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How to File GSTR 1: Step-by-Step Guide

Filing GSTR 1 is a comprehensive process and requires due diligence on the taxpayer’s part when furnishing invoice details and other tax-related information. 

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide covering everything you need to know about GSTR 1 filing. 

What is GSTR 1?

GSTR-1 refers to the monthly or quarterly returns of outwards supplies of goods and services by GST registered taxpayers. Quarterly filing is to be done by businesses with have an annual turnover of up to 1.5 crores, whereas monthly filing is to be done by those with an annual turnover of over 1.5 crores. 

GSTR-1 return filing is divided into 13 sections.

  1. Tables 1, 2 and 3: GSTIN, legal and trade name, and aggregate turnover in the financial year
  2. Table 4: Taxable outward supplies to registered persons (including UIN-holders) excluding zero-rated supplies & deemed exports
  3. Table 5: Taxable outward inter-state supplies to unregistered persons where the invoice value is more than Rs 2.5 lakh
  4. Table 6: Zero-rated supplies as well as deemed exports
  5. Table 7: Taxable supplies to unregistered persons other than the supplies covered in table 5 (net of debit notes and credit notes)
  6. Table 8: Outward supplies, which are nil rated, exempted and non-GST in nature
  7. Table 9: Amendments to outward supplies that are taxable and reported in table 4,5 & 6 of the earlier tax periods’ GSTR-1 return (including debit notes, credit notes, refund vouchers issued during the current period)
  8. Table 10: Debit note & credit note issued to unregistered persons
  9. Table 11: Details of advances received or adjusted in the current tax period or amendments of the information reported in the earlier tax period.
  10. Table 12: Outward supplies summary based on HSN codes
  11. Table 13: Documents issued during the period

GSTR-1 filing doesn’t require the trader to pay tax instantly: it is due when GSTR 3B is filed. Furthermore, the 13 sections included in the GSTR-1 process are not mandatory for all businesses. This depends on a business’s customer segment and the nature and mode of supplies/sales. 

Who is eligible to file GSTR 1? 

As per the GST rule, every registered business or individual is mandated to file GSTR 1 even if there are no transactions made in a month. 

Based on the annual turnover of the businesses, taxpayers are required to file GSTR 1 on a monthly or quarterly basis. 

  • An annual turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore requires businesses to file GSTR 1 quarterly. 
  • An annual turnover of over Rs 1.5 crore requires taxpayers to file GSTR 1 – monthly.

As of July 1, 2020, there is a facility for nil GSTR 1 filers to file their returns through SMS.

When is GSTR 1 due? 

As per the latest news and notifications, the due date for GSTR-1 filing is as follows:

Quarterly Filing:

  • October – December 2020: January 13, 2021
  • January – March 2021: April 13, 2021

Monthly Filing

  • The deadline is the 11th of the subsequent month. For example, returns for February 2020 should be filed on March 11, 2020. 
Annual TurnoverMonthly/Quarterly GSTR 1 Due Date
Over Rs 1.5 croreOctoberNovember 11, 2020
NovemberDecember 11, 2020
DecemberJanuary 11, 2021
JanuaryFebruary 11, 2021
FebruaryMarch 11, 2021
MarchApril 11, 2021
Up to Rs 1.5 croreOct-Dec 2020January 13, 2021
Jan-Mar 2021April 13, 2021

Late fees & Penalty 

As per the GST law and recent notifications, the late fee for filing GSTR 1 has been reduced to Rs 50 per day. In the case of nil returns, the late fee is Rs 20. Penalty on taxpayers comes into effect after the due date has passed.

Before this, the late fee was Rs 200 per day after the due date (i.e. Rs 100 in accordance with the CGST Act, and Rs 100 as per the SGST Act).

Pre-requisites for filing GSTR 1

Here are the prerequisites: 

  • One must be a registered taxpayer under the GST regime and must possess the 15-digit GSTIN assigned by the government.
  • Registered taxpayers are mandated to maintain detailed invoices with unique serial numbers for every sale/purchase transaction; this includes inter-state & intra-state invoice details, as well as business-to-business (B2B), and retail (B2C) details. Any exempted supplies or stock transfers across different addresses are also included. 
  • Returns are filed either through DSC (Digital Signature Certificate) or EVC (Electronic Verification Code) or Aadhar based e-sign. 

