A Quick Run-through of the types of GST Returns

If you are in the dark, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a tax meant to subsume the indirect taxes levied at different stages under the old tax system. Some of these indirect taxes are Value Added Tax (VAT), Service Tax, Entertainment Tax, and Excise Duty.

Considering how most people are clueless about GST and how it works, you can expect the topic of GST return filing to confuse taxpayers. Before getting into the idea and process of filing your GST returns, know that you must complete your GST online registration and acquire a Goods and Services Tax Identification Number (GSTIN) if you are a business owner in the GST age.

What are the different GST returns you ought to be aware of?

There are many types of GST returns that you would have to file depending on your circumstances. Here are those GST returns:


All normal taxpayers must pay the GSTR-1 return on a monthly basis unless you happen to be a small taxpayer or your business enjoys a turnover of 1.5CR. If your turnover is 1.5CR, you will need to file your GST returns on a quarterly basis.


The GSTR-2A return is read-only.

GSTR-2 (Suspended)

The GST return has been suspended.


The GSTR-3 return is calculated depending on your GSTR-1 and GSTR 2 returns.


You are required to file this monthly return if you are a normal taxpayer under the GST tax system.

GSTR-4 / CMP-08

You are required to file this GST return if you are a part of the composition scheme under GST. According to this scheme, you are allowed to fix a certain GST tax rate on your turnover if your yearly turnover is Rs. 1.5CR or more.


This GST return is for non-resident foreign taxpayers. If you are living abroad but running a business in India, you will be required to file the GSTR-5 return.


If you are an Input Service Distributor, you will have to file the GSTR-6 return. Make sure you include all the Input Credit Distribution and System of Distribution-related information.


You will have to file the GSTR-7 on a monthly basis if you are deducting TDS.


If you happen to be an operator of E-commerce and have a GSTIN under the GST tax system and want to collect taxes at the source, this monthly GST return is for you to file.


The GSTR-9 is an annual tax return that you need to file with information like the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST), State Goods and Service Tax (SGST), and Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST).


If you pay tax as part of the GST composition scheme during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 financial years, you are exempt from filing this GST return.


If your business sees a yearly turnover of two crores or more, you have to file the GSTR-9C GST return.


If your GST registration happens to be canceled, file this return, and ensure you do this within three months from the cancelation date.


This GST return is primarily for foreign diplomats and embassies who do not have to pay taxes in India.

How to go about filing GST returns online?

If you find GST return filing to be a daunting task, here’s how you do it:

  • Visit the official GST portal online

  • Make sure you have your 15-digit GSTIN as per your GST state code and Personal Account Number (PAN).

  • Then, upload your GST invoices on the GST portal. Note that each invoice that you upload will have a corresponding reference number.

  • After you’ve uploaded the GST invoices, be sure to file the inward returns, outward returns, and cumulative returns, and rectify any errors you may encounter.

  • You will have to file the outward supply returns on the GSTR-1 GST form through the information section displayed on the GSTN portal by the 10th of the following month.

  • You can expect the recipient to find the information of the outward supplies furnished by you as the supplier through the GSTR-2A form. At this point, the responsibility of the recipient is to verify, validate, and modify the information he receives. In addition to this, the recipient has to furnish the inward supply details of the goods and services on the GSTR-2 GST return.

  • The supplier may then decide to accept or reject the suggested modifications made on the inward supply using the GSTR-1A form.

 This easy-to-understand and straightforward guide should suffice if you want to get started with filing your GST returns.


Paul Black: Paul, a former Wall Street trader, provides expert analysis on trading strategies, portfolio management, and financial markets.

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