GSTR 3A Notice

Legal Basis: Section 46 of the CGST Act, 2017

Extract of Section 46 of the CGST Act, 2017

Section 46 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017 pertains to the notice issued to taxpayers who fail to furnish returns required under the GST law. This section ensures compliance by mandating that taxpayers submit their returns on time.

Section 46: Notice to Return Defaulters

Where a registered person fails to furnish a return under section 39 (monthly return), section 44 (annual return), or section 45 (final return), a notice shall be issued requiring him to furnish such return within fifteen days in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

GSTR 3A Notice

GSTR 3A is a notice issued by GST authorities to taxpayers who have failed to file their GST returns on time. This notice serves as a stern reminder and a serious warning, urging the taxpayer to file the pending returns within a specified period to avoid further legal action, which can have significant implications on their financial and legal standing.

Example Scenario

Consider a scenario where a business, XYZ Pvt Ltd, fails to file its GSTR-3B returns for several months. The GST authorities issue a GSTR 3A notice to XYZ Pvt Ltd, demanding the filing of the overdue returns within 15 days to avoid penalties and further legal action.

Legal Recourse and Proceedings

Legal Recourse

When a taxpayer receives a GSTR 3A notice, they should:

  1. Review the Notice: Carefully read the notice to understand the pending returns and due dates.
  2. Prepare the Returns: Gather all necessary documents and information to prepare the pending returns accurately.
  3. File the Returns: Submit the overdue returns within the specified time frame, typically 15 days from receipt of the notice.

Legal Proceedings

If the taxpayer fails to comply with the GSTR 3A notice, the GST authorities may initiate the following proceedings:

  • Assessment of Tax Liability: Under Section 62 of the CGST Act, the authorities can proceed with a best-judgment assessment, determining the tax liability based on available information. This means that if you fail to file your returns, the authorities may estimate your tax liability based on their best judgment, which may not necessarily reflect your actual liability. It’s therefore important to file your returns accurately and on time to avoid such assessments.
  • Penalty and Interest: Penalties and interest will be levied on the overdue tax amount.
  • Recovery Actions: The authorities can initiate recovery proceedings to collect the outstanding tax, including attaching bank accounts, property, and other assets.

Penalties and Prosecution

Penalties for non-compliance with a GSTR 3A notice can include:

  • Monetary Penalty: A penalty of Rs. 200 per day (Rs. 100 under CGST and Rs. 100 under SGST) for each day the return is delayed, subject to a maximum of Rs. 5,000.
  • Interest: Interest at 18% per annum on the outstanding tax amount from the due date until the actual payment date.
  • Prosecution: In cases of willful tax evasion, prosecution under GST laws may be initiated, leading to severe penalties and imprisonment. This can have a significant impact on your personal and professional life, and it’s crucial to avoid such situations by complying with the GSTR 3A notice.

Do’s and Don’ts on Receiving a GSTR 3A Notice


  1. Read Carefully: Understand the specific pending returns and the due dates mentioned in the notice.
  2. Prepare Documents: Collect all necessary documents and information to prepare the pending returns accurately.
  3. File Promptly: Submit the overdue returns within the specified deadline to avoid further legal action.
  4. Consult a Professional: Seek advice from a GST practitioner or tax consultant if unsure how to proceed.
  5. Maintain Records: Keep copies of the notice and the filed returns for future reference.


  1. Ignore the Notice: Ignoring the notice will lead to further legal action, including penalties and recovery proceedings. This can significantly impact your business operations and financial stability.
  2. Delay Response: Delaying the filing of returns will result in additional interest and penalties.
  3. Provide Incomplete Information: Ensure all the information and documents submitted are complete and accurate.
  4. Disregard Professional Advice: Always consult with a professional if you are unsure about the notice’s content or implications.

Legal Remedy

If a taxpayer believes that the notice is unjust or if they face undue hardship, they can take comfort in the fact that they have the following remedies available to them:

  1. File an Objection: Respond to the notice with valid reasons and request an extension or reconsideration if necessary.
  2. Seek Legal Intervention: If the notice is deemed to have been issued without proper jurisdiction or in violation of legal provisions, approach the appropriate legal forum.
  3. Appeal: If any adverse order is passed following the assessment, the taxpayer can file an appeal under Section 107 of the CGST Act within three months from the order date.


Section 46 of the CGST Act 2017 ensures taxpayers comply with the requirement to file GST returns on time. The GSTR 3A notice serves as a crucial reminder and warning for defaulters to file their pending returns promptly. Understanding how to respond to such notices, the potential penalties, and the available legal remedies can help businesses navigate the complexities of GST compliance and avoid severe legal consequences. Proper preparation and professional guidance are essential to handling return defaults effectively and ensuring compliance with GST regulations.


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