Types of GST Returns: Returns Under The GST Law


A GST return is a crucial form that every taxpayer registered under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law in India must file. It’s not just about filing; the GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number) status should also be active, reflecting consistent return filings. To validate this, you can rely on our GST search tool.

Did you know that the GST ecosystem encompasses a diverse array of 22 types of GST returns, as mandated by the GST Rules? Of these, 11 are active, 4 are suspended, and 8 are view-only in nature. The specific GST returns applicable to your business or professional status depend on your registration type. Whether you fall under the category of a regular taxpayer, composition taxable person, e-commerce operator, TDS deductor, non-resident taxpayer, Input Service Distributor (ISD), or casual taxable person, each entails distinct return requirements.

Moreover, the frequency of filing certain GST returns may vary for GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B filers, particularly if they choose the Quarterly Return filing and Monthly Payment of Taxes (QRMP) scheme.

Unveiling the Diversity of GST Returns and their Due Dates


GSTR-1 is the linchpin return for reporting outward supplies of goods and services. This includes invoices and debit-credit notes for sales transactions during a tax period. All normal taxpayers under GST, including casual taxable persons, are required to file GSTR-1. Notably, any amendments to sales invoices, even for previous tax periods, must be reported here.

Monthly: Filed by the 11th* of each month for businesses with an annual aggregate turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore or those not opting for the QRMP scheme.

Quarterly: Filed by the 13th** of the month following each quarter for businesses under the QRMP scheme.


GSTR-2A is a dynamic, view-only GST return for recipients or buyers of goods and services. It presents details of inward supplies or purchases from GST registered suppliers during a tax period. This data is auto-populated based on suppliers’ GSTR-1 returns, including data from the Invoice Furnishing Facility (IFF) for QRMP taxpayers. While it cannot be edited, buyers use it to accurately claim Input Tax Credit (ITC) across financial years.


Similar to GSTR-2A, GSTR-2B is a static view-only return for recipients or buyers. It provides unchanging ITC data for a specific period. ITC details are covered from the previous month’s GSTR-1 filing up to the current month’s GSTR-1 filing. It’s accessible from the 12th of every month, aiding accurate ITC declaration in GSTR-3B.


GSTR-2, currently suspended, was intended for registered buyers to report inward supplies or purchases during a tax period. It auto-populated from GSTR-2A and allowed editing. Despite its suspension since September 2017, it served as a bridge to upcoming returns.


Also suspended, GSTR-3 summarized details of outward supplies, inward supplies, input tax credit claimed, and tax liabilities. It auto-generated from GSTR-1 and GSTR-2. Despite its suspension, it laid the groundwork for future GST filing paradigms.


GSTR-3B is a vital monthly self-declaration summarizing outward supplies, input tax credit claimed, and taxes paid. Reconciliation with GSTR-1 and GSTR-2B is crucial to identify mismatches and ensure accurate tax compliance.

Monthly: Filed by the 20th* of the succeeding month for taxpayers with an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore or those not in the QRMP scheme.

Quarterly: Filed by the 22nd** of the following quarter for ‘X’** category States and the 24th** of the following quarter for ‘Y’** category States for taxpayers with an annual turnover equal to or below Rs. 5 crore and in the QRMP scheme.


GSTR-4, an annual return, was for composition taxable persons until FY 2019-20. Earlier filed quarterly, it simplified to a simple challan in form CMP-08. This composition scheme is for businesses with a turnover up to Rs. 1.5 crores and also for service providers up to Rs. 50 lakhs, as per CGST (Rate) Notification 2/2019.

GSTR-5 and GSTR-5A:

GSTR-5 caters to non-resident foreign taxpayers conducting business transactions in India. Filed monthly by the 20th, it includes details of outward supplies, inward supplies, credit/debit notes, tax liability, and taxes paid. GSTR-5A, on the other hand, is for Online Information and Database Access or Retrieval Services (OIDAR) providers.


GSTR-6, filed monthly by the 13th, is for Input Service Distributors (ISD). It details input tax credit received and distributed, including documents issued for credit distribution.


GSTR-7, filed monthly by the 10th, is for TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) deductors. It encompasses TDS deducted, payable, paid, and refund claimed.


E-commerce operators collecting Tax at Source (TCS) file GSTR-8 monthly by the 10th. It covers supplies made via the platform and the collected TCS.

GSTR-9 and GSTR-9A:

GSTR-9, an annual return filed by taxpayers, consolidates monthly/quarterly returns (GSTR-1, GSTR-2A, GSTR-3B) for a financial year. An exception is made for certain categories, as per CGST notification no. 47/2019. GSTR-9A, now suspended, catered to composition taxpayers.


GSTR-9C, filed by taxpayers with a turnover exceeding Rs. 5 crore, is a reconciliation statement between books and GSTR-9, due by December 31st following the financial year.


GSTR-10, filed within three months from cancellation or surrender, is the final return for cancelled/surrendered registrations.


GSTR-11, filed by those with a Unique Identity Number (UIN), facilitates refunds for goods and services purchased by foreign diplomatic missions and embassies not liable to tax in India.

Understanding and navigating the intricate landscape of GST returns are paramount for businesses and professionals alike. ClearTax is your ally in staying informed and compliant, helping you seamlessly fulfill your GST obligations.