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If you are a business owner in India, you will be familiar with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – the comprehensive tax structure that replaced multiple taxes with a single tax, impacting businesses and consumers alike. However, there are different types of returns types, each with its unique requirements and method/frequency of filing.

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Initially, there were 22 GST return types in India. However, over the years, as the process have been streamlines, only 11 of them have remained as active GST return types.

You will be required to file returns and complete the appropriate GST forms based on your status as a taxpayer. It is therefore necessary for taxpayers to comprehend the meaning of the various GST return forms in order to effectively manage their tax responsibilities. Let’s take a closer look at the purpose of the different GST return types and whom it is applicable to.

(Also read: GST registration threshold in India – Find out if GST registration is mandatory for your business)

What does GST Returns mean for the businesses?

If your business is registered under the GST regime then you must, as a taxpayer fill in specific forms for every GSTIN registered. These forms are known as the various GST returns.

A taxpayer can file the GST returns on monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. From regular traders to e-Commerce business owners, there are different returns type that you need to file to keep your business compliant. This also ensures comprehensive tax coverage and transparency.

For businesses, this helps in planning taxes, maintaining accurate records, and overall financial stability.

Also read: GST advantages and disadvantages – For small businesses in India

What are the types of GST returns in India?

As mentioned previously, there are 11 active GST return types that as a business owner or MSME you should be familiar with:

  • GSTR-1
  • GSTR-2, GSTR-2A and GSTR-2B
  • GSTR-3 and GSTR-3B
  • GSTR-4
  • GSTR-5 and GSTR-5A
  • GSTR-6
  • GSTR-7
  • GSTR-8
  • GSTR-9, GSTR-9A and GSTR-9C
  • GSTR-10
  • GSTR-11

We’ll take a look at them in detail in the next section.

Also read: GST e-Invoicing rule in India – For businesses with over ₹5 crores in annual turnover

GSTR-1

GSTR-1 is an important part of GST returns filing process. It is a form that all normal taxpaying businesses (registered under GST) should file. The form allows taxpayers to report outward sales transactions, supplies, and credit-debit notes details for a specific period of time.

There’s also the provision to report any changes made to invoices (by the supplier) in GSTR-1 returns. This ensures tax transparency and compliance.

The frequency of filing GSTR-1 can be monthly or quarterly:

  • Monthly: By the 11th of the month for those businesses with annual revenues of more than ₹5 crores (Note: these businesses have not opted for the QRMP scheme)
  • Quarterly: By the 13th of the first month of the next quarter for businesses that have opted for the quarterly scheme (QRMP scheme)

GSTR-2, GSTR-2A and GSTR-2B

The next type of GST returns we will look at are – GSTR-2, GSTR-2A and GSTR-2B

GSTR-2

This has been suspended since 2017. It was a monthly return detailing purchases. It was applicable to all GST registered buyers who purchased goods and services during a particular tax period.

Buyers had to report details of their purchases (inward supplies), which would then be matched with GSTR-2 records (auto-populated) for accurate tax credit claims.

GSTR-2A (Dynamic view only)

GSTR-2A is a view or read-only document and no edits can be made to it. It auto-populates data based on the seller’s GSTR-1 filing.

GSTR-2A is for the buyer and contains details on all purchases made by the buyer during the specific tax period. Based on the entry made by the seller in GSTR-1 filings and Invoice Furnishing Facility (IFF), data for GSTR-2A is fetched.

GSTR-2B (Static view)

GSTR-2B is a static view document, generated monthly, and provides a summary of input tax credits (ITC). It enables businesses to streamline their ITC reconciliation claims and plan their tax payments.

It was started in August 2020 and provides details on action required on all relevant invoices (and their statuses) from the previous month. GSTR-2B is declared on the 12th of the month.

Also read: Finance Bill vs Money Bill – Fiscal policies, taxation, expenditures and more

GSTR-3 and GSTR-3B

GSTR-3 and GSTR-3B are the next GST returns types we will seek to understand

GSTR-3

Since September 2017, filing for GSTR-3 has been discontinued (suspended).

This type of GST returns filing was applicable to all and the data would be fetched from GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 returns.

GSTR-3 was a monthly summary. It provided details on sales, purchases, ITC claims, taxes paid and pending taxes (tax liabilities).

GSTR-3B

GSTR-3B is for all taxpayers under the GST rules. It’s a monthly filing procedure, that requires all taxpayers to self-declare details on outward supplies, ITC claimed, taxes paid, and tax liabilities.

Data from GSTR-1 and GSTR-2B must be reconciled every time before updating GSTR-3B returns filing, to avoid inconsistencies.

The frequency of filing GSTR-3B:

  • Monthly: Must be filed before 20th of the next month by all businesses with over ₹5 crores in turnover (previous financial year)
  • Quarterly: Based on the nature of the state, 22nd or 24th of the first month in the next quarter for businesses with turnover less than ₹5 crores (previous financial year) and have opted for the QRMP scheme (Note – States are categorised as X and Y)

Also read: GST calculator – Learn how to calculate GST with formula

GSTR-4

Since FY 2019–20, GSTR-4 has taken the place of GSTR-9A. This is specific to taxpayers who have chosen the composition system, which allows them to pay a fixed tax rate on turnover up to ₹1.5 crores.

