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Demystifying the GST Return Filing Process in India
Introduction
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition in India. For businesses, it is crucial to understand the process of filing GST returns as it is a mandatory compliance activity. This article aims to simplify the GST return filing process for businesses and taxpayers.

What is a GST Return?
A GST return is a document containing details of income which a taxpayer is required to file with the tax administrative authorities. This is used by tax authorities to calculate tax liability. Under GST, a registered dealer has to file GST returns that include purchases, sales, output GST (on sales), and input tax credit (GST paid on purchases).

Types of GST Returns
There are multiple GST returns that need to be filed as per the regulations, which include but are not limited to:

GSTR-1: For sales of goods and services
GSTR-2: For purchases transactions
GSTR-3: A monthly summary of sales and purchases along with the payment of GST
GSTR-4: For taxpayers enrolled under the GST Composition Scheme
GSTR-5: For non-resident taxable persons
GSTR-9: The annual return
Steps to File GST Returns
GST Registration: To file GST returns, the first step is to register yourself under GST and obtain a GSTIN (GST Identification Number).
Collect Invoices: Accumulate all your business invoices that are GST compliant. An invoice must include your GSTIN, the customer’s GSTIN, invoice number and date, details of the goods or services, HSN code, and the applicable GST rate.
Record Transactions: Record all your transactions for the period for which the return is to be filed.
Access GST Portal: Log in to the GST portal (www.gst.gov.in) using your credentials.
Upload Invoices: For filing GSTR-1, the invoice-wise details of all outward supplies made during the tax period have to be uploaded.
File Returns: After uploading invoices, returns can be filed. For GSTR-1, GSTR-2, and GSTR-3, details regarding the outward supplies, inward supplies, and the cumulative monthly return need to be filed respectively.
Pay GST Due: Calculate the tax payable and pay the due amount using the correct head (CGST, SGST, IGST, UTGST, and Cess).
File GSTR-3B: After payment, file the consolidated monthly return GSTR-3B which summarizes the details of inward and outward supplies.
Documents Required for GST Return Filing
Valid GSTIN
Aadhaar Card for authentication
Bank account details
Details of outward and inward supplies
GST-compliant invoices
Deadlines for Filing GST Returns
The deadlines for filing GST returns vary based on the type of return being filed. For example, GSTR-1 is generally due on the 11th of the subsequent month, and GSTR-3B is due on the 20th of the subsequent month. It is essential to keep track of these deadlines to avoid penalties.

Penalties for Late Filing
If a GST return is not filed within the due date, a late fee is charged. The late fee for filing GSTR-1, GSTR-3B, and other returns after the due date is INR 100 per day per act. Therefore, it’s INR 100 under CGST & 100 under SGST, totals to INR 200/day, subject to a maximum of INR 5,000.

Conclusion
Filing GST returns is a vital process that needs to be completed by all businesses registered under GST. The process can be intricate and may require meticulous attention to details of every transaction. It is always recommended to consult with a GST expert or use professional accounting services to ensure accurate and timely compliance.,
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This article is only published for informational purposes. Please consult your Chartered Accountant or Financial Advisor before making any important financial decisions.

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