Section 44 of GST Act: GST Annual Return

Last date for filing GST Annual Return (GSTR-9 or 9A and GSTR-9C) is further extended to 31st Dec, 2022 for Financial Year 2021-22.

Amended and updated notes on GST annual return i.e. section 44 of CGST Act, 2017. Detail discussion on provisions and rules related to annual return under Goods and Services Tax in India.

Chapter IX (Sections 3748) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 deals with the provisions related to returns. Section 44 of CGST 2017 provides for annual return.

Recently, we have discussed in detail section 43A (Procedure for furnishing return and availing input tax credit) of CGST Act 2017. Today, we learn the provisions of section 44 of Central GST Act 2017.

Section 44 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 has been notified by the Ministry of Finance vide Notification No. 9/2017-Central Tax, G.S.R. 658(E), dated 28.06.2017. Thereafter, the entire provisions of CGST section 44 substituted by the Finance Act 2021 w.e.f. 1st August, 2021 vide Notification No. 29/2021-Central Tax, dated 30-July-2021. Thus, the commencement date of substituted section 44 is 1-8-2021.

Name of ActThe Central Goods and Services Tax Act 2017
Enacted byParliament of India
Administered byCentral Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs
Governing bodyGST Council
Number of Chapters21
Number of Sections174
You are reading:
Chapter No.IX
Chapter NameReturns
Section No.44
Section NameAnnual return
Updated 2024 EditionGST Law Book PDF

Relevant Rules and Forms for GST Section 44:

  • Rule 68: Notice to non-filers of returns
    • FORM GSTR-3A: Notice to return defaulter u/s 46 for not filing return
  • Rule 80: Annual return
    • FORM GSTR-9: Annual Return
    • FORM GSTR-9A: Annual Return (For Composition Taxpayer)
    • FORM GSTR-9C: Reconciliation Statement

Notification No. 31/2021-Central Tax, G.S.R. 518(E), dated 30.07.2021:
In exercise of the powers conferred by the first proviso to section 44 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (12 of 2017), the Commissioner, on the recommendations of the Council, hereby exempts the registered person whose aggregate turnover in the financial year 2020-21 is upto two crore rupees, from filing annual return for the said financial year.

Notes on Section 44 – GST Annual Return

As per section sub-section (1) of section 44 of CGST Act 2017 read with sub-rule (1) of Rule 80 of the Central GST Rules 2017, every person registered under GST shall file an annual return in FORM GSTR-9 for every financial year on or before 31st December.

In accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 44 of CGST Act 2017 read with Rule 80(3) of GST Rules 2017, if your aggregate turnover exceed ₹2 Crore, you are required to get your accounts audited and submit a copy of the audited annual accounts and the reconciliation statement duly certified in FORM GSTR-9C.

Compulsory filing GSTR-9:

That means GSTR-9 is a GST annual return to be filed by every taxpayer registered under GST Act. Thus, you have to file your GSTR-9 on or before 31-Dec-2022 for FY 2021-22.

Optional filing GSTR-9:

If your turnover is not more than ₹2 Crore, you may opt for not filing GSTR-9 annual return in respect of financial years 2017-18 and 2018-19. In other words, FORM GSTR-9 filing for businesses with turnover up to ₹2,00,00,000 made optional only for FY 2017-18 and FY 2018-19 vide Notification No. 47/2019-Central Tax dated 9th October, 2019.

However, if you have filed GSTR-9 even after due date it shall be deemed to be furnished on the due date.

Eligibility for Nil GSTR-9 Return:

You can file “NIL” GSTR-9 RETURN only if you have:

  1. Not made any outward supply (commonly known as sale); AND
  2. Not received any inward supplies (commonly known as purchase) of goods/services; AND
  3. No liability of any kind; AND
  4. Not claimed any Credit during the Financial Year; AND
  5. Not received any order creating demand; AND
  6. Not claimed any refund during the Financial Year.

GSTR-9 can be filed online. It can also be prepared on Offline Tool and then uploaded on the Portal and filed. Annual return in form GSTR-9 is required to be filed by every taxpayer registered as normal taxpayer during the relevant financial year.

All applicable statements in Forms GSTR-1 and returns in Form GSTR 3B of the financial year shall have been filed before filing GSTR-9. In case you are required to file GSTR-9C (Reconciliation statement and Certification); shall be enabled on the dashboard post filing of GSTR-9.

Prepare and submit Form GSTR-9 Online:

Following are the steps to be followed while preparing online GSTR-9 return:

  1. Click on ‘Prepare Online’;
  2. Select from the questionnaire page, whether you wish to file NIL Annual return;
  3. You may download the draft system generated GSTR-9, summary of GSTR-1 and summary of GSTR-3B from GSTR-9 dashboard for your reference;
  4. If number of records/lines are less than or equal to 500 records per table (Table 17 and Table 18), then you may use this facility;
  5. Fill in the details in different tables and click on ‘Compute Liabilities’; and
  6. Click on ‘Proceed to file’ and ‘File GSTR-9’ with DSC/EVC.
  7. Additional liability, if any declared in this return can be paid through Form GST DRC-03 by selecting ‘Annual Return’ from the drop down in the said form. Such liability can be paid only through cash.

Note:To file your annual return, filing of all GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B returns are mandatory. File your pending GSTR-1/3B return(s) and try again.

If number of records/lines either in Table-17 or Table-18 are more than 500 records per table, then you can prepare your return by using the offline utility only and the same can be subsequently uploaded on Common Portal.

Not Required to File GSTR-9:

Note that a person paying GST under composition scheme i.e. under section 10 (Composition levy) shall furnish the annual return in FORM GSTR-9A instead of GSTR-9. However, the following persons are not required to file annual return in Form GSTR-9:

  1. Input Service Distributor (GSTR-6)
  2. A person paying GST (TDS) under section 51 (GSTR-7)
  3. Electronic commerce operator paying GST (TCS) u/s 52 (GSTR-9B)
  4. A casual taxable person (CTP); and
  5. A non-resident taxable person (NRI)

Notice for not filing GSTR-9:

You may receive a notice electronically in FORM GSTR-3A if fails to furnish return under section 44 of CGST Act 2017.

Section 44 of Central GST – Annual return1

[Section 44 of CGST Act 2017 substituted w.e.f. 01.08.2021 by the Finance Act 2021 vide Notification No. 29/2021-Central Tax, dated 30.07.2021]

Every registered person, other than an Input Service Distributor, a person paying tax under section 51 or section 52, a casual taxable person and a non-resident taxable person shall furnish an annual return which may include a self certified reconciliation statement, reconciling the value of supplies declared in the return furnished for the financial year, with the audited annual financial statement for every financial year electronically, within such time and in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that the Commissioner may, on the recommendations of the Council, by notification, exempt any class of registered persons from filing annual return under this section:

Provided further that nothing contained in this section shall apply to any department of the Central Government or a State Government or a local authority, whose books of account are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor- General of India or an auditor appointed for auditing the accounts of local authorities under any law for the time being in force

  1. Section 44 of CGST Act 2017 substituted w.e.f. 01.08.2021 by the Finance Act 2021 vide Notification No. 29/2021-Central Tax, dated 30.07.2021. ↩︎


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