written by Khatabook | December 17, 2021

How to File a Nil GSTR-1 via SMS?

The Government of India takes measures and steps from time to time to make the filing of GST returns simple and easy. One such measure is to let the taxpayers file nil returns through SMSThe taxpayers can file nil GST returns through SMS even without logging in to the GST portal. 

The Government started the facility of SMS service on 8th June 2020 for filing nil GSTR 3B. A similar facility also started from the first week of July 2020 for filing GSTR 1 nil return through SMS. Every regular taxpayer has to file the GSTR1 even when there is no business activity during the period. We will go through the guidelines on how to file Nil GST return through SMS in just a few minutes in this article.

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What is a Nil GSTR-1?

Before we look at how to file nil GSTR 1, let us first understand what a Nil GSTR 1 is. For a specific tax period and a registered taxpayer, a return will be termed as nil GSTR-1 only when all the following conditions are satisfied:

Conditions for filing nil GSTR-1

  1. No sales or outward supplies for the relevant tax peri od month or quarter.
  2.  There are no supplies or sales for which tax liability arises on a reverse charge basis for the relevant tax period.
  3. There are no sales or outward supplies for deemed exports or zero-rated supplies for the relevant tax period.
  4. There are no supplies reported in the earlier tax period that are to   be amended.
  5. No debit or credit notes are to be amended or declared in the relevant tax period.
  6. There is no situation for advance received for future supplies to be declared or adjusted in the relevant tax period.

Due dates for GSTR 1

The GSTR 1 is classified in two categories by the Ministry of Finance, and accordingly, the due dates are fixed for the same for filing the returns. Even if there is no business activity during the period but if the person is registered, they have to file nil GST return through SMSThe due dates for filing the return are as follows:

Sr. No

Category of taxpayer


Due Date


When the aggregate turnover of the registered taxpayer is up to Rs. 1.5 Cr

January – March 2021

April 30th, 2021


When the aggregate turnover of the registered taxpayer is more than Rs. 1.5 Cr

February 2021

11th March 2021

Also Read: Filing GSTR-10 On GST Portal For Final Return

So it can be concluded that for a quarter, the due date is the last date of the next month while it is the 11th of the next month for every month. These dates are extended from time to time by the Government through notifications as issued.

What are the prerequisites for filing GSTR 1 nil return?

Any registered taxpayer, namely SEZ (Special Economic Zones in India) developer, SEZ unit, casual taxpayer, a normal taxpayer who has a valid GSTIN can file GST nil return by SMS. The notification for the same was provided by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) through notification no. 58/2020. However, there are some prerequisites essential to file the return through SMS as mentioned below:

  1. The contact details or, to be precise, the mobile number of the authorised signatory has to be registered on the GST portal (services.gst.gov.in).
  2. There should not be any data on the GST portal in the GSTR1 grid in the form of a saved or submitted form regarding the month in concern.
  3. GST nil return filing through SMS can be done anytime after the 1st day of the subsequent month of the concerned month.
  4. The registered taxpayer should have selected the option of monthly or quarterly return filing frequency for the returns.

Who are the eligible taxpayers?

 The CBIC and the government have released  guidelines on how to file nil returns through SMS time to time. However, not all taxpayers can file the return through SMS. Some conditions need to be fulfilled before opting for this facility. The registered taxpayers who are eligible to file the nil return through SMS are mentioned below:

  1. The registered taxpayer can file nil GST return by SMS only when there is no outward supply in the period relevant for filing the return. The outward supply for the entity includes every supply that is chargeable to tax, including deemed exports, zero-rated supplies, reverse charge basis supplies apart from the regular business activity taxable turnover.
  2. The taxpayer does not have any amendments to be made to the supplies that are declared in the earlier months.
  3. There are no credit and debit notes to be amended or declared.
  4. There are no details to be adjusted or declared for the advances received for supplies to be made in future.

Every authorised representative for the particular GSTIN holder can file GSTR 1 nil return th  rough SMS.

GSTR-1 nil return filing before July 2020

You can also file nil GSTR-1 through the GST portal or opt to file it through SMS. If you choose to file it from the portal, you’ll find the GSTR-1 toggle is present in the return dashboard of the GST account holder for filing the returns. To declare the GSTR-1 details, the taxpayer can file the return through the GSTR-1 return tables. 

Before starting with the return filing, the GST portal asks a certain set of questions to make the relevant tables available for filing the details. The user has to answer all these questions and then the process for filing the GSTR-1 return starts. This is a lengthy process of filing the return. Especially when the nil return is to be filed, it becomes tiresome. Due to this, filing a GST nil return by SMS is a faster and easier alternative.

