Don’t get lost in Diwali festivities, remember to file GST return, as deadline looms; from format, eligibility, tax rules to penalties, all details here

GST return: Having a last minute work will always come as a burden, in fact you might just miss out on crucial information.


Among many deadlines and forms, there is one that is called annual returns, which a tax payer is required to file under Goods and Services Tax (GST). Currently, India is busy preparing for Diwali festival, however, one needs to remember that with this festive season, the deadline for filing GSTR 9 is also near. This form is used to file annual returns  once in a year by the registered taxpayers under GST including those registered under composition levy scheme. The deadline for filing GSTR 9 ends by December 2018, hence you might want to start preparing the data of your annual returns with proper proof. Having a last minute work will always come as a burden, in fact you might just miss out on crucial information.

Archit Gupta, Founder & CEO ClearTax says, “Every taxpayer registered under GST has to file GST returns. GST returns are further divided into two categories- periodic and annual. Periodic returns are filed monthly or quarterly, to report the transactions during the month or the quarter, while the annual return is the summarized report of all the periodic returns filed during a financial year. The annual return is extremely important since it is the last return for a tax period.”

Here’s a study of GST annual return, as per ClearTax.

Who is required to file an annual return?

All the registered taxpayers are required to file an annual return except for those who have obtained registration as:

Input service distributors, who distribute the input tax credit of services that are invoiced in one location but are to be used in different locations.

Casual taxable persons or Non-resident taxable persons, such as an exhibitor

Persons liable to deduct tax at source.

What are the different types of annual return?

Various annual return forms have been prescribed depending on the categories of taxpayers under the GST rules, which are as follows :

GSTR 9 Annual Return Form: The regular taxpayers who file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B, are required to file the GSTR-9.

GSTR 9A: The composition scheme taxpayers are required to furnish GSTR 9A.

GSTR 9B: All the e-commerce operators liable to deduct TDS need to file GSTR 9B.

GSTR 9C: The taxpayers whose annual turnover exceeds Rs.2 crores are required to file GSTR 9C with their annual return. Also, the accounts are required to be audited under GST laws before filing GSTR 9C.

The long-awaited annual return formats were released early this September. The forms GSTR 9, 9A & 9C  are comprehensive return forms requiring detailed information from the taxpayer.

What is the due date for filing the annual return?

The annual returns i.e GSTR 9 or GSTR 9A is to be filed on or before 31 December of the next financial year.

For instance, the annual return for the FY 2017 -18 needs to be filed by 31 December 2018.

Penalties or late fees, if one misses the deadline

Failure to file the annual return will attract a penalty of Rs.200 per day (CGST Rs. 100 & SGST Rs. 100) during the period of failure, subject to a maximum of 0.25% of the relevant financial year’s turnover.

Can the taxpayers revise the annual return? 

The annual returns, once filed, cannot be revised under the current provisions of the GST law.

Therefore, the taxpayer must be careful with reporting of all the transactions relevant to the financial year in the annual return.

Pre-requisites of  filing the annual return

With the approaching deadline for the first ever filing of the annual return, the taxpayers need to plan for few important compliances.

All Input tax credit (ITC) pertaining to the invoices- issued during 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018- need to be considered on or before 25 October 2018 (initially the date was 20 October 2018). The credit will no more be eligible for claiming if not accounted by 25 October 2018.

Reconciliation of the taxes paid, ITC claimed etc., should be executed regularly to ensure that the supplier has correctly uploaded the invoice details in GSTR-2A.

Matching and reconciliation of ITC will help the taxpayers file their annual returns with ease. Filing of annual returns can be made easier if the reconciliation of the GSTR-2A and the purchase register is done promptly.

There may be instances where the supplier has not uploaded an invoice detail or where the supplier has entered the invoice details but the recipient has not claimed ITC on it. The supplier and recipient of any transaction wrongly reported has to communicate and resolve all the discrepancies to claim accurate ITC and report true figures. As soon as the reconciliation process is done, the taxpayers can prepare themselves with the correct consolidated figures to mention in the annual return.

For taxpayers with a turnover of more than Rs.2 crore, they need to get their GST audit completed beforehand. Along with the GST audit report, they must supply a copy of the audited financial statements, a reconciliation statement of the ITC, and the tax paid as per the audited accounts.

Lastly, the taxpayers need to collate all GST data filed for the FY 2017 -18 along with the reconciliations, in order to successfully file the annual returns on or before 31 December 2018.


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