Step-by-Step Guide to Filing GST Returns Online

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A Comprehensive Guide to GST Return Filing Online


Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax levied on every value addition. GST has simplified the indirect tax system in India by replacing multiple taxes levied by the central and state governments. With the advent of digital technology, GST return filing has become more accessible through online platforms. The article provides a step-by-step guide to filing GST returns online.

Types of GST Returns

Before diving into the filing process, it's essential to understand the various types of GST returns, each serving a different purpose:

  1. GSTR-1: Details of outward supplies of goods or services.
  2. GSTR-2A: Read-only document containing details of inward supplies auto-populated from the supplier's GSTR-1.
  3. GSTR-3B: Simple summary return of inward and outward supplies.
  4. GSTR-4: Quarterly return for composition scheme taxpayers.
  5. GSTR-5: Return for non-resident taxable persons.
  6. GSTR-6: Return for input service distributors.
  7. GSTR-7: Return for authorities deducting tax at source.
  8. GSTR-8: Return for e-commerce operators collecting tax at source.
  9. GSTR-9: Annual return for regular taxpayers.
  10. GSTR-10: Final return in case of cancellation of GST registration.
  11. GSTR-11: Return for taxpayers with a Unique Identification Number (UIN).

Prerequisites for GST Return Filing

Before you start the GST return filing process, ensure you have the following:

  1. Active GSTIN (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number): You must be registered under GST and have an active GSTIN.
  2. Login Credentials: Access the GST portal with your username and password.
  3. Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) or EVC: For authentication purposes, businesses (other than proprietorships) must use a DSC, while proprietorships can use an Electronic Verification Code (EVC).
  4. Required Data: Sales and purchase invoices, outward and inward supplies details, and other necessary documents.

Step-by-Step Guide to Filing GST Returns Online

Step 1: Access the GST Portal

  1. Visit the GST Portal: Go to the official GST portal (
  2. Login: Click the 'Login' button and enter your credentials (username and password).

Step 2: Navigate to the Return Filing Section

  1. Dashboard: You will be directed to the dashboard after logging in.
  2. Services: From the main menu, navigate to 'Services'> 'Returns'> 'Returns Dashboard'.

Step 3: Select the Return Period

  1. Financial Year and GST Return Filing Period: From the dropdown menu, select the financial year and the return filing period (monthly or quarterly).
  2. Search: Click on the 'Search' button to proceed.

Step 4: Choose the Return Form

  1. Select Form: Select the appropriate return form (e.g., GSTR-1, GSTR-3B) based on your registration type and business activities.

Step 5: Fill in the Return Details

  1. Outward Supplies (Sales): For GSTR-1, provide details of outward supplies, including invoice-wise information for B2B transactions and aggregate details for B2C transactions.
  2. Inward Supplies (Purchases): Ensure all purchase details are correctly captured for GSTR-2A (auto-populated) and GSTR-3B.
  3. Tax Calculation: Calculate the tax liability, including CGST, SGST, IGST, and cess, if applicable.

Step 6: Validate and Submit the Return

  1. Save and Preview: Save the details periodically to avoid data loss. Preview the return to ensure all details are correctly entered.
  2. Submit: Click the 'Submit' button to validate your return.

Step 7: Payment of Tax Liability

  1. Create Challan: If there is any tax liability, generate a challan for tax payment.
  2. Payment: Pay using modes such as Net Banking, Credit/Debit Card, or NEFT/RTGS.

Step 8: File the Return

  1. Authentication: Use DSC or EVC to authenticate the return.
  2. File Return: Click on the 'File Return' button. A confirmation message and an acknowledgement reference number (ARN) will be generated.

Step 9: Download the Acknowledgment

  1. Download and Save: Download the filed return and acknowledgement for your records.


Filing GST returns online is a streamlined and efficient process that ensures compliance with the GST law. Regular and accurate filing helps businesses avoid penalties and maintain compliance ratings. The GST return filing process and ensure your business complies with all regulatory requirements.

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