Returns Offline Tool

1. What is Returns Offline Tool?

  • Businesses that generate a large number of invoices in a tax period may find it cumbersome to upload invoice details one-by-one. Not only that, it will become a time-consuming activity with a cost implication. Therefore, to facilitate the upload of invoices in bulk, Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) provides Returns Offline tool for Returns in which a taxpayer can add up to 19,000 line items in the offline mode and upload them to the GST Portal in one go. In case a taxpayer has more invoice data, they can use the Returns Offline tool multiple times to upload the same.

  • Further, one can download the auto-populated data from GSTR 2, take appropriate action on them, declare ITC Eligibility and ITC availed and use the offline tool to prepare his GSTR 2 and upload it to the GST Portal.

2. How can I download and install the Returns Offline tool in my system from the GST Portal?

1) Login to the GST Portal .

2) Go to Downloads > Offline tools > Returns Offline tool > Download button.

3) Unzip the downloaded Zip file which contain GST Offline-Tool.exe setup file, Sample files folder, Readme.txt and User Manual

  • GST Offline tool.exe setup file for the Returns Offline tool to be installed in the local machine (your computer).

  • Sample files folder which contains the excel templates with some sample data which should be deleted and actual data should be captured for importing the same to the Returns Offline tool.

  • Readme.txt explaining in detail the prerequisites (system and software requirements of the computer in which the Returns Offline tool is to be installed) for successful working of the tool.

  • Note: Ensure that the system requirements are met including the disk space of 50 MB.

  • Invoice Upload Offline tool User Manual.pdf to view the detailed steps and screenshots to upload the invoices through the tool.

4) Install the Returns Offline tool by double clicking the GST Offline tool.exe set up file and browse the location where you want to save the Returns Offline tool files in your computer.

Note: Avoid installing the Returns Offline tool in the same location where you have saved the zipped files.

5) The Offline tool Logo will appear on the desktop.

6) Fill the invoice details in the Returns Offline tool manually or use sample templates.

Important Note: – In case, User un-installs the Tool and re-installs the Tool, he should re-install at the same location. In case, User re-installs the Tool on different location he has to restart the system so that Tool refers to the new location. If user doesn’t restart the system, Returns Offline tool will refer the old path and will not be able to open the project.

3. What are the basic system requirements/ configurations required to use offline utility and where can I download them?

The offline functions work best on Windows 7 and above with Internet explorer 10+ and MSEXCEL 2007 and above. Detailed system required are available at ( and also in the readme.txt and the detailed user manual downloaded along with the Offline tool. If there is any problem in launching the offline tool on some versions of Windows 7, please make sure that the installed browser is Internet Explorer version is 10 and above. It is highly recommended that Internet Explorer 10+ is installed on your system.

4. After installation where can I find shortcut icon to launch the Offline tool?

The shortcut icon of the Offline tool with name GST Offline tool can be found on the desktop.

5. How do I open or launch the java tool?

One can launch the GST Offline tool by double clicking on the Java Offline tool icon on the Desktop.

6. Where can I find the detailed user manual of the Offline tool?

The detailed user manual gets downloaded along with the Offline tool and the excel workbook template.

7. Is the Offline tool mobile compatible?

No. Offline tool cannot be used on mobile. For system requirement, please refer ( Currently, Offline tool can only be used only on desktops.

8. Can a taxpayer sign/ submit his return in the Offline tool?

No. After upload of the return to the GST Portal, the taxpayer has to generate a summary, verify the correctness of the summary and electronically sign the GSTR 1 by either DSC, E-sign or EVC.

9. Will Offline tool have options to add my actions?

Yes, the offline tool allows the taxpayer to declare his action on the auto-populated invoices with submitted status. One can also export the downloaded auto-populated details in excel file and declare the actions of accept/reject/modify/pending and eligibility of ITC and its availing and prepare his GSTR 2. Such an excel file can be imported back into the tool and the JSON file generated and uploaded to the portal to prepare one’s GSTR 2.

10. Can I prepare GSTR 1 and GSTR 2 even when I am not connected through internet to the GST Portal or through GSPs?

Yes. A free Excel based Java Offline tool along with the excel workbook template of GSTR 1 can be downloaded from the GST Portal ( and these can be used to prepare GSTR 1 and GSTR 2 in offline mode without any internet connectivity.