Key factors to file GST nil return by SMS

The essential requisites on how to file nil return in GSTR-1 through SMS is mentioned below:

  1. Every registered entity who wishes to file a nil GSTR-1 through SMS must register the authorised signatory at the initial stage along with the contact details, especially the mobile number on the GST portal.
  2. Every authorised representative of the specific GSTIN is allowed to file the nil GST return through SMS.
  3. There should be a unique mobile number for every authorised representative under the particular GSTIN to file the return through SMS. If this is not the case, then the mobile number can be updated on the GST portal by amending the non-core fields of the GST registration.
  4. There should not be any data in the saved stage before filing the GSTR-1 through SMS. If any data is already fed in the fields, that should be deleted from the portal.
  5. Multiple GST identification numbers can use one mobile number to file the return.
  6. The SMS facility is not case-sensitive. This implies that while sending the SMS, the user can type in lower and upper case of alphabets.
  7. For every GSTIN, only three attempts of filing the return are available to the taxpayer. If there is a consecutive failure of three times to file the return for a specific GSTIN, the return filing is blocked for the next 24 hours.
  8. For any particular GSTIN, only 50 attempts are available for a mobile number to file the returns during one day. Therefore, when there is a continuous failure, the mobile number is blocked for 24 hours for filing the return through SMS.
  9. However, the taxpayer can file the return by logging in on the GST Portal and navigating through the GSTR-1 toggle box. 

How to file GST nil return by SMS?

A step-by-step guide on  how to file GSTR 1 nil return through SMS is mentioned below:

1. An SMS or text message must be sent to 14409 by the taxpayer through a registered mobile of the authorised signatory. The SMS to be sent for activating the SMS facility to file the nil return to this number is “NIL (space) R1 (space) GSTIN (space) tax period in MMYYYY." 

For instance, 

  • The monthly GSTR – 1 return for September 2021 is as follows,

“NIL R1 22AABFM7548MDZC 092021"

  • The quarterly GSTR – 1 return for September 2021 is as follows,

“NIL R1 22AABFM7548MDZC 092021"

The GST portal sends the verification code on the registered mobile for activation. The verification code is six-digit and is valid only up to 30 minutes from the receipt.

How to file GST nil return by SMS?

2. After the verification code is received, the user must confirm the filing of the GSTR-1 Nil return from the registered mobile number through SMS along with the code. The SMS to be sent for confirmation for filing the return is “CNF (space) R1 (space) Code.”

How to file GST nil return by SMS?

After receiving the verification code, the confirmation SMS must be sent within 30 minutes essentially. Otherwise, the return filed will not be valid.

3. After the confirmation message is sent through the registered mobile then, the process for nil return filing of GSTR – 1 is completed, and the taxpayer would receive an ARN (Application Reference Number) through SMS on the registered mobile number and the registered email Id.

4. The status for the relevant tax period for GSTR-1 gets updated to “Filed.”

Assistance from the GST office

The taxpayers can consult the GST office to file the return or any other kind of help. This help can also be received through SMS. The taxpayer can send the SMS “ HELP (space) R1 “ from the registered mobile number to ask for any assistance on how to file a nil GSTR - 1 return through SMS. A prompt reply is received from the GST office for assistance. 

Assistance from the GST office

Tracking the status of the filed return

The status of the GSTR -1 filed through SMS can also be tracked similarly as the other returns are tracked. The taxpayer should log in to the account and follow the steps using the Application Reference Number received for the return filed. The navigation to be followed on the GST Portal are Services – Returns – Track Return Status. The status of the GSTR – 1 can be seen as filed or not filed. The status of the last four months of returns is also displayed on the home screen of the returns dashboard.

Also Read: A Guide to Filing GST Annual Returns (GSTR-9)


Certain common errors normally take place while filing nil returns through SMSBut the same can be easily resolved with assistance from the GST office and the GST Portal. Many other websites provide the common errors that occur and their solutions. The taxpayer can refer the same to resolve their issues on how to file GSTR 1 nil return. Therefore, by using this process, a GSTR 1 Nil return can be easily filed. Carefully follow the steps mentioned in this article, and you can complete the process without any hassle.

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Q: How to file nil GSTR-3b return through SMS?


Nil return of GSTR – 3B can be filed through SMS by sending an SMS from the registered mobile of the primary authorised signatory.

Q: How can the taxpayer pursue data validation and comparison?


The registered taxpayer can pursue data comparison and validation through the following tabs on GST Portal:

  • ITC Credit due and claimed
  • Liability due to SEZ supplies and export
  • Liability due to reverse charge
  • Liability other than reverse charge or export

Q: When can a taxpayer file a Nil return?


Any registered taxpayer can file a nil return only when there are no supplies during the relevant tax period. Also, there should not be any document summary, amount of advance adjusted, advances received, debit note transaction, and credit note transaction during the tax period. If any of these transactions do not exist in the relevant tax period, the registered taxpayer can file a nil return.

Q: Is filing GSTR-1 nil return mandatory?


Yes, the GST Act has made it mandatory for filing the nil return even when there is no business activity in the relevant tax period. Unless the previous return is filed, the taxpayer cannot proceed with the subsequent month's return filing process. Also, if there is any default in filing the return, then the taxpayer is liable to a penalty of Rs 100 per day until the date the return is filed. 

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