GST Filing Process for Small Business

The economy in India underwent  the greatest tax reformation with the introduction of GST (or Goods and Services Tax), which is more or less a destination-based tax reporting structure. According to the latest policies introduced in India’s economic landscape, small-scale businesses can now increase their realms by capitalizing on the prospects of GST. Gone are those days when small and medium-sized businesses were compelled to file multiple taxations; today, with the implementation of the composition scheme, the burden that waa so long hovering over the businessmen’s mind has now been eliminated. This implies that filing for a GSTR is inevitably compulsory, and every business, irrespective of its size and sales must submit its report in due time(if no sales or purchases were made, there will be a NIL report).

The different paradigms of small and medium sized businesses

Generally  large businesses often have enough resources at their disposal to manage tax related matters, whereas small businesses lack enough capital to maintain adequate accounting information and tax liability. The income tax department have introduced  a more straightforward method for these large portion of small industries known as Presumptive method, where the income is calculated as per gross receipts of the business.Usually, most small businesses have an annual turnover of 50 lakhs or less; and with a configuration fluctuating within this window, paying the tax liability through composition scheme becomes incredibly easy. However, even though all the previously-variable taxes have now been combined into one, small-businesses is lagging in funds and technological expertise that qualifies as indispensables in this procedure. Ideally, simplification of the process requires businesses to depend on GST software that would automatically calculate and generate invoice and at the same time, keep an accurate tab of the tax.

Tax return filing obligations

Regular taxpayers file their GST returns after each month; but, for those under the composition scheme, filing GST returns quarterly, is compulsory. Small and medium sized business owners with less than 2 cr turnover evey year have chosen the presumptive income tax scheme depicted under section 44AD, section 44ADA, and section 44AE. These labels are required to file their tax returns via the ITR-4 form. But, those owners who have avoided the presumptive income scheme and yet have profits that exceeds 2 crores in 12 months’ time will have to file through the ITR-3 form. In the following segment,  we will be mentioning the obligations of taxpayers who file under GSTR-4, GSTR-4A and GSTR-9A schemes.

Small dealers must their expense history, split between GST registered and non- registered entities. The entire turnover or gross receipt as per GST and GSTIN must be logged while filing ITR-4. The details of both CGST and SGST/IGST paid on purchases, sales and expenses must be specified under profit and loss account, by business owners who are filing their returns under ITR-3, ITR-5 and ITR-6. You must also know thar if any amount of input tax credit remains unclaimed as of 31st of the year, must  be mentioned under “Schedule OI” (Other Information) of the parallel ITI form. In all, all regular businesses alike should file two monthly returns and a single return.

But, the composition dealers will be needed to fill out returns separately. A composition dealer who attracts a turnover of more than 1 crore annually should pay the tax on total sales and that too at a specific rate. An interesting reminder here is that the dealer pays taxes under reverse charge purchases from the unregistered sellers and import of good/services. But these very dealers have the privilege of absorbing benefits from compliance and returns that are not upto the mark with tax payment at inexpensive rates.


The GSTR-4 can be equated with GSTR-1, as both of the scheme have same string of requisites and implications. Because small-scale businesses are not eligible for input tax credit, they are spared from filing the GSTR-1 and GSTR-2. In the GSTR-4, the taxpayer is expected to declare a precis of his outward supplies with accompanying details such as tax payable and tax payment. The return is to be filed on the 18th of every quarter end, stepping beyond which will opens doors to a lump sum as the penalty fee and inability to file in the next quarter.

There is a total of 13 sections on the GSTR-4 form. After logging in to the portal, your name, GSTIN and aggregate turnover will be automatically published on the page. Nevertheless, sections of information including outward supply, taxable inward supply, debit notes, imported goods and services and credit notes can be corrected, if there appears to be a mistake. But, once all the details are confirmed, and the form is signed and submitted, there is no going back until the next quarter.


All the seven parts of this form are auto-drafted by the GST system. It contains the credentials of the taxpayers, details of the debit and credit notes received, inward supplies received from a registered taxable person and the modifications necessary from the earlier tax periods. Apart from the rudiments, the TDS credit received must also be updated on tbe form.


GSTR-9A concerns the annual returns for the compounding tax payers. For the other regular taxpayers, they must file under GSTR-9A form. This annual return calls to be filed on the 31st of December every year and the repercussion of refusing to file it attracts Rs. 200 each day. There are 5 parts of in this form, namely:

  • Details of the taxpayer
  • Summary of quarterly returns registered in GSTR-4 for outward and inward supplies across the year.
  • Crucial particulars of the tax paid in the financial year including late or penalty fees.
  • Inputs about the modifications made in the preceding financial year.
  • Details of the refunds, credit reversed, demands and other penalties, if any.

These forms and their regulations apply for small businesses with tax turnover of less than 50 lakhs; nonetheless, if this bar is crossed, small businesses need to fill the GSTR-1,2,3B monthly and GSTR-9 annually.