A Comprehensive Guide to the Types of GST Returns in India

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GST, which stands for Goods and Services Tax, is a national-level tax imposed on the manufacturing, sale, or consumption of goods and services. With an extensive and unified indirect tax system, GST has replaced India’s multiple central and state taxes. The primary objectives of GST include simplifying the tax structure, minimizing costs, and enhancing the overall ease of doing business. This guide will delve into the diverse categories of GST returns, explore their respective due dates, and outline the procedure for their filing.


GSTR-1 is the declaration submitted to report comprehensive details regarding all outward supplies of goods and services. Essentially, it encompasses the documentation of invoices, debit-credit notes, and other relevant information related to sales transactions during a specific tax period. All regular taxpayers, including casual taxable individuals registered under GST, must file GSTR-1.

It is imperative that any modifications made to sales invoices, even those about preceding tax periods, are duly recorded in the GSTR-1 return by all suppliers or sellers registered under GST.

The filing frequency for GSTR-1 is presently structured as follows:

(a) Monthly -For businesses with an annual aggregate turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crores or those not enrolled in the QRMP scheme, the GST annual return is applicable. It should be filed by the 11th of every month.

(b) Quarterly – Applicable for businesses that have opted into the QRMP scheme.


GSTR-2A is an interactive GST return designed exclusively for the recipient or purchaser of goods and services. This report encompasses comprehensive details regarding all inbound supplies of goods and services, specifically the purchases made from GST-registered suppliers within a given tax period.

The information within GSTR-2A is automatically populated based on the data submitted by corresponding suppliers in their GSTR-1 returns. Additionally, data from the Invoice Furnishing Facility (IFF) filed by QRMP taxpayers is seamlessly integrated. Recipients utilize GSTR-2A as a crucial reference to accurately claim Input Tax Credit (ITC) throughout the financial year, spanning multiple tax periods.

When an invoice is absent from the report, the buyer can liaise with the seller, urging them to upload the missing information in their GSTR-1 promptly.


GSTR-2B is a fixed, view-only GST return that holds significance for the recipient or purchaser of goods and services. It is accessible every month, commencing from August 2020, and retains consistent Input Tax Credit (ITC) data for the period covered.

The ITC information included in GSTR-2B covers the period from the filing date of GSTR-1 for the previous month (M-1) to the filing date of GSTR-1 for the current month (M). This return is published on the 12th of each month, providing ample time before the filing of GSTR-3B, where the ITC is declared.


GSTR-3B is a monthly self-declaration required for summarising outward supplies, input tax credit claimed, ascertaining tax liability, and detailing taxes paid. All normal taxpayers under GST must reconcile sales and input tax credit details with GSTR-1 and GSTR-2B each tax period before filing GSTR-3B.


GSTR-4 is the annual return for composition taxable persons under GST. Introduced from FY 2019-20 onwards, it replaces the erstwhile GSTR-9A. Before FY 2019-20, composition taxpayers were subject to the GST quarterly return limit, which is filed quarterly. This process was subsequently replaced by submitting a simple challan (CMP-08) by the 18th of each quarter.

The composition scheme enables taxpayers involved in the sale of goods with a turnover of up to Rs. 1.5 crores to pay taxes at a fixed rate based on their declared turnover.


GSTR-5 is the monthly return filed by non-resident foreign taxpayers registered under GST conducting business transactions in India. It details outward supplies, inward supplies, credit/debit notes, tax liability, and taxes paid. The due date for GSTR-5 is the 20th of each month.


GSTR-5A serves as a concise return for disclosing outward taxable supplies and the corresponding tax liability by providers of OIDAR or Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval Services under the GST framework. It is mandatory to submit this return by the 20th of each month.


GSTR-6 is a monthly return submitted by an Input Service Distributor (ISD). It includes information on received and distributed input tax credits, as well as documentation issued for credit distribution. The deadline for filing this return is the 13th day of each month.


GSTR-7 is a monthly return submitted by entities mandated to deduct Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) under the GST system. It encompasses information on TDS deductions, TDS liability, and the corresponding tax payments. The filing deadline for this return is the 10th day of each month.


GSTR-8 is a monthly return submitted by GST-registered e-commerce operators responsible for collecting Tax Collected at Source (TCS). The return comprises information on supplies conducted through the platform and the corresponding TCS collected. The last date for submitting this return is the 10th day of each month.


GSTR-9 is the annual return for all GST-registered taxpayers. By 31st December of the following year, it consolidates details of all outward and inward supplies, along with taxes payable and paid, reported in monthly or quarterly returns.

Some exceptions apply, such as taxpayers under casual taxable persons, the composition scheme, input service distributors, non-resident taxable persons, and those paying TDS under section 51 of the CGST Act. Note: For FY 2017-18 to FY 2019-20, filing GSTR-9 for taxpayers with a turnover not exceeding Rs.2 crore was made optional.


It is a self-certified reconciliation statement between the books of accounts and GSTR-9. It must be filed by registered persons under GST with a turnover exceeding Rs.5 crore by the same deadline as GSTR-9, i.e., 31st December of the following financial year. Multiple GSTR-9C forms can be filed under one PAN.


GSTR-10 is the final return filed by a taxable person whose registration has been canceled or surrendered. It must be filed within three months from the date of cancellation or the cancellation order, whichever is earlier.


GSTR-11 is filed by persons issued a Unique Identity Number (UIN) to claim a refund for goods and services purchased in India. It details inward supplies received, and the refund claimed. UIN is assigned to foreign diplomatic missions, and embassies are not liable to tax in India.

Late Fee under GST and extension of due date 

Late fees are charges incurred for the delay in filing GST returns. A specified late fee is levied for each day of uncertainty when a GST-registered business fails to file returns within the prescribed due dates.

Payment of the late fee must be made in cash, and the taxpayer is not permitted to utilize the Input Tax Credit (ITC) available in the electronic credit ledger for this purpose. It is important to note that for Nil GST returns late fee is also applicable. 

Also Read: Sale On Approval Basis Under GST


GST embodies a comprehensive approach, aiming to streamline the tax structure, alleviate compliance burdens, and foster a more business-friendly environment. As we’ve explored in this guide, understanding the various types of GST returns, their associated due dates, and the procedures for filing them is indispensable for businesses navigating the intricacies of GST compliance. This knowledge ensures adherence to regulatory standards and empowers businesses to operate more efficiently in India’s ever-evolving tax ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Question 

What are the consequences of not filing GST returns?

Please file the necessary GST returns as mandated by law to avoid the imposition of late fees for each day of default. Additionally, if there is any outstanding tax, interest will be charged 18% per annum on the tax liability.

Is it necessary to file GST returns without GST payable?

Indeed, as a GST-registered taxpayer, submitting the relevant GST returns is mandatory regardless of tax liability. Even if there are no transactions for the month, you can still file a Nil return. In cases where you only have purchases and no sales, filing GSTR-3B is the appropriate course of action.

How can I determine if a GST return due date has been extended?

Stay updated by regularly checking official government portals, tax department notifications, or announcements made through reputable news sources. These platforms will offer precise and timely information regarding GST return due date extension.

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Arpita Rathod Placement Representative
Arpita is a seasoned financial content writer with a specialized focus on Goods and Services Tax (GST). With a deep passion for the world of taxation and a Master's in English Literature, her specialization lies in taking challenging topics from diverse fields and breaking them down into digestible, engaging narratives.

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