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The Form GSTR-9, also known as the annual return, is required to be filed by all registered persons except:

  1. Casual taxable persons
  2. Non-Resident taxable persons
  3. Input service distributors
  4. Persons authorised to deduct tax under section 51
  5. Persons authorised to collect tax under section 52

The annual return can only be filed online. However, the majority of the details can be filled in using an offline utility provided by the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). Further, those taxpayers who have to enter more than 500 records per table in Table 17 and 18 of the Form GSTR-9 will not be able to enter such details online. They will compulsorily have to use the offline utility to do so.

An easier and convenient way to file GSTR-9 without visiting any other portal is by using ClearTax GST Desktop tool. Click on the link below for a one-time setup to begin filing annual return smoothly and accurately.

 

Prerequisites to use offline tool for GSTR-9

The offline utility can only be used on a desktop/laptop and not on a mobile device. The following are the system requirements:

      1. Operating system: Windows 7 or above
      2. Application software: Microsoft Excel 2007 or above
      3. Offline utility as downloaded from the GST portal (Ensure that the latest version is used)
      4. Generated JSON file downloaded from the GST portal

Steps to setup the GSTR-9 Offline utility

(A) Download the offline tool for GSTR-9

Step 1: Visit the GST portal.

Step 2: Navigate to Downloads > Offline Tools  > GSTR-9 Offline Tool.

gstr-9 offline

Step 3: Click on ‘Download’ and then ‘Proceed’.

gstr-9 offline

Step 4: Extract the contents of the zip file downloaded above. Navigate to the location of the extracted files and open the excel utility.

gstr-9 offline

Step 5: The excel utility will automatically open on the home sheet. Click on ‘Enable Editing’. 

gstr-9 offline

Please ensure that macros are enabled by clicking on ‘Enable content’.

gstr-9 offline

A pop-up dialogue box will be displayed with the message ‘Open saved version’ with an option to click on either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

If ‘Yes’ is selected, the utility will open with any previously saved data.

If ‘No’ is selected, any old unsaved data will be lost, and a new blank utility will open.

Step 6: On the home sheet, enter the GSTIN and the financial year for which the return is being filed. 

Leave this utility running while the following steps are performed.

 

(B) Download the GSTR-9 JSON file

Step 1: Log in to the GST portal.

Step 2: Navigate to Services > Returns > Annual Return or click on ‘Annual Return’ on the dashboard.

 gstr-9 offline

Step 3: Select the financial year for which you want to upload details. Click on the ‘Search’ button. 

Step 4: On the GSTR-9 tile, click on the ‘Prepare Offline’ button. Move to the ‘Download’ section and click on the ‘Generate JSON file to download’ option. 

gstr-9 offline

gstr-9 offline

The JSON file will take up to 20 minutes to get generated. After it is ready, click on the ‘Click here to download – File 1’ hyperlink.

gstr-9 offline

The GSTR-9 JSON file will be downloaded. This file contains system-computed Form GSTR-9 data based on filed Form GSTR-1 and Form GSTR-3B for editing in the offline tool with a few exceptions.

Step 5: Unzip/extract the download file. A JSON file will be available on the extracted location.

Step 6: Go back to the offline utility and navigate to the ‘Home’ tab. Click on the ‘Open Downloaded Form GSTR-9 JSON File’ button. 

gstr-9 offline

Step 7: Navigate to the location of the saved JSON file and click on ‘Ok’ to proceed. 

The utility will display a message for successful import of the GSTR-9 JSON file. 

gstr-9 offline

Steps to prepare GSTR-9 using the offline tool

Enter the following details in the sheets as follows:

  • Table 4 Outward: Summary of outward/inward supplies made during the financial year
  • Table 5 Outward: Summary of non-taxable outward supplies made during the fiscal year 
  • Table 6 ITC availed: Summary of ITC availed during the financial year
  • Table 7 ITC Rev: Summary of ITC reversed or ineligible for the fiscal year
  • Table 8 Other ITC: Summary of ITC availed during the financial year
  • Table 9 Tax Paid: Tax paid details, including interest, late fee, penalty, etc. during the fiscal year.
  • Table 10 PY trans in current FY: Summary of transactions reported in the next financial year
  • Table 14 Differential tax: Total tax paid on transactions reported in the next financial year
  • Table 15 Demands and Refunds: Particulars of demands and refunds during the fiscal year
  • Table 16 Comp DS & Goods sent on appr: Summary of supplies received from composition taxpayers, deemed supply by job worker and goods sent on approval basis
  • Table 17 HSN Outward: HSN wise summary of outward supplies made during the financial year
  • Table 18 HSN Inward: HSN-wise summary of inward supplies received during the financial year 

Note: The generated JSON file that was initially downloaded from the GST portal will be used to source the auto-populated data from already filed Form GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B into the respective fields in Table 4 to Table 18 of the Form GSTR-9. Some of this data will also be populated into non-editable fields.

