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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on GST Annual Return Filing (GSTR-9)


Although GST in India has covered a long distance in India and the Govt. through frequent GST council meetings have made it easier and transparent enough, yet there are some confusing terms and complications. Keeping in view at the ease of taxpayers, some of the Frequently Asked most common Questions are being answered below. This will help them to understand the issues and deal effectively.

1. What is meant by GST Return?

A GST Return, in the new Indirect-tax administration, is a statement of details pertaining to business activities undertaken by the taxable person within a prescribed tax period. A taxable person has a legal compulsion to declare his/her tax liability, furnish details about the taxes paid and file correct and complete return within the due date. Goods and Services Tax is a self-assessed destination-based tax structure. The submission and processing of return build an important link between taxpayers and tax administration.

2. What are the main purposes of filing GST returns?

Filing GST return is an important mechanism for under-mention reasons –

  • Compliance verification program of tax administration,
  • Providing necessary inputs for taking policy decisions,
  • Management of audit and anti-tax-evasion programs of tax administration,
  • Finalization of the tax liabilities of the taxpayer within the specified period, etc.

3. When does the statutory requirement to file GST return triggers?

When a person becomes liable to register or gets voluntarily registered, then the person applies for the registration within the prescribed time-frame. After obtaining the GSTIN (15 Digit – Goods and Services Identification Number), the person becomes responsible to file GST returns as per the rule. Even the person who obtains the registration voluntarily under GST is also required to file Returns as per the GST Rule.

4. What is the scope of first GST Return and who needs to file it?

Section 40 under Chapter IX of the GST Act 2017 speaks about the provisions in regard to the filing of the first GST Return. According to this rule, every registered person who has made outward supplies in the period between the dates on which he became liable to registration till the date on which registration has been granted shall declare the same in the first return furnished by him/her after the grant of registration.

There is no particular form for First Return. Howsoever, this is a purpose-specific section which stipulates that the details of the period as specified above shall be furnished in his/her first return (whatsoever may be the form of Return) which the taxpayer is going to furnish through a GST Software.

5. Who needs to file GST Returns every month?

All GST registered regular suppliers are subjected to file GST Returns in FORM GSTR-1, GSTR-2, and GSTR-3 on monthly basis. But, to facilitate the ease of return filing for small and medium businesses with annual aggregate turnover not more than ₹ 1.5 Crore such taxpayers may opt to file returns in GSTR-1, GSTR-2, and GSTR-3 on a quarterly basis. There are some other returns as well which are required to be filed every month by specified taxpayers through GST Accounting Software.

In case of extension in the due date of any of the above-mentioned returns, the taxpayers are supposed to file GSTR-3B every month along with the payment of tax. Practically, GSTR 1, 2, 3 and GSTR-3B are two parallel sets of GST Returns in respect of the same tax period. Currently, every regular taxpayer is required to file only GSTR-1 and GST-3B for the applicable tax period as GSTR-2 and GSTR-3 are not in practice.

6. Who should file GST returns on a quarterly basis?

  • Businesses with annual aggregate turnover are not more than ₹ 1.5 crores may file quarterly returns in GSTR-1 but they should pay taxes on a monthly basis by filing GSTR-3B. 
  • GSTR-4 which is applicable for Composition Dealers was also required to be filed on a quarterly basis. But as of now, GSTR-4 require to be file annually where payment of tax shall be done on a quarterly basis by filing GST PMT-08
  • Any person holding Unique Identification Number (UIN) and claiming a refund is also required to furnish GSTR-11 on a quarterly basis.

7. Is there any GST Return which is to be filed on a half-yearly basis?

No! There is no such return in GST structure which is required to be filed on a half-yearly basis.

8. What is Annual return and which section of the GST Act elaborates the provisions of annual return?

Section 44 of the GST Act, 2017 states that every registered person is required to furnish an annual return for every Financial Year.

9. What is the due date for filing Annual Return?

The Annual return, according to Sec. 44 of the GST Act, 2017, should be filed electronically through HostBooks GST Software on or before the 31st December following the end of relevant Financial Year.

10. Is there any exception from the filing of Annual return?

Yes! The following persons, as per section 44(1), are not required to furnish annual return:

  • Input Service Distributors,
  • Persons paying tax under section 51,
  • Casual taxable persons, and
  • Non-resident taxable persons.

11. Is there any exemption threshold limit below which a person is not required to file an annual return?

No! Every registered person except as specified in section 44(1) needs to furnish an annual return for every Financial Year.

12. Is Annual return to be filed for the period Financial Year of the calendar year?

Every registered person except as specified in section 44(1) has to furnish an annual return for every Financial Year.

