What is GSTR (Goods and Services Tax return)?

Understand the different types of GSTR returns to ensure transparent tax practices as a responsible business owner.
Business Loan
2 min read
04 August 2023

If you are a business owner in India, you must have come across the term, GSTR, which stands for Goods and Services Tax return. It is a crucial aspect of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. As a responsible taxpayer, it is essential to understand what GSTR is, its types, importance, and the necessary documents required for compliance. Moreover, employing aids such as the GST Calculator can enhance the efficiency of tax calculations, facilitating precise GST returns.

Types of GSTR

Under the GST system, there are different types of GSTR that businesses need to file based on the nature of their operations. The various types of GSTR are:

  • GSTR-1: This return requires businesses to provide details of their outward supplies, i.e., sales. It includes information about the supplies made to registered taxpayers, as well as the supplies made to unregistered persons, if the value exceeds a specified limit. GSTR-1 needs to be filed monthly, except for small taxpayers who can opt for quarterly filing.
  • GSTR-2A: This is a system-generated read-only return, which is auto-populated based on the information furnished by the suppliers in their GSTR-1. Taxpayers can view and verify their inward supplies (purchases) from registered suppliers using GSTR-2A.
  • GSTR-2B: This is an auto-generated read-only GST return in India. It offers businesses a summarised view of their inward supplies, including purchases from registered suppliers and imports. It helps in reconciling data and verifying input tax credit (ITC) claims.
  • GSTR-3: This is also an auto-generated return that is based on the information provided in GSTR-1 and GSTR-2. It is a summary of outward and inward supplies and the tax liability for the tax period. However, GSTR-3 has also been suspended since July 2017.
  • GSTR-3B: This is a summary return that businesses need to file on a monthly basis. It requires a summary of outward supplies, inward supplies, input tax credit (ITC) claimed, and the amount of tax paid.
  • GSTR-4: Small taxpayers who have opted for the composition scheme need to file GSTR-4. This return requires businesses to provide a quarterly summary of their outward supplies and tax payable.
  • GSTR-5: Non-resident taxpayers who are conducting business in India and are required to pay GST on their supplies need to file GSTR-5. It contains details of their outward supplies and tax liability.
  • GSTR-6: This return is for input Service distributors (ISD) who distribute the credit of GST paid on input services to their branches or units. It involves providing details of input tax credit distributed and received.
  • GSTR-7: Businesses that are required to deduct tax at source (TDS) need to file GSTR-7. It includes details of TDS deducted, TDS liability, and the TDS paid.
  • GSTR-8: This is for e-commerce operators who are required to collect tax at source (TCS). It contains information about the supplies made through their platform and the TCS collected.
  • GSTR-9: This is an annual return that provides a comprehensive summary of all GST transactions made during the financial year. It includes details from GSTR-1, GSTR-3B, and GSTR-2A.
  • GSTR-9A: Similar to GSTR-9, GSTR-9A is for businesses registered under the composition scheme. It involves providing an annual summary of all transactions.
  • GSTR-9C: This is a reconciliation statement that needs to be filed along with GSTR-9. It is certified by a chartered accountant or cost accountant and ensures the accuracy of the annual return.
  • GSTR-10: This is a GST return filed by businesses whose GST registration has been cancelled or surrendered. It is a final return that summarises the details of closing stock and liabilities at the time of cancellation.
  • GSTR-11: On a quarterly basis, unique identity number (UIN) holders need to file GSTR-11, which documents the details of the inward supply of goods or services or both they have received.

Importance of GSTR

GSTR is not just a statutory obligation but a crucial tool to ensure a transparent and accountable tax system. It helps the government in tracking and verifying the tax liabilities of businesses and preventing tax evasion. For businesses, proper filing of GSTR ensures that they can claim input tax credit (ITC) on their purchases, which ultimately reduces their tax liability. Moreover, compliance with GSTR requirements builds trust among customers and other stakeholders, showcasing a company's commitment to ethical practices.

Who should file GST returns?

GST returns are documents that contain the details of income, purchases, sales, output GST, and input tax credit of a registered dealer under the GST regime. Filing GST returns is mandatory for all registered dealers, regardless of their turnover or profit. GST returns help the government to monitor the tax compliance and revenue collection from different sectors and regions. GST returns also help the dealers to claim input tax credit and avoid double taxation.

There are different types of GST returns for different categories of dealers, such as regular, composition, non-resident, e-commerce, TDS, etc. The frequency and due dates of filing GST returns vary depending on the type of return and the nature of business. Some GST returns are monthly, some are quarterly, and some are annual. The GST portal provides the facility to file GST returns online using various forms and tools. Filing GST returns on time is essential to avoid penalties and interest charges.

Documents required

To accurately file GSTR, businesses need to maintain and provide certain documents like:

  1. Invoices: Invoices issued for outward supplies need to be recorded and matched with the details provided in GSTR-1.
  2. Invoices received: Businesses need to keep track of the invoices received for inward supplies to claim ITC.
  3. Bills of entry: For importers, bills of entry for imported goods are essential to claim ITC on customs duty paid.
  4. Credit and debit notes: Any adjustments to invoices need to be supported by credit or debit notes.
  5. Tax paid challans: Businesses need to maintain records of tax paid challans as proof of payment.
  6. Shipping bills: For exporters, shipping bills are essential to avail zero-rated supplies.
  7. Input Service distributor records: ISDs need to maintain records of input tax credit distributed to their units.
  8. TDS certificates: For businesses liable to TDS, TDS certificates issued by the deductor are necessary to claim ITC.

GSTR is a vital aspect of GST compliance, and as a business owner, understanding its types, importance, and document requirements are essential. Properly adhering to GSTR guidelines not only ensures a seamless business operation but also contributes to the overall economic growth and development of the nation. So, make sure you stay updated with the latest regulations and file your GSTR accurately and timely to be a responsible and law-abiding taxpayer. Furthermore, to ensure seamless interstate movement of goods and adhere to GST regulations, businesses are required to generate an eway bill.


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