Chapter 5: All about GST Return Filing and it’s Importance


All business owners who are registered under the GST regime must furnish details pertaining to their purchases and sales on the GST portal in the form of a GST return. All the GST returns are filed online on the GST portal and must be filed on a regular basis, failing which penalties will apply. Even where the business has had zero operations in the previous month, a nil return is to be filed mandatorily.

The Government has prescribed various forms for filing the returns under the GST regime. The table below helps to understand the various return forms to be filed for different categories of taxpayers:

There are a few points to be kept in mind while filing these returns:-

  • The tax payment needs to be made from the appropriate GST head

  As prescribed by the GST Law, all interstate transactions attract IGST or Integrated GST, whereas all intrastate transactions attract Central GST or CGST and State GST or SGST. A taxpayer needs to be very careful to make payments under the appropriate tax heads, as tax wrongly paid under one head cannot be used to set-off liability under another tax head.

  • Mandatory filing in case of zero sales

A GST registered taxpayer must mandatorily file all the prescribed returns

irrespective of whether there have been any sales or not in a particular period. In simple words, where a GSTIN holder has no sales for the month, he will still have to file the prescribed nil returns. Penalty is applicable for late filing/non filing of the GSTR within the time specified.

  • Treatment of zero-rated (export) supplies

All exports under GST are considered as zero-rated, not nil-rated or exempt supplies. This means that the tax paid on imports and exports shall be fully refunded (ITC).

Nil-rated, on the other hand, refers to the supplies that are taxed at 0% or nil rate. However, no input tax credit can be taken of inputs or input services used in providing supplies attracting nil rate of tax.

Therefore, it is very important to note the difference between the two terms to avoid any errors while filing returns.

  • Reverse Charge Mechanism

RCM is a concept wherein instead of the supplier, the recipient pays the tax on the supply. There is no concept of Input Tax Credit utilisation here. The payment of supplies under RCM must be made through the Electronic Cash Ledger only. 

Amendments to GSTRs already filed

Under the GST regime, there is no concept of filing a revised return. Only an amendment can be made while filing the GST return of the succeeding tax period. Hence, taxpayers need to be extremely cautious while filing returns, to avoid the hassle of unnecessary reconciliations in the future. 

Here are some of the ways in which data can be amended in case incorrect data has been filed.

  • GSTR – 3B 

In the case of GSTR-3B, while there is no provision for revising/amending the GST returns once it has been filed, the Government has introduced a ‘Reset GSTR – 3B’ option through which the ‘Submitted’ status of the return will be changed to ‘Yet To Be Filed’ where all the fields are present in an editable format.

The ‘Reset GSTR–3B’ option can be availed only once, and only if the GSTR-3B hasn’t already been filed. Once this is availed, the entries posted in the Electronic Liability Register will be deleted and the Input Tax Credit of this return integrated with the Electronic Credit Ledger will be reversed.

  • GSTR – 1 

Once the GSTR–1 for the month has been filed, no changes can be made to that particular return. Any amendment or rectification to be made to that return can be made in the subsequent month’s GSTR–1.

For instance, if the GSTR–1 for the month of July has already been filed, the rectification for the GSTR–1 of July may be done in the GSTR – 1 of August.

 We hope this was informative. Stay tuned for more in the next chapter.