Under the rules of the current government, all the indirect taxes, such as VAT, excise duty, service taxes, etc., were replaced by a single category known as the GST. For all those people who are unaware of the full form of GST, it stands for the Goods and Services Tax. 

The motive behind the implementation of this tax was the mission of “One Nation One Tax”. Now, the taxpayer is liable to file a GST return to prove the expenditures to the Tax Authority of India. 

However, for a beginner, the process of filing returns might seem quite hectic and confusing. Thus, one must do proper research before proceeding with the steps in GST registration to avoid any mistakes.

Background of GST

Although the law was passed in 2017, the bill for GST was introduced back in 2000. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the acting Prime Minister of India, set up the committee for this tax to improve India’s tax system. 

The finance minister, Arun Jaitly, re-introduced the GST bill in the parliament in 2014. However, the process kept getting delayed since the bill was not passed in the Rajya Sabha for a while.

It came into force on 1st July 2017. Being applicable throughout the country, GST mainly affects the supply of various goods and services. 

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Why do you need to file a GST return?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, filing the tax and completing GST registration can be a strenuous process if the taxpayer has no idea how the process works. The word “return” stands for the necessity to produce the income to the tax department by the concerned business owners and service providers. 

The individuals have to file taxes 26 times a year. For business owners, they have to file taxes an additional two times a half-yearly. The GST returns must be filed routinely.

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Business owners are required to complete the GST registration on the official portal, especially if the business makes Rs.20 Lacs or more per annum. 

The taxpayer would receive a GST Identification Number from completing the registration. There can be severe consequences for not abiding by the law.

Types of GST Return

There are multiple slabs for different taxpayers. One should know which slab suits the best before proceeding with the GST registration process. Its types are –

  • GSTR-1: Category for outward supply for the services and goods which are taxable by law.
  • GSTR-2: Category for the inward route supply.
  • GSTR-3: Category for complete information of outward and inward supplies, accompanied by tax payment details.
  • GSTR-4: The category for certain individuals with compound tax liabilities and quarterly filing of returns.
  • GSTR-5: Category for Non-Resident Indian(NRI) individuals who are taxable by law.
  • GSTR-6: Category of return used to distribute input credit for eligible bank branches.
  • GSTR-7: Category for deducting tax at source(TDS) and the government authorities involved in it.
  • GSTR-8: Category with details of e-commerce suppliers and tax collection.
  • GSTR-9: This category serves the interest of a normal taxpayer. 
  • GSTR-10: For individuals who canceled the registration for filing the final returns.
  • GSTR-11: Suited for individuals with UIN refund claims for the inward route supply. 

How to file a GST return?

The best part about the digitized world is the ease of every application process. Earlier people had to stand in long queues for hours to get the work done. The majority of them were confused about how to register for GST

However, now one can complete the GST registration staying within the comfort of their homes. For the technologically weak section of people, they can ask any relative or educated person for help. The entire process has been made very easy due to the availability of online mode. This is how it works-

  • Search for the official GST portal online(https://www.gst.gov.in/) and open the page.
  • Based on your state code and PAN card number, you will be issued a unique 15 digit identification number. 
  • You are required to upload the necessary invoices. There will be a number allotted to each invoice.
  • Apart from the invoices, you are required to file outward, inward, and total monthly returns. In case of an error, there is an option to refresh and submit again.
  • You need to file the return in GST registration according to the slab that suits you. 
  • The vital details of outward supply shall be conveyed to you via GSTR-2A. The taxpayer can verify them and introduce any modifications if needed. 
  • The details of inward supply have to be used in GSTR-2 form.
  • You can make the payment using various methods, including net banking, NEFT/RTGS, etc. 
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If you have taken a business loan, make sure to opt under the GST business loan category. The best part about the scheme is, the borrower does not require any collateral security.

Such loans are favorable for quick funding in the business. The process of opting for this loan is very convenient and hassle-free. 

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Penalties for not filing a GST return

Undergoing GST registration for filing returns is a mandatory thing to do. Many cases have been observed in the past couple of years where individuals tried to trick their way out of this process.

There can be serious penalties for such wrongdoings. One should never try to trick the legal system. Depending on the degree of offense, the following penalties can be imposed –

  • For late filing

Such kind of offense involves a daily late fee of Rs.100. The maximum limit for late fines is Rs. 5000. Apart from the fine, there is interest in the tax filed at 18% per annum.

  • For trying to evade taxes 

This is considered a grave offense under the Indian Legal System. Along With 20 other offenses, evading filing tax returns during GST registration with fraud intentions is punishable by law. 

The offender has to pay 100% of the tax not filed. Apart from that, there are high chances of imprisonment for a period of 1 to 5 years. Thus, the best and safe option is to be a responsible citizen and complete GST registration to avoid such things at any cost.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file GST return myself?

Under the new GST regime, filing tax returns has become automated. GST returns can be filed online using the software or apps provided by Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) which will auto-populate the details on each GSTR form.

How do I file a GST return?

How to file GST return online:

1) Visit the GST portal (www.gst.gov.in).
2) A 15-digit GST identification number will be issued based on your state code and PAN number.
3) Upload invoices on the GST portal or the software. An invoice reference number will be issued against each invoice.
4) After uploading invoices, outward return, inward return, and cumulative monthly return have to be filed online.
5) File the outward supply returns in GSTR-1 form through the information section at the GST Common Portal (GSTN) on or before the 10th of the following month.
6) If there are any errors, you have the option to correct it and refile the returns.

Is GST filing mandatory?

All taxpayers registered under GST must file GSTR-9.

Is GST to be paid monthly?

As per the guidelines, every registered regular taxpayer has to furnish the GST returns on a monthly basis and pay the requisite tax by the due date for payment of GST – 20th of every month.

What happens if I don’t file GST?

If you don’t file any GST returns then subsequent returns cannot be filed. For example, if the GSTR-2 return of August is not filed then the next return GSTR-3 and subsequent returns of September cannot be filed. Hence, late filing of GST returns will have a cascading effect leading to heavy fines and penalties.

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