The lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately led to the majority of businesses coming to a standstill for a couple of months at least. In an effort to ease the worries of the businessman at least to the extent of GST compliance, CBIC has rolled out the facility of filing nil GSTR-3B through SMS starting from 08.06.2020.

The facility is not available for composition taxpayers but can extend to casual taxable persons, SEZ units or developers.

Latest update as on 30th June 2020

The maximum late fee to be capped at Rs 500 per return, for the tax periods given below, filed after the deadlines given in notification 52/2020 (as listed in the below at 2 dated 24th June 2020) but before 30th September 2020, whereas nil return to not be charged any late fee.

1. For turnover more than Rs 5 crore: May 2020 – July 2020

2. For turnover equal to or below Rs 5 crore: February 2020 – July 2020

Latest update as on 24th June 2020

1. The CBIC has waived/reduced late fees for the late filing of GSTR-3B returns for the period July 2017 to January 2020, as follows-

a) If GST liability is Nil, and the GSTR-3B return is filed between 1st July, 2020 and 30th September, 2020, then the amount of late fees stands waived.

b) If the GST liability is not Nil, and the GSTR-3B return is filed between 1st July, 2020 and 30th September, 2020, then the amount of late fees stand waived in excess of Rs.250* under the CGST Act.

*Rs.500 will be the total amount payable, Rs.250 under CGST and Rs.250 under SGST.

  1. The CBIC has notified the due dates applicable, with regard to interest and late fees for filing GSTR-3B. Here is a list of the notified dates from February to August 2020:
Annual Turnover in the Previous FY Period       Due date Last date without late fee or interest, as applicable
More than Rs.5 crore Feb 2020 20th Mar 2020 24th Jun 2020*
Mar 2020 20th Apr 2020
Apr 2020 20th May 2020
May 2020 27th Jun 2020^^ 27th Jun 2020@
Jun 2020 20th Jul 2020 20th Jul 2020@
Jul 2020 20th Aug 2020 20th Aug 2020@
Aug 2020 20th Sept 2020 20th Sept 2020
Up to Rs. 5 crore in category A# States/UTs Feb 2020 22nd Mar 2020 30th Jun 2020^
Mar 2020 22nd Apr 2020 3rd Jul 2020^
Apr 2020 22nd May 2020 6th Jul 2020^
May 2020 12th Jul 2020 12th Sept 2020^
Jun 2020 22nd Jul 2020 23rd Sept 2020^
Jul 2020 22nd Aug 2020 27th Sept 2020^
Aug 2020 1st Oct 2020** 1st Oct 2020
Up to Rs. 5 crore in category B## States/UTs Feb 2020 24th Mar 2020 30th Jun 2020^
Mar 2020 24th Apr 2020 5th July 2020^
Apr 2020 24th May 2020 9th July 2020^
May 2020 14th Jul 2020 15th Sept 2020^
Jun 2020 24th Jul 2020 25th Sept 2020^
Jul 2020 24th Aug 2020 29th Sept 2020^
Aug 2020 3rd Oct 2020** 3rd Oct 2020
#Category A: Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, the Union Territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

##Category B: Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Chandigarh and Delhi.

*No interest charged if GST dues are paid before 4th Apr, 5th May and 4th Jun for Feb, Mar & Apr respectively. But, interest applies from the 16th day at a reduced rate of 9% p.a. up to the date of actual payment, if paid before 24th Jun 2020. If not, then interest is charged in a staggered manner as given above plus interest at 18% p.a. will apply from the next day after 24th Jun 2020 up to the actual date of filing. In that case, a late fee will apply from the due date until the actual date of filing.

@If filed afterwards but before 30th September 2020, the maximum late fee of Rs 500 per return shall be charged vide CGST notification number 57/2020 dated 30th June 2020.

^^The due date was extended via CGST notification no. 36/2020 dated 3rd Apr 2020.

^Thereafter, a reduced interest rate at 9% p.a. will apply if taxpayer files on or before 30th Sept 2020. If not, then interest applies in a staggered manner as given above plus interest at 18% p.a. will apply from the next day after 30th Sept 2020 up to the actual date of filing. In that case, a late fee will apply from the due date until the actual date of filing.

**The due date was extended via CGST notification no. 54/2020 dated 24th Jun 2020. 

Update as on 8th June 2020

A nil GSTR-3B can be filed via SMS using the registered mobile number and OTP verification. The CBIC has notified the date of applicability as 8th June 2020, from which nil returns can be filed through SMS.


What is Nil GSTR-3B?

A Nil GSTR-3B is filed when there are no details of supplies to be declared. There is no tax payable since there are no outward supplies made or inward supplies to claim Input Tax Credit (ITC). Following is a simple checklist you can follow when you are about to file a Nil GSTR-3B for a particular month:

  1. No supply of goods or services (including Nil rated or exempt or non-GST supplies),
  2. No interest or late fee liability is payable,
  3. No supplies on which tax needs to be paid under reverse charge, and
  4. No other liability is to be discharged.


How was the Nil return filing done before?

Both Nil GSTR-3B and Nil GSTR-1 were filed online through the Returns dashboard after logging on the GST portal. A set of questions are asked prior to Form GSTR-3B that decide what tables are to be made available for declaring details. Filing the return is done by selecting ‘Yes’ for the question ‘Do you want to file a Nil return?’. This process is relatively time-consuming and involves numerous steps.


Steps to file Nil GSTR-3B through SMS

There are certain prerequisites as follows:

  1. Authorised signatory and his/her phone number must be registered on the GST portal.
  2. The mobile number registered for a particular authorised signatory cannot be common or same as the mobile number of another authorised signatory of the same GSTIN.
  3. There is no pending tax, late fee, or interest of any previous tax periods.
  4. GSTR-3B of all prior months must have been filed.
  5. No data on the online GST portal must be in “Saved” status.


Nil GSTR-3B via SMS can be filed as follows:

Step 1: Using the mobile number registered with the GST portal, type the SMS as follows:

NIL (space) 3B (space) GSTIN (space) tax period in mmyyyy

For example, the SMS to file a Nil return for May 2020 would be entered as follows:

NIL 3B 09AGBPS5577MSZC 0520

Send the message to 14409.

Step 2: A six-digit validation code will be received. Confirm the filing by typing another SMS as follows:

CNF (space) 3B (space) 6-digit verification code

For example, if the verification code received was 123456, the SMS should be entered as follows:

CNF 3B 123456

Send the message to 14409.

A confirmation message with ARN No. will be received, which indicates that the Nil return has been filed successfully.

In case of any assistance from CBIC, send the following message to 14409:

HELP (space) 3B


How to track status of a filed Nil GSTR-3B return?

For tracking the status of a return, you will need to log in to the GST portal and navigate to Services > Returns > Track Return. The ARN received above will be used to track the same.

The Best and Fastest way to file Nil GSTR-3B is by using ClearTax GST Desktop App. You can easily keep track of all the previous return filings for a particular GSTIN. Click on the link given below to download it for FREE!


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