11. Do you need to generate invoices on computer for preparing the excel sheet?

No, you can prepare GSTR1 in case of hand written invoices also by either

  1. Entering the required details of handwritten invoices in the excel workbook template and then importing them in the Java Offline tool to prepare the json file. or

  2. Enter directly in the Java Offline tool to prepare the GSTR 1 file in Json format which is understood by the GST Portal.

12. Can I use the Offline tool to upload only the invoice details of supplies to registered taxpayers at any time?

Yes. The taxpayer can enter the details only of the invoices of supplies to registered taxpayers in the b2b worksheet of excel workbook template and import it in the Java Offline tool or enter directly in the b2b section of the offline tool and generate a Json file and upload to the GST Portal.

13. Can the taxpayer or GST Practitioner prepare return of several registered entities of the same PAN or different PAN after installing the Offline tool on his computer?

Yes. A taxpayer or GST Practitioner can prepare GSTR 1 and GSTR 2 of several registered GSTINs from the same computer after installing the Offline tool. The tool prepares Json files for different GSTINs in with different name in the default format Month_YYYY-YY_GSTR1_SupplierGSTIN. This format can be changed by the taxpayer as per his convenience. Thus the ‘default name’ of Json file generated from the tool will have details of GSTIN and Tax period for easy identification.

14. How will I know what fields are mandatory and non-mandatory?

Please refer to the Help Instruction Sheet in the excel workbook which mentions about the mandatory and non-mandatory fields. All the mandatory fields have been marked with “”. In the java Offline tool also all the mandatory fields are marked with asterisk “”.

15. Can I edit invoices uploaded through Returns Offline tool in the GST Portal?

Yes, you can edit the invoices uploaded through Returns Offline tool in the GST Portal before the return is submitted for processing.

16. How can I check the status of uploaded invoices if I have submitted the same through Returns Offline tool?

You can check the status of the uploaded invoice details on the Portal once json file is uploaded to the Portal. As soon as the JSON file is uploaded to the Portal, a reference id is generated along with status by the Portal. Once the upload is success the summary of the invoices uploaded, is updated in the respective section of the return.

17. Will the Offline tool directly upload to Portal?

Json file created by Offline tool can be uploaded by logging in to the Portal through the PREPARE OFFLINE button available on return dashboard in GSTR 1 tile or GSTR 2 tile.

Uploading Invoices

1. How can I fill the Invoice data in offline mode through the Returns Offline tool?

Once you have downloaded and installed the Returns Offline tool, you can use any of the four options to upload/fill the invoice data.

  • Option 1: Manual Entry of Invoice Data

  • Option 2: Import Excel Workbook consisting of multiple sheets

  • Option 3: Copy and Paste from Excel Workbook:

  • Option 4: Import the csv file

2. How can I upload the invoice data on the GST Portal?

After generating the return file in json format through Returns Offline tool, login to the URL for uploading the invoices.

Ensure that you are connected to the Internet to upload the JSON file to the Portal.

3. How many maximum number of invoices can be uploaded through Returns Offline tool in one go?

You can add up to 19000 line items comprising of all the different sections like b2b and b2c (large) in an offline return. There may be several line items in an invoice and hence the number of invoices that can be uploaded may be less than 19,000. The file generated for 19,000 or less line items can be uploaded to the portal at one go. In case you have more invoice data, you can use the tool multiple times to generate the json file to upload the invoice data. However, one needs to be careful, if the same record has been uploaded earlier and is also present in subsequent uploads, the earlier record will get overwritten.

4. I have uploaded 100 invoices but only 85 invoices are visible on the GST Portal. Why?

For these 15 invoices, the validations already present in the Portal have failed and therefore these 15 invoices have been rejected. Error log for same will be created & it can be downloaded from Portal and be opened using the tool. After resolving the errors and generating the json, invoices can be submitted again.

5. How can I upload my invoices after correcting my data offline?

Yes, a new json can be created of the corrected data and uploaded on to the GST portal after logging in with valid credentials.

6. How can I upload changes to already uploaded transactions?

Yes, one can make changes in the excel and generate json file and upload the json again on the Portal as the data will be overwritten on the Portal. This case is only possible before the final submission on the Portal.

