What is GST Return?

A GST return is a document that contains information about a taxpayer’s sales, purchases, and tax liability under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. Filing GST returns is mandatory for all businesses registered under the GST system and are identified by the GSTIN number.

A registered business or dealer has to file GST returns broadly for:

  • Purchases
  • Sales
  • Output GST
  • Input tax credit (GST paid on purchases)

There are 22 types of returns in GST prescribed under the GST rules. Out of these, 11 GST returns are active, 4 are suspended, and 8 are view-only. The specifics of these return types vary based on the taxpayer’s category. Various taxpayers, including regular, composition taxable persons and e-commerce operators, submit GST returns based on their category.

The filing frequency varies depending on the type of returns and taxpayer group. For instance, regular taxpayers file GSTR 1 monthly, while all taxpayers except those under the composition scheme submit GSTR 3B.

Eligible taxpayers can file returns under the Quarterly Return filing and Monthly Payment of taxes (QRMP) scheme and make monthly tax payments. Before submitting returns, it is crucial to verify the status of GSTIN using the GST search tool. Regular filing of returns is vital for maintaining an active GSTIN status.

How Many Types of GST Returns are there?

There are a total of 13 GST return types in India for capturing various financial aspects and ensuring compliance with GST regulations. The applicability of these returns depends on the type of taxpayer and the nature of their GST registration.

The 13 types of returns in GST is as follows:

  • GSTR-1
  • GSTR-3B
  • GSTR-4
  • GSTR-5
  • GSTR – 5A
  • GSTR-6
  • GSTR -7
  • GSTR – 8
  • GSTR-9 
  • GSTR-10
  • GSTR -11
  • CMP-08
  • ITC 04

In addition to understanding the various types of GST returns, it’s important for taxpayers to have easy access to their GST details for accurate filing. With tools like Razorpay’s GST Search by PAN, taxpayers can conveniently verify their GST information and ensure compliance.

Now that you have a brief overview of the type of return under GST, let’s discuss them in detail along with their respective due dates.

Who should file GST Returns?

1. Regular businesses having more than Rs.5 crore as annual aggregate turnover have to file two monthly returns and one annual return. This amounts to 25 returns each year. Note that these taxpayers should not be opting for the QRPM Scheme.

2. Taxpayers with a turnover of up to Rs.5 crore have the option to file GST returns under the QRMP scheme. The number of GSTR filings for QRMP scheme filers is 9 each year, which include: 4 GSTR-1, 4 GSTR-3B returns, 1 annual return. QRMP filers have to pay tax on a monthly basis even though they are filing returns quarterly.

3. Separate statements/returns required to be filed in case of composition dealers where the number of GSTR filings is 5 each year, which includes 4 statement-cum-challans in CMP-08 and 1 annual return GSTR-4.

Below table summarises the requirement of returns to be filed based on business type

Type Turnover Monthly Returns Quarterly Returns Annual Returns Total Returns in the year
Regular business or taxpayer
More than Rs. 5 Crores 2 per month 1 per year 25 returns
Upto Rs. 5 Crores 2 per quarter 1 per year 9 returns
Composition dealer Upto Rs. 1.5 Crore 1 per quarter 1 per year 5 returns

Types of GST Returns and Due Dates

Let’s delve into the world of GST returns with a detailed discussion of various GSTR types and their crucial due dates.

1. GSTR-1: Outward Supplies Reporting

GSTR-1 is a type of GST return used to report outward supplies of goods or services made by registered taxpayers. It plays a crucial role in providing data on sales and other transactions made during a specific period. Filing GSTR-1 accurately and on time is essential for maintaining compliance with GST rules. If you want to know what are the GST rules for your startup, check out this guide, which focuses on GST for startups and small businesses.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-1:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Select the ‘Services’ tab and click on ‘Returns.’
  • Choose the ‘GSTR-1’ form.
  • Fill in details of outward supplies – invoices, credit / debit notes and HSN codes.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 11th of the following month
  • Quarterly: 13th of the month after the quarter ends

2. GSTR-2A: Dynamic Inward Supplies View

GSTR-2A is a dynamic return form that provides a comprehensive view of the inward supplies of goods and services. It is auto-populated from the suppliers’ GSTR-1, ensuring accuracy in Input Tax Credit (ITC) claims for buyers. Even with the introduction of GSTR-2B, GSTR-2A remains relevant for some taxpayers, especially for reconciling ITC.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-2A:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Navigate to the ‘Services’ tab and select ‘Returns Dashboard’.
  • Select the financial year and the return filing period for which you want to file GSTR-2A.
  • Click on ‘Prepare Online’ to fill in the details in various sections of the form.
  • Check the auto-populated information against your records and make any necessary corrections.
  • Click on ‘Save’ and then ‘Submit’ to file the return.
  • Verify the details using DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) or EVC (Electronic Verification Code).

