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GST Law: A look at the tax returns you need to file and when to file them

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council has recently approved the final draft Central GST (C-GST) and Integrated GST (I-GST) laws in a bid to meet the July deadline. The council had earlier cleared the GST Compensation Bill, which requires the Centre to compensate states for any revenue loss for five years after migrating to the new tax system. All these initiatives are taking us closer to the one-nation, one-tax regime, soon to be implemented in India.

While GST holds immense benefits for businesses small and large, it also requires them to adopt technology and become part of a digital economy. Under the new indirect tax regime, every taxable person needs to furnish their tax details online. But GST will change how Indian businesses operate.

Under the current regime, businesses have the option to file manual challans. However, the new law requires them to comply via the online mode only. Every supply to a registered person needs to be reported through the GSTR-1 form. In addition, GSTR-2 and GSTR-3, which are inward supply details and monthly GST return form, respectively, are required to be filed every month on the GST portal. Also, companies will be required to submit additional returns specific to their specific businesses under the GST regime.

To make things easier for our readers, here is an overview of the various returns, which are required to be furnished under the new GST law, along with pointers on what information needs to be filed, who should file these returns and what are the timelines for their submission.

Before we deep dive into the nuances of GST returns, we should understand the nature of a return form and why it is so important to file it on time.

A return form is a document that a taxpayer is required to file with the tax authorities as per the law. Under the GST Law, a normal taxpayer will be required to furnish three monthly returns and one annual return. There are also provisions for separate returns for taxpayers registered under the composition scheme and those registered as Input Service Distributors.

Tax returns to file and their due dates

It is important to note that every business will be assigned state-specific GST identification number or GSTIN. GST returns will be filed against this unique number. For instance, if a business is making taxable supply from three different states, it needs to file all these returns in each state.

All these returns are to be filed digitally through a common portal at The portal is maintained by GSTN, a non-government, private limited company promoted by the Central and state governments with the specific mandate to build the IT infrastructure and the services required for implementing GST.

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