7. Where can I see my uploaded invoices on the Portal?

The uploaded invoice can be seen by logging on to the Portal with valid credentials and clicking the B2B tile on the GSTR 1/2 page. The top right corner of the tile displays the total number of invoices successfully uploaded in the GST system.

8. How can I verify that my invoices have successfully uploaded or not?

If the number of invoices visible on the top right corner of B2B tiles increases by the number of invoices for which JSON file was created, then all the invoices have been successfully uploaded. One can view the uploaded invoice details by double clicking on the B2B tile if the number of invoices is less than 500.

9. How many invoices one can see on the portal in each section of GSTR1/2?

One can see upto 500 invoices in each section of GSTR 1/2.

10. How can I see my uploaded invoices if the uploaded invoices number is more than 500?

If the number of uploaded invoices is more than 500, one would have to download the invoices and view it in the Offline tool.

11. How can one delete or modify invoices if number of invoices uploaded/entered more than 500?

One would have to download the uploaded invoice and delete or modify them in the tool and again create the JSON file and upload on to the GST Portal. The invoices with delete flag would get deleted.

12. How can I update my invoices in the Offline tool?

The invoice details in the java offline get updated if the same number invoice details are again entered in the excel workbook template and imported in the java Offline tool. Invoices can also be updated directly in the offline tool if the excel workbook data is imported in the java offline tool.

13. How can I file my GSTR-1 using offline tool if I have auto-populated invoices in my GSTR -1?

If the taxpayer is filing his GSTR-1 after the counterparties have filed their GSTR-2, he would have autopopulated invoices in his GSTR-1. He has to download them and open in the Offline tool and mandatorily take action in the Offline tool of Accept/ Reject etc. and generate the JSON file and upload them to his GSTR-1. He cannot add an invoice which is already auto-populated from a counterparty. He can only take action on the auto-populated invoices.

14. Can I file quarterly return using offline tool?

Yes, you can file quarterly GSTR-1 also using the Offline tool. You have to select the quarter ending month and include the invoices of the three months in the Offline tool and generate the JSON file and upload it.

15. Can date of shipping bill be later than date of tax invoice?

Date of shipping bill can be prior or after the date of tax invoice in table 6A (Exports) and amendment table 9A, in Form GSTR-1.

Excel File Template

1. What is multi section excel and where it is available?

You can add invoice details in the multi section excel. It is available as part of the downloadable zip file.

2. Is it mandatory to fill all sections in multi section excel file? Can I use multi section excel file even though I have limited section data?

Filling all the sections of the excel worksheet is not mandatory. You can use the excel worksheet to enter data for selective sections also. Remaining sections can be kept as blank and the Returns Offline tool will leave those sections blank and fill data only for the applicable sections as filled in the template.

3. Can one use the same Excel workbook Template to prepare files of different GSTINs?

Yes. Separate Excel workbook Template with different name can be prepared by the Taxpayer for different GSTIN on the same computer. These different excel files can be imported in the java Offline tool to generate the .json file for different GSTINs for upload on the GST Portal.

4. Is there any fixed format for naming the Excel workbook?

There is no fixed file format but user can rename as per his/ her convenience.

5. Will the offline excel template do necessary validation checks? If yes, what are the checks that can be performed?

Validations checks that can be carried out in offline mode are done in the java Offline tool. The excel tool has only a few format restrictions.

6. When I uploaded the excel, my non-editable data (unique id) was wrong. When I am looking into the uploaded data in summary it is showing red block as the data is incorrect. How can I correct this data?

You need to delete the specific invoice and then add a new invoice with the correct invoice details. The unique details cannot be edited by the user.

7. I am a GST Practitioner. I used to prepare Excel workbook for more than one taxpayer. Suppose I wrongly uploaded the json fie pertaining to X taxpayer instead of Y taxpayer, is there any mechanism for restricting such wrong upload?

Yes. The java Offline tool requires the taxpayer to enter the GSTIN of the taxpayer whose return is being prepared and the generated Json file will contain the GSTIN of the particular tax payer i.e. X and if by mistake Json of X taxpayer is being uploaded in after Y taxpayers log in, the system will throw error. Json file of X taxpayer will not be allowed to be uploaded in Y taxpayer’s login.

8. I am using third party accounting software for invoice generation. Can I generate Excel File as per the template from the accounting software and upload? Or I need to enter the details again?