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 11th of the following month
  • Quarterly: 13th of the month following the end of the quarter

3. GSTR-2B: Static ITC View

GSTR-2B is an entirely different type of GST return that provides a constant view of ITC data for a month. It helps you reconcile your purchase-related details with the supplier’s data and prepare them for GSTR-3B filing.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-2B:

  • Access the GST portal and log in.
  • Navigate to the ‘Returns’ section and select ‘Returns Dashboard’.
  • Select the financial year and the return filing period for which you want to file GSTR-2B.
  • Click on ‘Download’ to obtain the GSTR-2B JSON file.
  • Use offline tools like the GSTR-2B preparation tool to view the details and make necessary adjustments.
  • Verify the data and upload the JSON file to the GST portal.
  • Confirm the details and file the return.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 15th of the following month
  • Quarterly: 22nd of the month following the end of the quarter

4. GSTR-3: Summary Return (Suspended)

GSTR-3, summarising outward and inward supplies, has been suspended since September 2017. It is auto-generated from GSTR-1 (for outward supplies) and GSTR-2 (for inward supplies). This summary return simplifies the reporting process, offering a comprehensive overview of transactions without manual entry.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates: N/A (Suspended)

5. GSTR-3B: Monthly Self-Declaration

GSTR 3B is a return summarising supplies and ITC. It plays a vital role in meeting tax requirements by emphasising the importance of reconciliation with GSTR 1 (for outward supplies) and GSTR 2B (for input tax credit specifics). This process makes it easier to provide reports and adhere to tax laws.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-3B:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select ‘GSTR-3B.’
  • Fill in details of supplies and ITC.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 20th of the following month
  • Quarterly: 22nd of the month after the quarter ends

6. GSTR-4: Annual Return for Composition Taxpayers

GSTR-4 is a GST return type designed for taxpayers enrolled in the Composition Scheme. It summarises information on sales purchases subject to charges, tax obligations and payments.

The Composition Scheme under GST allows small businesses to simplify tax compliance. They pay a fixed rate of tax based on turnover without detailed invoicing. It restricts ITC claims and quarterly filing requirements.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-4:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Select ‘Returns’ and choose ‘GSTR-4’.
  • Fill in the annual details.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Annually: 30th April of the next financial year

7. GSTR-5: Return for Non-Resident Foreign Taxpayers

This return form is designed for non-resident taxpayers conducting business activities in India. It includes information on goods and services received and provided, and taxes settled.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-5:

  • Access the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select ‘GSTR-5.’
  • Fill in details of supplies.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 20th of the following month

8. GSTR-5A: Summary Return for OIDAR Providers:

GSTR-5A is a type of return tailored for Online Information Database Access and Retrieval (OIDAR) service providers based outside of India. This report gives a snapshot of goods and services received and supplied, and taxes paid.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-5A:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Select ‘Returns’ and choose ‘GSTR-5A.’
  • Provide details of OIDAR services.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 20th of the following month

9. GSTR-6: Monthly Return for Input Service Distributors

GSTR-6 is a monthly return type specifically designed for Input Service Distributors (ISD). It consolidates details of ITCs received by ISDs and distributed among their branches or units.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-6:

  • Access the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select ‘GSTR-6.’
  • Fill in details of input services distributed.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 13th of the following month

10. GSTR-7: Monthly Return for TDS Deductors

GSTR-7 is a monthly return that needs to be filed by taxpayers who are required to deduct Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) under GST. 

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-7:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select ‘GSTR-7.’
  • Provide TDS details.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 10th of the following month

11. GSTR-8: Monthly Return for E-commerce Operators

GSTR-8 is a monthly return that e-commerce operators need to file. It is applicable to individuals or companies that operate online platforms to facilitate the supply of goods / services between sellers and buyers. 