13. Which rules speaks about the form and manner in which annual return has to be filed?

The form and manner in which the annual return should be furnished have been stipulated under Rule 80 of the GST Rules 2017.

14. What is the name of the GST annual return form?

According to Rule 8, FORM GSTR-9 is known as ‘Annual Return Form’.

15. Is form GSTR-9 notified?

Yes! Form GSTR-9 for the FY 2017-18 has been notified vide Notification No. 39/2018 – Central Tax dated 4th September 2018.

And, this has been amended vide Notification No. 74/2018 – Central Tax dated 31st December 2018.

16. Is GSTR-9 available on the GST common portal?

Yes! GSTR-9 has already been made available on the GST common portal on 6th March 2019 itself.

17. What is the mode of submission and filing of GST Annual return?

GSTR -9 should be submitted and filed through the GST common portal i.e.  either directly or through a Facilitation Centre notified by the Commissioner.

18. Are there different types of Annual returns on the basis of the nature of the taxpayer?

Yes! The most common basic Annual return applicable to every registered regular taxable person is GSTR-9. Howsoever, there are two categories of persons who are required to furnish the annual return in lieu of GSTR-9:

  • Composition Supplier: It must be noted that any composition supplier who pays tax under Sec. 10 should furnish his/her Annual return in FORM GSTR-9A.
  • Electronic Commerce Operator: It must be noted that the all Electronic Commerce Operators who are required to Collect Tax at Source under Sec. 52 should furnish their Annual statement in FORM GSTR-9B.

19. Is GSTR 9C notified by the CBIC?

Yes! GSTR-9C has been notified Vide Notification No. 49/2018 – Central Tax dated 13th September 2018.

And, the same has been amended as well vide Notification No. 74/2018 – Central Tax dated 31st December 2018.

20. What are the Preconditions for filing GSTR-9?

Following two are the important pre-conditions for filing of GSTR-9:

  • The taxpayer should have active GSTIN during the relevant Financial Year as a normal/regular taxpayer even for a single day.
  • The taxpayer has filed all applicable returns i.e. Form GSTR-1 and Form GSTR-3B of the relevant Financial Year adequately before filing the Annual return.

21. Can taxpayers download system computed values of GSTR 9?

Yes! Taxpayers can easily download the system computed values for Form GSTR-9 in PDF format. This helps taxpayers to use it as a reference while filing Form GSTR-9.

22. When ‘Late fee payable and paid’ file in form GSTR-9 gets enabled?

Once the status of Form GSTR-9 becomes ready to file and liabilities are calculated. Late fee payable and paid file gets enabled automatically for filing of Form GSTR-9 by the taxpayer.

Note: Use this Calculator for GST late fees.

23. Can a taxpayer file Form GSTR-9 return without paying a late fee (if applicable)?

No! Any taxpayer is not eligible to file Form GSTR-9 without making the payment of a late fee for Form GSTR-9 if it is filed after the due date.

24. Can taxpayers preview Form GSTR-9 before filing?

Yes! Taxpayers can easily view/download the preview of Form GSTR-9 in PDF and Excel format just by clicking on ‘PREVIEW DRAFT GSTR-9 (PDF)’ or ‘PREVIEW DRAFT GSTR-9 (EXCEL)’ button right before filing Form GSTR-9 on the GST Portal.

25. What happens after the Annual Return (GSTR-9) is filed?

Once Form GSTR-9 is submitted successfully:

  • ARN is generated instantly.
  • An SMS and an email are sent to the taxpayer on his/her registered mobile and e-mail id.
  • Electronic Cash Ledger and Electronic Liability register part-I will get updated on successful set-off of liabilities (applicable in case of ‘Late fee’ only).
  • GSTR-9 becomes available for view/download in PDF and Excel format.
  • Option to fill GSTR-9C (Reconciliation Statement) will be available which is applicable to the taxpayer having an aggregate turnover exceeding Rs 2 Crore.

26. Can GSTR-9 be revised?

No! Once the submission of GSTR-9 is done successfully, it cannot be revised at any cost.

27. Is penalty levied on late filing of GSTR-9?

Although there is a clear provision for a late fee of Rs.200/- per day on late filing of GSTR-9 along with the higher cap of 0.25% of turnover in the State/Union Territory has been provided, yet, levying penalty on the top of such higher cap may lead to contrary.

Arpita Bora is leading the content writing team at HostBooks Limited. She has pursued her Masters in Commerce. With over 4.5 years of experience in technical and creative writing, she specializes in both long and short-form digital content.

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