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Dear Professional Colleague,

CBEC specifies conditions and safeguards for issuing digitally signed invoices and maintaining e-records

Background:

The Service Tax Rules, 1994 (“the Service Tax Rules”) were amended vide Notification No. 5/2015 – ST dated March 1, 2015 to insert New Rule 4C after Rule 4B thereof. In terms of Rule 4C of the Service Tax Rules, provision for issuing digitally signed invoices, bill or challan has been added along with the option of maintaining of records in electronic form and their authentication by means of digital signatures effective from March 1, 2015.

Corresponding changes were also made in Rule 5 of the Service Tax Rules. Further similar provisions were also incorporated under Rule 10 and 11 of the Central Excise Rules, 2002 vide Notification No. 8/2015 – CE(NT) dated March 1, 2015.

However, it was further provided that the conditions and procedure in this regard shall be specified by the Central Board of Excise and Customs (“CBEC” or “the Board”).

CBEC specifies conditions, safeguards and procedures:

The CBEC vide Notification No. 18/2015-CE (NT) dated July 6, 2015 has now specified the conditions, safeguards and procedures for issue of invoices, preserving records in electronic form, authentication of records and invoices by digital signatures, summarised here under for easy digest:

a. Use of only Class 2 or Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate duly issued by the Certifying Authority in India;

b. Intimating specified details like name, e-mail id etc., of the person authorised, name of the Certifying Authority etc., to the jurisdictional Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise, at least 15 days in advance;

c. Submitting complete details afresh in case of any change in the details already submitted within 15 days of such change;

d. Maintaining separate electronic records for each factory or each Service Tax Registration;

e. Producing the specified records in electronic form and invoices through e-mail or on a specified storage device in an electronically readable format for verification, on request by the Central Excise Officer;

f. The Central Excise Officer, during an enquiry, investigation or audit, in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 (as made applicable to Service Tax by virtue of Section 83 of the Finance Act, 1994) may direct an assessee to furnish printouts of the records in electronic form and invoices and may resume printouts of such records and invoices after verification and after signing of print outs by the assessee, if so requested;

g. Preservation of appropriate back up of records in electronic form for a period of 5 years.  

Hope the information will assist you in your Professional endeavours. In case of any query/ information, please do not hesitate to write back to us.

Thanks & Best Regards 
Bimal Jain
CA, FCS, LLB, B.Com (Hons)Email: 
bimaljain@hotmail.com

Disclaimer: The contents of this document are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the authors nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this document nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Readers are advised to consult the professional for understanding applicability of this newsletter in the respective scenarios. While due care has been taken in preparing this document, the existence of mistakes and omissions herein is not ruled out. No part of this document should be distributed or copied (except for personal, non-commercial use) without our written permission.

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