prepared by 20th of the next month. It consists of details of all outward and inward supplies of goods and services as furnished in GSTR-1 and GSTR-2. After going through both the details, GSTN will then determine the amount of tax payable or your input tax credit availability.

It will consist of the following details:

1) GSTIN of the Taxable Person (Auto-populated)

2) Name of the taxable person (Auto-populated)

3) Address of the person (Auto-populated)

4) The period for which the return is being filed- A dropdown menu for selecting Month & Year will be available.

5) Total turnover classified as-:

a)Export Turnover

b)Taxable Turnover

c)Non-GST Turnover

d)Exempted or Nil Rated Turnover

e)Total Turnover (Sum of a+b+c+d)

6) Details of outward supplies classified as-:

a) Inter-state supply to end customers

b) Intra-state supply to end customers

c) Inter-state supply to registered persons

d) Intra-state supply to registered persons

e) Exports

f) Amendments to Credit Notes, debit notes and Sales Invoices

g) Tax liability on outward supplies

7) Details of inward supplies

a) Inter-State received

b) Intra-State received

c) Imports

d) Amendments to Debit Notes and Credit Notes, and Purchased invoices

e) Tax liability on inward supplies

f) Reversals of Input Tax Credit

8) Total tax liability for the due period

9) TDS received for the due period

10) TCS received for the due period

11) ITC for the due period


Apart from the above-mentioned details, a Part B should also be filed consisting the details of:

  • Any penalties/fees, taxes, interests, paid during the period.
  • Any refunds claimed during the period with respect to cash ledger.

GST returns

GSTR 3B Return

The tax authorities have introduced a simple return form called as GSTR 3B to ease the burden on taxpayers. This has to be used for the months of July to December. Every registered taxpayer has to file a separate GSTR 3B for each GSTIN they have.

This is more like a self-declaration return and the taxpayer is not required to provide invoice level information in this form. Only total values for each field have to be provided.

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When to file GSTR-3B?

The 3B return has to be properly filled and submitted by the 20th of next month. Due date for filing GSTR 3B return for July was 20 August which was extended to 25 August due to some technical glitches.

For August, the due date was 20 September. Whereas, the due date for September was 20 October, 2017 and due date of filing GST returns for October is 20th November and so on…

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Revising GSTR 3B

There are 2 statuses once a GSTR-3B is filed:

1) Submitted- Once all the data is filled in and return is submitted the status will be ‘Submitted’.

GST returns

2) Filed – When the GST liability is paid and the return is filed this status will be ‘Filed’.

GST returns

Remember, once submitted you cannot revise GSTR-3B for the months starting from August-December 2017.

Late Fee & Penalty for not filing GSTR-3B

Filing of GSTR-3B is mandatory even if your business has no transactions during a month, you will still have to file a “nil” returnAn interest of 18% per annum is payable which is calculated by the taxpayer on the amount of outstanding tax to be paid. The period will be calculated from the next day of the due date for filing to the date of payment. Please note, a late fee of Rs. 200 per day will be levied for non-filing of GSTR-3B. 

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