According to GSTR-4, yearly returns are to be filed by 30th April of the year that followed the relevant fiscal year.

Taxpayers must also file Form CMP-08, an easy-to-fill-out challan, by the 18th of the month after each quarter.

GSTR-5 and GSTR-5A

We will look at GSTR-5 and GSTR-5A next.

GSTR-5

GSTR-5 is for non-residential taxpayers registered under the GST regime that conduct business in India. Due date for filing is the 20th of every month.

Filing must be done using their registered GSTINs with the returns documenting specifics on sales, purchases, credit-debit notes, taxes paid and unpaid.

GSTR-5A

Due on the 20th of every month, it’s a OIDAR provider returns summary.

OIDAR – Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval Services

Also read: GST on transport

GSTR-6

This GST return type is aligned for the Input Service Distributor (ISD). It is a monthly statement to be filed by the 13th of the month.

Details on ITC received and distributed by the ISD, documents related to its issuance, and manner of distribution requires to be reported.

GSTR-7

Designed for entities required to deduct TDS under GST, GSTR-7 requires to be filled and filed in by the 10th of every month.

It’s a monthly return filing form with details on Tax Deducted at Source – amount deducted, liability, amount paid, and refunds claimed.

GSTR-8

GSTR-8 is for an e-Commerce business operator in India (GST registered) and must collect tax at source (TCS).

It has to be filed by the 10th of every month. It contains details on all supplies made via the e-Commerce platform and relevant details on TCS collected.

GSTR-9, GSTR-9A and GSTR-9C

GSTR-9, GSTR-9A and GSTR-C will be discussed next under types of GST returns in India.

GSTR-9

This is the annual return that all eligible taxpayers registered under GST will have to file. Based on whether returns are being filed monthly or quarterly, it provides a consolidated statement of GST returns for the financial year.

Details included in GSTR-9 are:

  • Outward supplies (sales) and inward supplies (purchases) under the different GST types i.e., IGST, CGST, and SGST
  • Value of goods supplied against every HSN code (summary), and related taxes paid or payable

The deadline for submitting is 31st December of every year that follows the fiscal year.

While GSTR-9 returns must be filed by all regular GST taxpayers, some taxpayers are excluded, including ISDs, casual taxable individuals, non-resident taxable persons, and those who have chosen the composition scheme.

Also read: HSN code for Goods Transport Services

GSTR-9A

GSTR-9A is currently suspended. It was required to be filed in by those under the composition scheme.

This has been replaced by GSTR-4 (annual returns).

GSTR-9C

Applicable to those GST registered taxpayer with annual turnover above ₹5 crores, GSTR-9C is a self-certified reconciliation statement.

This should be matching as per the taxpayers’ books of accounts and the filed in GSTR-9.

The important thing about GSTR-9 is that a taxpayer with a particular PAN can have multiple GSTR-9 forms filed in, since it is based on each GSTIN.

Due date is 31st December, similar to GSTR-9.

GSTR-10

If your GST registration has been cancelled or surrendered, GSTR-10 is the final return that you will have to pay to ensure there are no dues.

Timeline is 3 months from the date of cancellation of GST registration.

GSTR-11

Persons belonging to foreign diplomatic missionaries and embassies that have been issued a UIN – Unique Identity Number – have to file GSTR-11 returns.

This is mainly for claiming refunds on any purchases (goods and services) made in India.

Also read: GST on steel bars

Late GST returns filing – Fees and fines

The various types of GST returns have been designed to ensure transparency and fairness. GST returns filings must be completed by all within the deadline. In case there have been no transactions for the business in a particular time period, such details should be updated and returns filed.

Consistency and regularity in filing GST returns will ensure that there are no obstacles in the future. It will also prevent you from paying late fees and fines for non-filing of GST returns.

For instance, you will be able to file for the current period after filing for previous months. Late fees will also be applicable.

Interest on late fees is 18% and ₹100 per day under CGST and SGST each (i.e., total ₹200 per day), with a maximum of ₹5,000 under each.

As a smart business owner therefore, it’s a practical decision to submit returns in time and avoid missing deadlines. You can hire a CA (Chartered Accountants) or other finance professionals to help you with the same and ensure compliance at every stage for your business.

Looking for growth opportunities for your business? Register now on Tata nexarc – a platform designed for MSMEs in India. We have partnered with leading sellers and service providers and offer affordable solutions to accelerate growth. You can buy steel at the best prices, avail door-step logistics services and more. Contact now.
*This article is for informational purposes only. Readers are requested to visit the official GST website for further details and recent updates.

Sohini Banerjee

Sohini is a seasoned content writer with 12 years’ experience in developing marketing and business content across multiple formats. At Tata nexarc, she leverages her skills in crafting curated content on the Indian MSME sector, steel procurement, and logistics. In her personal time, she enjoys reading fiction and being up-to-date on trends in digital marketing and the Indian business ecosystem.