If the invoice upload and excel file generated by the third party is in the same format as provided in GSTN’s excel workbook, the same can be uploaded. Else, .csv format is also supported by the Offline tool. The .csv format file generated by the third party accounting software can be imported in the Offline tool.

9. In the GSTR 1 Excel workbook, only tax rate and taxable value are mentioned not tax paid details.

Suppose I am not sure about the rate of tax, can I enter lower rate in the Excel and pay higher tax to avoid interest in future? {: .question }

Yes. If the tax collected or liable to be paid by the tax payer is different form the computed tax rate he can edit the tax amounts displayed in the offline java tool.

10. If I have imported the excel once in the tool, can I change the data in excel and import again? What will happen if I import the excel again? Will the data get overwritten or rejected?

Yes, one can import after changing the data in the excel. If the data is imported again are

  1. Invoice details in the section in which invoice level declarations are to be made then the earlier declared invoice details are overwritten by the later uploaded invoice details.

  2. In B2CS section in which consolidated details POS and rate wise has to be furnished, if the lines with same POS and rate are again uploaded the earlier declaration get overwritten. However, in this sections if for the same POS, details of a rate different from the earlier uploaded rate is again uploaded, it gets added to the earlier uploaded data.

  3. In other sections in which consolidated data has to be uploaded like AT, ATADJ, HSN, Exempted etc., all the details uploaded earlier will be overwritten, hence it is advisable that these sections are furnished after the end of the tax period

11. Can I add the new data to previous imported excel data and import again in the Offline tool?

Yes, one can add new invoice details to previous imported excel data in the Offline tool by entering new invoice data in the excel workbook template and importing again. The new invoice details will overwrite the earlier details.

12. In case of summarized information table (Ex: Nil/AT/HSN Summary) other than B2CS summary, what will be the impact of subsequent uploads? When will it append versus when will it replace?

In case of sections where summarized information are to be uploaded the later uploads will completely overwrite the data of the whole section uploaded earlier.

13. What details to be captured in the Offline tool or excel to update the shipping details? Full invoice details or only the shipping details?

Shipping details are not mandatory at the time of uploading export details. The shipping bill number for the export invoice can be furnished later through the amendment table.

14. Are negative / zero (nil) values allowed in excel/Offline tool?

No the Offline tool will not allow negative values for value, taxable value or tax amounts.

15. Can I modify or delete the data imported through excel in the Offline tool?

Yes the data imported in the Offline tool from the excel workbook template can be modified or deleted in the java Offline tool.

16. While uploading data in Offline tool – GSTR1, there is discrepancy in the number of invoices and other details, which are filled in excel and that on the offline tool. What could be the reason?

This arises because of validation checks performed by the offline tool after data from excel sheet is imported into it. The invoices and other data that fail checks/validations are rejected by the offline tool Use of different format of excel template, without validations leads to rejection of data on import to offline tool. . Thus taxpayers are advised to use excel templates provided by GSTN, as part of free offline tool, to avoid such mistakes and rejection of data.

17. What are the reason for rejection of data while importing excel or CSV file in offline tool?

  • Incorrect data format entered in excel. The date format should be dd-mmm-yyyy only (eg 01-Jul – 2017)

  • Incorrect invoice format entered in excel, invoice number should be maximum 16 digit and alphanumeric. Special Characters allowed are / (i.e. forward slash) and – (i.e. Hyphen) only. There should not be any duplicate entry of invoices.

  • Incorrect GSTN Format entered in excel. GSTIN entered should be of 15 character & alphanumeric with no blanks or special character in between.

  • Incorrect data entered after decimal. Only two digits need to be entered after decimal.

18. I see discrepancy in summary displayed in the Offline tool and that on the GST portal, after upload of JSON file. What could be the reason?

  • Correctness of GSTIN of Buyers (whether GSTIN is active or not). If GSTIN is not active, then invoices will be rejected on uploading on portal.

  • Duplicate invoice number, with respect to data uploaded earlier on the portal by the taxpayer.

  • Whether the invoice number, mentioned in the Credit Note/Debit Note already exists in the GST portal or not.

  • In Export shipping bill number and date is checked. Moreover, data of shipping bill must be on or after invoice date.

  • Discrepancy may also arise if the tile on GSTR-1 are not updated. Once has to click “Generate GSTR1 Summary” button at the bottom left part of GSTR1 page, to update the summary .