Validate the data and generate the JSON file:

Step 1: Table 4 to Table 18 of the workbook will have a validate button on every sheet. Once data is filled into a particular sheet, click on ‘Validate’. If the information is in order, a success message is displayed. In case of an error, the same will be displayed. 

gstr-9 offline

Step 2: After validating every sheet, go to the ‘Home’ sheet and click on the ‘Generate JSON File to upload’ button.

gstr-9 offline

Step 3: The ‘Save As’ pop-up window will be displayed. Choose where you want the JSON file to be saved and click on the ‘Save’ button.

gstr-9 offline

A message will be displayed that details are saved successfully and asking the user to upload the file on the GST portal.

gstr-9 offline

How to upload generated JSON files?

Step 1: Log in to the GST portal.

Step 2: Navigate to Services > Returns > Annual Return. 

Step 3: Select the financial year for which you want to upload details. Click on the ‘Search’ button. 

Step 4: On the GSTR9 tile, click on ‘Prepare Offline’. The ‘Upload’ section will be displayed by default.

gstr-9 offline

Step 5: Click on the ‘Choose File’ button and navigate to the location of the generated JSON file. Click on ‘Open’ when done. 

A message showing the successful upload of the JSON file will be displayed and you will be asked to wait until the GST portal validates the uploaded data. The status of the uploaded JSON file will be shown in the ‘Upload History’ section.

gstr-9 offline

In case there were no errors, the status would appear as ‘Processed’.

gstr-9 offline

In case there were errors in the data uploaded, the ‘Upload History’ section will show the status of the JSON file as ‘Processed with Errors’ and provide a hyperlink to ‘Download Error Report’ if any. Click on the ‘Generate error report’ link to save the error JSON file. Instructions to resolve the errors are provided later in this article.

gstr-9 offline

 

To preview the filled data, in the annual return GSTR9 table, click on ‘Prepare Online’. A question will be displayed: ‘Do you want to file a Nil return?’  Answer this question and click on ‘Next’.

gstr-9 offline

 

The Form GSTR-9 annual return for normal taxpayers page will be displayed along with fully furnished details in Table 4 to Table 18 that were filed using the offline utility.
A preview of the form can be obtained by clicking on either the ‘Preview Draft GSTR-9 (PDF)’ or the ‘Preview Draft GSTR-9 (Excel)’ button. For instructions on how to proceed with the filing, click here.

How to fix errors using the offline tool for GSTR-9?

Extract the error JSON file as mentioned earlier to a convenient location on your computer and follow the following instructions:

Step 1: Open the offline utility and navigate to the ‘Home’ sheet.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Open Downloaded Error JSON Files’ button. Navigate to the location of the stored error JSON files and click on ‘Ok’. Ensure both the files from the unzipped folder are selected before clicking on ‘Ok’.

gstr-9 offline

A message saying ‘Error Files successfully Opened’ will be displayed.

Step 3: On each individual sheet, go through the column ‘GST Portal Validation Errors’. You will see a text in this column informing the user of the nature of the error. Make the requisite corrections and click on the ‘Validate Sheet’ button on every sheet. 

gstr-9 offline

Step 4: Go to the ‘Home’ sheet and click on the ‘Generate JSON File to upload’ button.

Step 5: The ‘Save As’ pop-up window will be displayed. Choose where you want the JSON file to be saved and click on the ‘Save’ button.

A message will be displayed asking the user to upload the file on the GST portal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Is it possible to file the annual return (Form GSTR-9) using the Offline Utility?

No, it is not possible to file the annual return using the offline utility. The purpose of the offline utility is only to generate the JSON file for uploading online. The filing process will happen on the GST portal itself.

 

  1. Is it compulsory to use the offline utility?

No, you can alternatively enter data on the GST portal itself. However, where more than 500 records are to be entered in Table 17 and Table 18, the offline utility must be used. 

 

  1. What data can be entered in the offline utility?

Data in Table 4 to Table 18 of Form GSTR-9 can be entered using the offline utility.

 

  1. Is it compulsory to download the JSON file from the portal and import the same on to the offline utility?

Yes, it is compulsory to do so since doing so would update specific fields in the utility that were extracted from previously filed Form GSTR-1 and Form GSTR-3B of the same financial year. 

 

  1. Does the ‘Validate Sheet’ button to ensure that there are no errors in the data entered?

No, the offline utility can only detect errors to a limited extent; for example, the utility can only check if the GSTIN entered is in the correct format. Whether the GSTIN exists and belongs to the taxpayer or not can only be verified after processing done by the GST portal. 

 

  1. Can negative values or decimal amounts be entered in the offline utility?

Yes, negative and decimal values can be entered in the offline utility.

 

  1. Can 2-digit HSN codes be entered in the offline utility?

The 2-digit HSN codes can be entered in the offline utility. For HSN codes starting with 99, a Unique Quantity Code (UQC) and quantity details are not required.

File GSTR-9 in 15 mins

  • Download GSTR-1, 2A, 3B and compare with books of accounts to check mismatches
  •  Auto filing on GST portal through ClearTax Chrome Assistant
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