Guide to file NIL GSTR-1

Tax compliance has always been an issue for any Assessee, especially when the Assessee is a small entity that doesn’t know these technicalities. Further, hiring tax professionals is also a major concern for them as spending money on quality professionals will also be a big task for them. Therefore, along with proper guidance for filing NIL returns on its own, Assessee also requires a conscious and aware mind.

To scale down this vast subject to only one particular return, i.e., GSTR-1, this article will unfold all the relevant pointers that a person should keep in mind while filing the NIL GSTR-1. With a brief introduction of GSTR-1, the writer attempts to synchronize all the crucial guiding factors while filing NIL GSTR-1 on its own. After briefing about the procedural aspect, this guide will end with enumerating some bullet points which Assessee should not forget. 

Describing GSTR-1

Reflecting on its title, GSTR-1 is the first stage of compliance wherein details of each invoice/transaction are detailed along with the amount of tax collected/paid (if applicable). It can be any transaction, either Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Customer (B2C). A taxpayer has to upload the entire invoices and fill all the details asked in the form of GSTR-1. In case an Assessee has zero tax liability, then there is no escape from the Goods & Service Tax (GST) compliance. Every registered taxpayer has to fill out NIL GSTR-1 to comply with the procedure designed by the GST department. Otherwise, the sword of GST notice and other intervention of GST officials will not leave any Assessee. Adding to the same, nowadays, the penalty is also fixed and calculated daily for defaulters of GST compliance.

Filing of NIL GSTR-1

Any business person/entity registered under GST has to submit a monthly GSTR-1 or quarterly return [falling under Quarterly Return Filing and Monthly Payment of Taxes scheme], even if no transaction happened in that period.

Non-compliance of NIL GSTR-1

To eliminate the presumption of ‘No transaction No return’ currently penalty of Rs. 20/- is leviable on a per daily basis. Hence, irrespective of the number of transactions or turnover, or profitability, every registered entity is supposed to fill the GSTR-1 even if it’s NIL.

Circumstances for filing NIL GSTR-1

Assessee is required to file NIL GSTR-1 monthly or quarterly in the following conditions:
(i) If no supply recorded;
(ii) Supply which doesn’t create tax liability on Assessee;
(iii) Zero-rated supply or deemed export, not reported;
(iv) No credit or debit notes are issued/amended;
(v) No advance received for any transactions. 

Requirements for filing NIL GSTR-1

For filing a NIL return, Assessee should be ready with the following least requirements:

  • Login ID with password
  • Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) or Electronic Verification Code

Steps Involved in filing NIL GSTR-1

1. Login: As a registered entity, every Assessee possess a login ID & password from which they can log in on the GST portal from anywhere;

2. Return Dashboard: After logging from the home page, Assessee has to click on the return dashboard drop-down and select monthly/quarterly returns.

3. Prepare GSTR-1: Before filing the return, preparation of the return is needed, for which Assessee is required to click on prepare GSTR-1 & select relevant period. After this, Assessee can fill in details of all the transactions, which is zero in our case, i.e., NIL;

4. GSTR-1 Summary: After preparation, Assessee can click generate GSTR-1 Summary, which gives a full preview of all the filled details;

5. Submit GSTR-1: the Last step for filing the GSTR-1 is simply clicking on the submit button by using DSC or EVC. 

Focus Points

1. While doing the above bullet steps, Assessee is required to click on disclaimer which says, “I acknowledge…”;
2. Any mistake that happened in return can be corrected only in subsequent returns, as the revision option is not available.


Thanks to the digital era and GST regime, nobody can escape the compliance part. So, with this above guide, it is suggested that every Assessee keep recording all the transactions and do utmost compliance from their side.

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