CSV File Template

1. What is csv file?

Offline Tool support upload on invoice details in the .csv format. The .csv format refers to commaseparated values format.

2. How many types of csv file are there as part of the Returns Offline Tool? Where are the CSV files available?

There are 9 csv files part of the Returns Offline Tool downloadable zip file.

CSV file image

Copy and Paste Excel

1. Copy & Paste excel option is showing error as invalid input. What it means?

Please ensure while copying the data you have copied the header sections (Top 4 rows of sheet) along with the Header data from Row1 of the sheet.

2. How can I use the copy excel and paste facility in tool?

One needs to select data from an excel worksheet from the topmost left corner to the bottom most right corner which needs to copied and click copy and then paste it in the Offline tool in the window indicated for copying after selecting the tab of “copy from excel” in the “import file” tab.


1. What will be file extension of generated file from Offline tool for GSTR-1?

A JSON file with file extension .json gets generated from the Offline tool.

2. What is the maximum size of JSON file?

Maximum size of the json file should not exceed 5 MB.

3. How can I check the file size of the generated json file?

Right click on the file and click on Properties. You can see the size of the generated json file.

4. What will happen if the file size of generated json is more than 5 MB?

GST Portal doesn’t allow the json file to be uploaded with file size more than 5 MB. Delete some of the invoices in order to generate the json with file size less than 5 MB. You can generate the file again with these deleted invoices to upload the same on the Portal.

5. Suppose my Json file exceeded 5 MB size, can I zip and upload?

If it is more than 5 MB, it is recommended to upload the data in multiple goes through multiple files.

6. Can I generate multiple json files for a single tax period?

Yes. You can generate multiple json files for a single tax period depending on the volume of data to be captured for the return.

7. Where will the generated JSON file get saved?

By default, it will be saved in the Downloads folder. You can also choose a different location to save the same.

8. What are the basic checks that I have to do in the Returns Offline tool to ensure successful upload of json file on the GST Portal?

You need to check that section wise all fields are filled properly without any error or omission. Tool will highlight fields having errors in RED color. Please ensure you fill the template as per the instructions provided in the Excel template.

9. Is Can a taxpayer generate multiple json files for a single tax period?

Yes. However, the taxpayer needs to be careful while naming the saved files to distinguish them.

10. I am using third party tool for invoice generation. Can I generate Json file directly from the Tool and upload?

If the Json format generated by the third party tool is understood by the GST portal, then one can upload the Json directly.

11. When I uploaded the json on the GST portal it has generated the reference ID but I am unable to see the Invoice details added.

It can take few minutes to display the invoice details in the summary.

12. What happens if I am not connected to Internet while uploading the json file on the GST Portal?

JSON file generated through the Returns Offline tool can be uploaded to the GST common portal only when you are connected to the GST Portal through the Internet.

13. Can a taxpayer prepare his GSTR 1 by preparing the .Json file of different sections of GSTR 1 and upload it to the GST portal?

Yes. He can prepare the offline .Json file of different sections of return together using the Java Offline tool and excel workbook template and upload to the GST portal at one go. This means that a taxpayer can fill data in one or many worksheets of the Excel Workbook Template and import it in the Java Offline tool to prepare the .Json file for upload.

Error File

1. What is error file?

If the upload of invoice details is processed with error after upload at the GST Portal, the errors are generated in the error file. This file is in JSON format.

2. How do I open and correct my incorrect invoices rejected by the system while uploading json?

The downloaded error file can be opened in the java tool and correction and modification made in the opened error file.

3. Where can I find the error file if some error occurred during upload json?

If the upload is processed with error, a generate error link would be visible on the upload page, clicking which will generate an error file after around 15 minutes. Once the error file is generated a link will be visible for downloading the error file.

4. How many error file can be open at a time in offline?

One can view one error file at a time.

5. What will be the file extension of error file?

The error file has the extension .zip. And it can directly opened in the java Offline tool.

6. How I can know that any error has come while uploading the json?

If any invoices or details fail to upload, a message of upload with error would be visible after uploading the file.

7. Will the offline tool provide appropriate error messages or alerts in case of wrong data entry?

Yes. The tool will provide appropriate error messages or alerts in case of wrong data entry or in case the mandatory field is not filled in.