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-8:

  • Access the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select ‘GSTR-8.’
  • Fill in details of supplies made through the platform.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Monthly: 10th of the following month

12. GSTR-9: Annual Return for All Taxpayers


GSTR-9 is an annual return that needs to be filed by all GST-registered taxpayers. It consolidates the details furnished in monthly / quarterly returns during a financial year.
However, for yearly turnover of more than ₹2 crore, the government has exempted taxpayers from filing GSTR-9.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-9:

  • Log in to the GST portal.
  • Select ‘Returns’ and choose ‘GSTR-9’.
  • Fill in consolidated details for the financial year.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Annually: 31st December of the next financial year

13. GSTR-9A, GSTR-9C, GSTR-10, GSTR-11: Specialised Returns

GSTR-9A, GSTR-9C, GSTR-10 and GSTR-11 are specialised returns with specific purposes and due dates. It is essential to understand their applicability and comply accordingly.


Step-by-Step Guide for Filing GSTR-9A,9C, 10 and 11:

  • Access the GST portal.
  • Navigate to ‘Returns’ and select the respective specialised form.
  • Complete the specified details.
  • Submit and verify using OTP or digital signature.

Filing Frequency and Due Dates:

  • Varies for each specialised return

Now that you’ve got a handle on the GST return types and due dates, let’s talk about what happens if you file them late.

Late filing of GST Returns

Filing GST returns on time is mandatory. Even if there have been no transactions during the period, filing a ‘Nil’ return is essential to ensure compliance.

An important point to keep in mind is that the current month / quarter’s return cannot be filed without first filing the previous month / quarter’s return.

If GST returns are filed late, there can be repercussions, such as penalties and further complications. A late fee of ₹50 per day (₹20 for Nil returns) applies, with a cap of ₹5,000. Furthermore, there are interest charges of 18% p.a..

Late filing also affects the submission of GSTR-1 since its late filing fee is reflected in the liability ledger of GSTR-3B, filed after delays. It is crucial to meet deadlines to avoid these penalties and comply with GST regulations.

Interest and Late Fees to be Paid

  • Interest Rate: You must pay 18% p.a. interest on the outstanding tax amount.
  • Calculation: Interest is calculated from the day after the filing due date until the actual payment date, based on the net tax liability in the ledger.
  • Late Fee: Late fee is ₹100 per day per Act (CGST and SGST), totalling ₹200/day (with a maximum limit of ₹5,000 per Act). There is no separately prescribed late fee under the IGST Act.
  • GSTR-9 / 9C Late Fee: The late fee for GSTR-9 / 9C is capped at 0.25% of turnover in the state or Union Territory.
  • Government Relief Schemes: The government may offer relief schemes that could potentially reduce late fee amounts.

Related Read: What is the Difference Between CGST, SGST and IGST

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is Gstr-1 monthly or quarterly?

Small taxpayers with an aggregate turnover of up to ₹5 crore can choose between monthly or quarterly filing of GSTR-1.

2. What is the limit of GST?

The GST registration in India is capped at ₹40 lakh for normal category states and ₹20 lakh for special category states. Ensuring proper registration for GST for online business is crucial for the seamless operation of online ventures.

3. What is monthly GST filing?

Monthly GST filing involves submitting returns like GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B every month.

4. How to calculate GST?

You can calculate GST online by applying the GST rate to the taxable value of the goods or services sold.

5. What are GST due dates?

The due dates for filing GST returns, such as GSTR-1, depend on your business’s turnover.

6. How do you determine which type of GST return to file?

The particular type of GST return to file is normally based on more than one factor. like the turnover of your business, the nature of your transactions, and the specific terms and conditions of tax authorities.

7. Are there other specialised GST returns apart from the common ones?

GST returns such as GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B are mandated. Specialised returns forms, like IFF and PMT 06, can be filed every quarter.

8. Do composition dealers follow the same GST return filing process as regular taxpayers?

No, composition dealers have a simplified GST return filing process compared to regular taxpayers.

9. What are the key differences between GSTR-3B and GSTR-1?

GSTR 3B, being a compilation tax return, is consumed by the taxpayer and contains the tax obligations and payment summary. GSTR-1, which is a detailed tax return, is self-assessed and used by a taxpayer to summarise the sales made.

10. Can you explain the role of GSTR-11 for persons with a Unique Identification Number (UIN)?

People with UIN must register to GSTR-11 on supplies received from their suppliers in the tax period.

11. What are the consequences of non-compliance with the filing of different types of GST returns?

Non-compliance of the submission of GST returns can result in penalties and late fees. This may lead to non-competitiveness and operational efficiency. Ensuring accurate filing and timely submission of GST returns to avoid these penalties.

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