GST Return: What is it, Its Types, and How to File it?

byDilip PrasadLast Updated: December 28, 2023
File GST Returns

GST-registered businesses must file monthly, quarterly, and annual GST returns depending on the business type and nature of the transaction. Filing the GST returns helps business entities remain compliant with the law, protecting them from any legal issues in the future.

If you are a business owner and need to file your GST, read this blog to learn how you can file a GST return and all the associated details to pay your taxes on time.

What is a GST Return?

GST return refers to the periodic statement that holds all the business particularities like income, sales, purchases, output tax (taxes received on sales), and input tax (tax paid on purchases) for a certain period. The tax administrative authorities analyze the details to evaluate the net tax liability.

On-time GST filing has various benefits. It helps businesses to maintain a strong relationship with their suppliers and buyers while boosting the credibility of the company. As a result, it comes in handy when the company applies for credit. 

Also, since the GST return keeps a record of all the transactions, it helps business owners make strategic business decisions regarding expansion and future investment.

Check out: Calculate GST Amount Effortlessly with Online GST Calculator

How to File GST Returns Online? 

  • Step 1: If you are a new user, you have to first register for GSTIN to obtain a 15-digit GST identification number.
  • Step 2: After doing the registration, log in to the GST portal using your credentials and go to the ‘Services’ tab.
  • Step 3: Access the ‘Returns dashboard’ and select the financial year for which you are filing the GST return.
  • Step 4: Choose the desired return and select the ‘Prepare Online’ option.
  • Step 5: Enter all the required details accurately, including any pending late fees.
  • Step 6: Save the form and submit it, ensuring the status changes to ‘Submitted’.
  • Step 7: Click on ‘Payment of Tax’ and check the balance, which will display the credit and cash balance.
  • Step 8: Offset the liability by selecting the ‘Offset Liability’ option.
  • Step 9: Tick the relevant declaration boxes, choose ‘File Form with DSC’ or ‘File Form with EVC’, and make the payment.

Note: Suppliers have the right to accept or reject any modifications made to the details of the inward supplies that the recipient has mentioned in the GSTR-A.

Read More: GST Registration: A Step-by-step Guide

How Do You Check the Status of the GST Return Without Logging in to the GST Portal? 

Step 1: After logging in to the official GST Portal (, go to ‘Services’ and select ‘Track Application Status’.

Step 2: Choose the ‘Refund’ option from the available options.

Step 3: Enter the ‘ARN (Application Reference Number)’ associated with your refund application.

Step 4: Click on ‘SEARCH’ to track the status of your refund application.

Step 5: Note that you can track your refund application without logging into the GST Portal only by using the ARN.

How to File NIL GST Return?

You can file a ‘Nil’ return for a specific tax period if you haven’t engaged in any outward supply (sales) or received any inward supply (purchases) of goods/services, and therefore, do not owe any tax for that particular period.

Step 1: Go to URL.

Step 2: Login to the GST Portal with valid credentials.

Step 3: Click the Services > Returns > Returns Dashboard

#1 GST Return

Step 4: Select the Financial Year & Return Filing Period for which you want to file the return.

Step 5: Click the search button.

#2 GST Return

Step 6: This page displays the due date of filing the returns, which the taxpayer is required to file using separate tiles. Click the prepare online button.

    Note: The due date for filing Form GSTR-3B is displayed on this page.

    #3 GST Return

    Step 7: Answer the questions to show the relevant sections applicable to you. Select Yes for option A ‘Do you want to file Nil return?’.

    Note: All other options will be disabled once you select ‘Yes’ in question A.

    Step 8: Click the next button.

    Filing of tax page is displayed.

    #4 GST Return

    Step 9: Click the preview draft GSTR-3B button to view the summary page of the form for your review.

    #5 GST Return

    Step 10: This button will download the draft summary page of your form. All entries will be zeroes. Since, no payment is involved, therefore, table 6.1 will not be there.

    #6 GST Return

    Step 11: Select the checkbox

    Step 12: From the Authorised Signatory drop-down list, select the authorized signatory.

    Step 13: Click the FILE GSTR-3B WITH DSC or FILE GSTR-3B WITH EVC button.

    #7 GST Return

    Step 14: Click the proceed button.

    #8 GST Return

    Step 15: FILE Form GSTR-3B WITH DSC:

    a. Select the certificate and click the SIGN button.


    a.  Enter the OTP sent on email and mobile number of the Authorized Signatory registered at the GST Portal and click the VERIFY button.

    #9 GST Return
    #10 GST Return

    How to Download the GST Return?

    Here are the steps that will help one download the GST return from the GST portal:

    • Step 1: Go to the official GST Portal and log in to your account on the GST Portal.
    • Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Services’ section.
    • Step 3: Click on ‘Returns’, then select ‘View e-Filed Returns’.
    • Step 4: Choose the relevant ‘Financial Year’ for which the GST Return was filed.
    • Step 5: Select the ‘Return Filing Period’ (Annual, Quarterly, or Monthly).
    • Step 6: Choose the ‘Period’ for which the return was filed.
    • Step 7: Select the specific ‘Return Type’ (GSTR Form) that you want to download.
    • Step 8: Alternatively, you can search for all e-filed GST returns for the selected Financial Year.
    • Step 9: View the ‘Acknowledgment Number’ and ‘Date of Filing’ for the GST Return.
    • Step 10: Click on ‘VIEW’ to access the Review page of the GST Return.
    • Step 11: Click on ‘Download Filed GSTR’ to download the GST Return in PDF format.

    Types of GST Return

    The following table shows details of various types of GST returns, their filing frequency, and respective due dates-


    GST returns are an essential part of the Goods and Services Tax system. They help businesses report their sales, purchases, and tax liabilities accurately. Filing GST returns online through the GST Portal offers convenience and efficiency. There are various types of GSTR forms available to cater to different types of taxpayers and their specific requirements. By understanding what GST returns are, how to file them online, and the different types of GSTR forms, businesses can ensure compliance with GST regulations and streamline their tax reporting process.

    Disclaimer: This blog is written to make it easy for readers to understand complicated processes. Some information and screenshots may be outdated as government processes can change anytime without notification. However, we try our best to keep our blogs updated and relevant.


    Can I file the GST return on my own?

    Yes, you can file the GST return on your own. However, you should take the assistance of an experienced CA to ensure you are not missing out on anything and avoid future legal liabilities.

    What are the important documents required to file GST returns?

    Business owners must keep the following documents handy while filing GST returns:
    • Complete invoice list (B2C and B2B services)
    • Invoice number
    • Customer’s GSTIN
    • Taxable value
    • Invoice type
    • Summary of credit and debit notes
    • HSN summary of goods sold, etc.

    What is the penalty particularity for late GST return filing?

    The Late penalty for CGST and SGST is ₹100 per day per the GST regulations. Hence, one will have to pay a daily fine of ₹200, and the highest penalty amount can be ₹5000. Moreover, an interest rate of 18% is also imposed on the taxpayer.

    What is GSTR?

    Every registered taxpayer is required to file Goods and Services Tax Return 1 on a monthly/quarterly basis. This return must include comprehensive details of all sales and supplies of goods and services made by the taxpayer during the specified tax period.

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