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Use of digital signature and maintenance of records in electronic form

Deepak 
on 22 July 2015

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The Article given below may help you to know what are the Conditions and Procedures to be followed to use Digital signature to sign the invoices and maintain records in Electronic form.

By way of Notification No. 5/2015-Service Tax dated 01.03.2015, Central Government has inserted Rule4C in Service Tax Rules, 1994 which is produced here under:

4C. Authentication by digital signature-

 (1) Any invoice, bill or challan issued under rule 4A or consignment note issued under rule 4B may be authenticated by means of a digital signature.

 (2)The Board may, by notification, specify the conditions, safeguards and procedure to be followed by any person issuing digitally signed invoices.”                                    

and

By way of Notification No. 8/2015- Central Excise (N.T.) dated- 1st March, 2015, the Central Government has inserted sub rule 8&9 to Rule 11of Central Excise Rules, 2002, which is read as under:

“(8) An invoice issued under this rule by a manufacturer may be authenticated by means of a digital signature: Provided that where the duplicate copy of the invoice meant for transporter is digitally signed, a hard copy of the duplicate copy of the invoice meant for transporter and self-attested by the manufacturer shall be used for transport of goods.

 (9) The Board may, by notification, specify the conditions, safeguards and procedure to be followed by an assessee using digitally signed invoice.

In support of above said notifications, CBEC has issued Notification No.18/2015-Central Excise (N.T.) stating the conditions, safeguards and procedure to be followed while using Digital Signature (DS).

The following are the conditions stated in above notification:

a. Assessee will have to use Class 2 or Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate duly issued by the Certifying Authority in India.

b. Assessee shall intimate to the jurisdictional AC/DC atleast fifteen days before use of such digital signature

c. Name and address of Certifying Authority, date of issue and validity of such DS;

d. Name, e-mail id, office address and designation of the person authorised to use the digital signature certificate.

If there is any change in above information, it shall be intimated within fifteen days of such change.

If Assessee is already using DS, then assessee shall intimate to the department within fifteen days from issue of this notification.

However, in the view of paper writer, the same shall be intimated before 21st July 2015 (fifteen days from 6th July).

a. Assessee shall maintain separate electronic records for each factory or each service tax registration.

b. Assessee shall on request submit all records maintained in electronic form to Central Excise Officer through E-mail or Specified storage device.

c. Request shall be made through e-mail or letter.

d. Assessee will have to submit printout of records maintained in electronic form duly signed by designated person, if required by Central Excise Officer.

e. Assessee shall ensure that the backup of records in electronic form is maintained and preserved for a period of 5 years.

By: Deepak Tawania


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