Since inception, Goods and Service Tax is becoming a hot topic in the business fraternity. And currently, the GST annual return is in focus.  After various extensions, at present, the final due date of filing of the first GST annual return for the period 2017-2018 as per recent GST council meeting is 31st August 2019.

Provisions as Contained in the Act and Rules

Section 44 of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017 and rule 80 of the Central Goods and Service Tax Rules, 2017 deals with the provisions of annual return. Reviewing both the above-referred section and the rule, one can conclude the following:

  • Every registered person is will have to furnish an annual return for every financial year.
  • It is mandatory to file an annual return electronically.
  • Filing GST return is a must; on or before 31st December following the end of the financial year.
  • The exemption on the filing of annual return applies to the following persons:
    • An input service distributor (i.e. ISD).
    • A person liable to collect or deduct tax at source under section 51 or section 52.
    • Any casual taxable person; and
    • Non-resident taxable person. 
  • Different categories of registered persons shall file an annual return in different forms:
    • A normal taxable person must file an annual return in FORM GSTR-9;
    • A composition scheme taxable person must file an annual return in FORM GSTR-9A;
    • An E-commerce operator who is liable to collect TCS under section 52 need to file an annual return in FORM GSTR-9B; 
    • A taxable person, for his/her accounts auditing, needs to file a reconciliation statement in FORM GSTR-9C at the time of filing an annual return. The registered person with aggregate turnover during the financial year exceeds INR 2 Crore will have to follow accounts auditing formlalities.

Period Covered in Filing of First GST Annual Return

Goods and Service Tax was introduced on 1st July 2017. Hence, dates for filing the first GST annual returns are between 1st July 2017 to 31st March 2018.

Due date for Filing First Annual Return

Basically, the due date for filing is 31st December following the end of the financial year. However, after various extension, the due date for filing of the first GST annual return is 31st August 2019.  

Conditions for Filing NIL GST Annual Return

The taxpayer are eligible to file NIL return only after fulfilling the following conditions:

  • When taxpayer has not made any outward supplies;
  • The taxpayer has not received any inward supplies of goods or services; 
  • In case of taxpayer has not claimed any input tax credit (ITC);
  • The taxpayer has not received any order creating demand; 
  • When taxpayer has not claimed any refund; and
  • The taxpayer has no other liability.

Pre-Requisite of Filing GST Annual Return

  • All the required returns in FORM GSTR-1 and FORM GSTR-3B for the financial year have to be filed before filing of an annual return.  

Steps for Filing the Return

One can file GST annual return via online and offline mode. Basic steps for filing of a GST annual return are –

  1. Visit site https://www.gst.gov.in/
  2. Click on Login and provide appropriate ‘Username’ and ‘Password’; 
  3. Navigate the below path – 

Services > Returns > Annual Return  

  1. Select appropriate Financial Year and click on SEARCH; 
  2. This displays an applicable annual return format with the option of ‘PREPARE ONLINE’ and ‘PREPARE OFFLINE’
  3. Select the desired option and submit the return.  

Steps for Downloading System Generated Summary of GST Annual Return Form GSTR-9 

GST annual return filing is introduced for the first time and hence to help the taxpayer, system generated a summary of a GST annual return is made available. Following are the steps to download the system generated summary of GST annual return in Form GSTR-9;

  1. Visit site https://www.gst.gov.in/
  2. Click on Login and provide appropriate ‘Username’ and ‘Password’; 
  3. Navigate the below path – 

Services > Returns > Annual Return  

  1. Select appropriate Financial Year and click on SEARCH; 
  2. Under ‘Annual Return GSTR 9’ select PREPARE-ONLINE; 
  3. Answer the following question – 

Do you want to file a NIL return?  

Select Yes or No and click on NEXT; Click on ‘DOWNLOAD GSTR-9 SYSTEM COMPUTED SUMMARY (PDF)’

Penalty/Late Fee Payable in case of Failure/Late Filing of GST Annual Return

In case of failure in the furnishing of GST return within the due date, penalty / late fee of INR 200 per day is payable (INR 100 per day CGST + INR 100 per day SGST). 

The maximum amount of penalty / late fee payable is restricted to 0.25% of the total turnover in the State or Union Territory.  

Important Points to Note:

  • Revising the filed GST return is not possible. 
  • If the number of records either in Table 17 (i.e. HSN wise summary of outward supplies) or in Table 18 (i.e. HSN wise summary of inward supplies) is more than 500 per table, then, the annual return can be prepared using offline utilities only. Such taxpayer should prepare their annual return in offline mode and subsequently upload the same on the common portal.  
  • In case the taxpayer needs to file a reconciliation statement in Form GSTR-9C, s/he is first required to file an annual return, and only then one is allowed to file the reconciliation statement in Form GSTR-9C. 
  • In case there is any additional liability which has been declared in the annual return, the same can be paid through Form GST DRC-03. The taxpayer paying the additional liability is required to select ‘Annual return’ from the drop-down list provided GST Annual Return: Rules, Due date & Processing Form GST DRC-03. Please note additional liability has to be paid through cash only.