Latest updates on GSTR 1 filing

As per the 42nd GST Council Meeting, the following updates are applicable:

  1. Small businesses with an annual turnover of up to 5 crores are eligible to file quarterly GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B. The due date for GSTR-1 return filing will be every 13th of the month following the end of the current quarter. However, invoices can be submitted monthly. This is effective from January 1, 2021.
  2. Effective from January 1, 2021, a roadmap for auto-generation of GSTR-3B from GSTR-1 will be available. 
  3. Starting from January 1, 2021, monthly filers will have the facility of the auto-population of ITC from suppliers’ GSTR 1 as per the new GSTR 2B form. This will be effective for quarterly taxpayers from 1 April 2021.
  4. Effective from April 1, 2021, Form GSTR-1 will have to be filed compulsory before GSTR-3B. This will enable the auto-population of tax liability and ITC. However, until March 31, 2021, the previous GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B filing system will hold. 
  5. Taxpayers can use auto-generated challan to pay 35% of the net cash tax liability incurred in the previous quarter in the current quarter’s first two months.
  6. GSTR-1 and e-way bills are subject to blockage on non-filing of GSTR-3B.

Step-by-step guide to file GSTR 1 on the GST Portal 

Step 1: Locate GSTR 1 on the GST Portal

  • Use your credentials to log in to the GST Portal
  • On the top menu, select Services > Returns > Returns Dashboard.
gstr1 on gst portal
  • You will be directed to the Return filing page. Enter the financial year and month. Press the Search button.
gstr1 dashboard

Step 2: Select the quarterly or monthly option form

On the screen, you will find the following text – ‘Option form for quarterly return filing by normal taxpayer page.’ 

It will be followed by the following question – “Whether your aggregate turnover during the Previous Financial Year was up to Rs. 1.5 Crores or Do you expect your aggregate turnover during the Current Financial Year to be up to Rs. 1.5 Crores?

There could be two different cases for the above question. 

Case I: If your answer to the first question is ‘yes’, select the option Yes.

  1. If your answer to “would you like to opt for quarterly filing of tax return,” is yes, select Yes again.
gstr1 quarterly
  • Press the Submit button.
  • A message will confirm the quarterly filing option. Press on Proceed.
  • This will be followed by a pop-up that will display a success message. 
confirmation for gstr1
  1. If your answer to “would you like to opt for quarterly filing of tax return,” is no, select No.
gstr1 non quarterly payment
  • Press the Submit button.
  • A message will confirm the monthly filing option. Press on Proceed.
  • This will be followed by a pop-up displaying a success message.
confirmation for gstr1

Case II: If your answer for the first question is ‘no,’ select the option No.

  • Press the Submit button.
  • Press on Proceed.

In case you would like to edit the return filing frequency, press on the Edit button, change the preference as applicable, and press on Submit. A confirmation message will be displayed on the screen.

file returns gstr1

Step 3: Prepare return online

You can either prepare the return online or offline. We’ll be exploring the online procedure of filing returns. Press Prepare Online

how to prepare gstr1 online

You will be directed to enter the following details regarding the outward supplies of goods or services: 1. Aggregate turnover in the preceding financial year 2. Aggregate turnover – April to June 2021.

details of outward supplies of goods or services

Step 4: Edit e-invoice data 

  • Select the eligible e-invoicing entities to edit as applicable. You can’t cancel an e-invoice after 24 hours of the e-invoice being issued. There is no option for amendment either. 

