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All about NIL GSTR-3B Filing via SMS

Updated on :  

08 min read.

The lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021 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 that started from 8th June 2020. The facility is not available for composition taxpayers but can extend to casual taxable persons, SEZ units or developers.

Latest Update

29th August 2021
1) Time limit to avail GST Amnesty Scheme extended up to 30th November 2021. It continues to apply for GSTR-3B from July 2017 up to April 2021 via CGST notification number 33/2021 dated 29th August 2021.
2) Taxpayers can get extended time up to 30th September 2021 to revoke cancelled GST registration if the last date for the same falls between 1st March 2020 and 31st August 2021. It applies if the GST registration is cancelled under Section 29(2) clause (b) or (c) of the CGST Act via CGST notification number 34/2021 dated 29th August 2021.
3) Company taxpayers can continue filing GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B using EVC or DSC up to 31st October 2021 via the CGST notification number 32/2021 dated 29th August 2021.

26th August 2021
From 1st September 2021, taxpayers will not be able to file GSTR-1 or use the IFF for August 2021 on the GST portal if they have pending GSTR-3B filings. It applies if GSTR-3B is pending for the past two months till July 2021 (monthly filer) or for the last quarter ending 30th June 2021 (quarterly filer), as per CGST Rule 59(6).

28th May 2021
The GST Council recommended in its 43rd meeting the following:
1) The much-awaited GST amnesty scheme was given a go-ahead. As per the announcement, those taxpayers who haven’t filed GSTR-3B for any earlier tax periods between July 2017 to April 2021 can file now between 1st June 2021 up to 31st August 2021 with a reduced maximum late fee as follows:
(a) Maximum late fee has been capped at a maximum of Rs 500 per return (i.e Rs. 250/- each for CGST & SGST) in case of nil GSTR-3B filing
(b) Maximum late fee is Rs 1000 per return ( i.e Rs. 500/- each for CGST & SGST) for other taxpayers
2) Late fee has been rationalised for future tax periods in case of GSTR-3B, as follows:
(a) In case of nil GSTR-3B filing, the maximum late fee charged shall be capped at Rs.500 per return (i.e Rs. 250/- each for CGST & SGST).
(b) In GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B other than nil filing, maximum late fee is fixed based on annual turnover slab, as follows:
(i) If the annual turnover in the previous financial year is upto Rs.1.5 crore then the late fee of maximum Rs 2,000 per return can only be charged (i.e Rs.1000 each for CGST and SGST).
(ii) If the turnover ranges between Rs.1.5 crore and Rs.5 crore then the maximum late fee of Rs.5,000 per return can only be charged (i.e Rs. 2500 each for CGST and SGST).
(iii) If the turnover is more than Rs.5 crore then late fee of maximum Rs.10,000 (i.e Rs. 5000 per CGST and SGST) can be charged.
3) Rule 36(4) of the CGST Rules will apply cumulatively from April to June 2021 while filing GSTR-3B for the tax period of June 2021. It means that one can provisionally claim ITC even if it does not appear in GSTR-2B in their GSTR-3B for April 2021 and May 2021.
4) Companies that are GST taxpayers have been given permission to authenticate returns using EVC instead of digital signature up to 31st August 2021.
5) The interest and late fee relief has been extended for a further period. Get the complete list in our article 43rd GST Council meeting Outcome.

1st May 2021
(1) The CGST Rule 36(4) restricting provisional ITC claims to 5% of GSTR-2B in GSTR-3B is relaxed for April 2021. The taxpayer can apply this rule cumulatively for both April and May while GSTR-3B for May 2021.

(2) The interest and late fee charged for late filing of GSTR-3B have been relaxed as follows:
(a) Turnover is more than Rs.5 crore in the preceding financial year and GSTR-3B is filed on a monthly basis, interest and late fee are relaxed/waived off for April and May 2021 (Due date: 20th May or 20th June) as follows:
Interest reduced to 9% for filing on or before 5th May (4th June), but charged at 18% thereafter. No late fee up to 5th May (4th June).

(b) Turnover is up to Rs.5 crore in the preceding financial year and GSTR-3B is filed on a monthly basis, interest and late fee are relaxed/waived off for April and May 2021 (Due date: 20th May or 20th June) as follows:
No interest for filing on or before 5th May (4th June), interest reduced to 9% for filing between 6th May (5th June) and 20th May (19th June), but charged at 18% thereafter. No late fee up to 20th May (19th June).

(c) Turnover is up to Rs.5 crore in the preceding financial year and GSTR-3B is filed on a quarterly basis, interest and late fee are relaxed/waived off for Jan-Mar 2021 (Due date: 22nd/24th April) as follows:
No interest for filing on or before 7th May (9th May), interest reduced to 9% between 8th May (10th May) and 21st May (23rd May), but charged at 18% thereafter. No late fee up to 21st May (23rd May).

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:

  • No supply of goods or services (including Nil rated or exempt or non-GST supplies),
  • No interest or late fee liability is payable,
  • No supplies on which tax needs to be paid under reverse charge, and
  • 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 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:

  • Authorised signatory and his/her phone number must be registered on the GST portal.
  • 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.
  • There is no pending tax, late fee, or interest of any previous tax periods.
  • GSTR-3B of all prior months must have been filed.
  • 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 that helps you file nil GSTR-3B in seconds. You can easily keep track of all the previous return filings for a particular GSTIN.

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