Every person registered under the GST Act is required to maintain certain books of accounts and records. The provisions related to the same has been provided under Sections 35 and 36 of the CGST Act, 2017 and Rules 56 to 58 of CGST Rules, 2017.  An analysis of these provisions is given hereunder.

1. Every registered person shall keep and maintain, at his principal place of business, as mentioned in the certificate of registration, a true and correct accounts and records of the following:

  • Production or manufacture of goods;
  • Inward and outward supply of goods or services or both; (Sale/Purchase)
  • Stock of goods;
  • Input tax credit availed;
  • Output tax payable and paid;
  • Goods or services imported or exported or of supplies attracting payment of tax on reverse charge
  • Stock in respect of goods received and supplied by him
  • Separate account of advances received, paid and adjustments made thereto.
  • Quantitative details of raw materials or services used in the manufacture and quantitative details of the goods so manufactured including the waste and by products thereof.
  • Quantitative details of goods used in the provision of services, details of input services utilised and the services supplied.
  • Names and complete addresses of his suppliers and customers
  • The complete address of the premises where goods are stored by him, including goods stored during transit along with the particulars of the stock stored therein.

The accounts relating to each place of business shall be kept at such places of business where there is more than one place of business specified in the certificate of registration.

2. Every owner or operator of warehouse or godown or any other place used for storage of goods and every transporter, irrespective of whether he is a registered person or not, shall:

  • Maintain records of the consigner, consignee and other relevant details of the goods
  • Maintain books of accounts with respect to the period for which particular goods remain in the warehouse, including the particulars relating to dispatch, movement, receipt and disposal of such goods.
  • Store the goods in such manner that they can be identified item-wise and owner-wise and shall facilitate any physical verification or inspection by the proper officer on demand.

3. Every agent shall maintain accounts depicting the

  • Particulars of authorisation received by him from each principal
  • Particulars including description, value and quantity (wherever applicable) of goods or services received/supplied on behalf of every principal;
  • Details of accounts furnished to every principal; and
  • Tax paid on receipts or on supply of goods or services effected on behalf of every principal.

4. Every registered person executing works contract shall keep separate accounts for works contract showing –

  • The names and addresses of the persons on whose behalf the works contract is executed;
  • Description, value and quantity (wherever applicable) of goods or services received/utilized for the execution of works contract;
  • The details of payment received in respect of each works contract; and
  • The names and addresses of suppliers from whom he received goods or services.

Period of Retention of the above records:

  • Books of account or other records to be maintained in accordance with the provisions of GST Law shall be retained until the expiry of 72 months from the due date of furnishing of annual return for the year pertaining to such accounts and records.
  • Where the registered person is a party to any legal proceedings or investigation under the GST Act, then such person shall retain the books of account and other records pertaining to the subject matter of such legal proceedings or investigation for a period of one year after its final disposal of or for the period specified above, whichever is later.

Generation and maintenance of electronic records:

  • The records required to be maintained under the CGST Act and Rules may be maintained in electronic form and the record so maintained shall be authenticated by means of a digital signature.
  • Proper electronic back-up of records shall be maintained and preserved as such that the information can be restored within a reasonable period of time in the event of destruction due to any cause.
  • The registered person maintaining electronic records shall produce, on demand, the relevant records or documents, duly authenticated by him, in hard copy or in any electronically readable format.
  • Where the accounts and records are stored electronically by any registered person, he shall, on demand, provide the details of such files, passwords of such files and explanation for codes used, where necessary, for access and any other information which is required for such access along with a sample copy in print form of the information stored in such files.

Precautions to be taken:

  • Any entry in registers, accounts and documents shall not be erased, effaced or overwritten, and all incorrect entries, otherwise than those of clerical nature, shall be scored out under attestation and thereafter the correct entry shall be recorded and where the 47 registers and other documents are maintained electronically, a log of every entry edited or deleted shall be maintained.
  • Each volume of books of account maintained manually by the registered person shall be serially numbered.


Where the registered person fails to account for the goods or services or both then the proper officer shall determine the amount of tax payable on the goods or services or both that are not accounted for, as if such goods or services or both had been supplied by such person. The amount of tax shall be determined on such goods and is required to be paid by the registered person along with penalty levied, if any.

(The author of this article is a Practicing Company Secretary located at New Delhi and can be reached at [email protected])

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation. No part of this article should be distributed or copied without express written permission of the author.

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June 2021