Step 5: Fill up all the details on the current tax period

The following invoice details are required (as applicable):

  • 4A, 4B, 4C, 6B, 6C – B2B Invoices
  • 5A, 5B – B2C (Large) Invoices
  • 9B – Credit / Debit Notes (Registered)
  • 9B – Credit / Debit Notes (Unregistered)
  • 6A – Exports Invoices
  • 9A- Amended B2B invoice
  • 9A- Amended B2C large invoice
  • 9A- Amended Export invoices
  • 9C- Amended Credit/Debit Notes (Registered)
  • 9C- Amended Credit/Debit Note (Unregistered)

Here are some of the other details required:

  • 7- B2C Others
  • 8A, 8B, 8C, 8D – Nil Rated Supplies
  • 11A(1), 11A(2) – Tax Liability (Advances Received)
  • 11B(1), 11B(2) – Adjustment of Advances
  • 12 – HSN-wise-summary of outward supplies
  • 13 – Documents Issued during the tax period
  • 11A – Amended tax liability (Advance received)
  • 11B Amended of Adjustment of Advances
  • 10- Amended B2C (Others)

Step 6: Generate the GSTR 1 summary

Once the above details are entered successfully, go to the bottom of the page, you will find a tab ‘Generate GSTR 1 summary’ as shown below:

how to generate gstr1 summary

This will initiate the process of generating summary.  It will only take a minute. 

On successful generation, a message will be displayed indicating the time and date of generating the summary. 

gstr1 summary portal

The portal will generate a summary every 30 minutes. You can view it instantly by pressing the Generate GSTR1 Summary button. Wait 10 minutes to view the summary otherwise, it will display an error message. 

generate gstr1 summary

Step 7: Preview the summary

Press on the Preview button to view the summary. You can review the draft summary and check the various sections before you submit the GSTR-1 application. 

gstr1 preview

Step 8: Submit the GSTR 1

  • Click on the declaration checkbox to confirm that you have reviewed the information, and acknowledge that no changes can be made once the return is submitted.
  • Following this, press the Submit button.
  • Press on Proceed to acknowledge the pop-up message. 
  • The Submit button will change to Submitted.

Step 9: File GSTR 1 through DSC or EVC mode

  • Press on the File Return button.
  • You will be directed to the following window:
file gstr1 through dsc or evc mode
  • Press on File with DSC or File with EVC accordingly:
    • The DSC mode indicates a digital signature.
    • The EVC mode indicates an authorised signatory that would require you to enter the OTP sent to your mobile number and email address. 

Step 10: Success message and Acknowledgement reference

A success message is displayed on the screen along with an ARN (Acknowledgment Reference Number). A confirmation message will be sent to your registered mobile number and email address. On the dashboard, you can check the status of the return changed to FILED.

In case any step in the filing process confuses you, do not hesitate to contact a GST Practitioner. In the meanwhile, make sure you follow streamlined invoicing and documentation practices while running your business. 

FAQs about GSTR 1

I’ve made an error in my GSTR-1 filing. How can I correct it?

You cannot rectify any errors in GSTR-1 after it has been filed. However, any mistakes can be corrected in the returns of the subsequent month. To cite an example, a filing mistake in April GSTR-1 can be modified in May GSTR-1.

What is the difference between GSTR-1 and GSTR-2?

GSTR-1 is the monthly or quarterly filing of outward supplies of goods or services. GSTR-2, on the other hand, refers to the purchase details for a month or the inward supplies collected in the prior month.

My business doesn’t have an official email address yet. Can I provide an email address temporarily and update it with the correct one later?

Yes, you can.

Where can I find my Ward/Circle/Sector Number?

The information will be available on your state website. You can also seek a GST Practitioner’s assistance or consult a jurisdictional officer.

How can I save my registration application?

New registration applications are saved on the GST portal for 15 days after the Transaction Reference Number (TRN) is generated. Fill in the required details and press SAVE & CONTINUE below.

Is GST registration free?

Yes, GST registration is free of cost. However, if you are availing of the services of a GST Practitioner, you will be charged a professional fee.

Who is a GST Practitioner?

GST Practitioners prepare returns and other tax-related filings on behalf of taxpayers based on the details provided by them. GST practitioners are usually CMA, CS and CS professionals, or advocates, among other graduates, who also represent taxpayers before tax authorities.

Do I have to register as a GST practitioner to file my client’s tax returns?

Yes, it is recommended for GST Practitioners to register at the GST Portal.