Circular No. 919 / 09 / 2010 - CX
F.No. 201/20/2009-CX 6
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Central Board of Excise and Customs)
New Delhi dated 23rd March 2010.
All Chief Commissioners of Central Excise, Service Tax
and Large Taxpayers Unit.
Sub.: Procedure for electronic filing of Central Excise and Service Tax returns and for electronic payment of excise duty and service tax.
Attention is invited to Circular No. 791/24/2004 dated 01.06.2004 and No. 52/1/2003 dated 11.03.2004 (modified by Circular No. 71/1/2004-ST dated 02.01.2004) prescribing the procedure for electronic filing of Central Excise and Service Tax returns. Attention is also invited to Notification No. 04/2010-Central Excise (NT) and No. 01/2010-ST both dated 19.02.2010 providing for mandatory electronic filing of Excise and Service Tax returns and payment of excise duty and service tax by all the assessees who have paid central excise duty or service tax of Rs. 10 Lakhs or more (including payment by utilisation of Cenvat credit) in the previous financial year.
2. DG (Systems) has prepared comprehensive instructions outlining the procedure for electronic filing of excise and service tax return and electronic payment of taxes under ACES. The same is enclosed. The said instructions outline the registration process for new assessees, existing assessees, non–assessees and for Large Taxpayers Unit assessees, steps for preparing and filing of return, using of XML Schema for filing dealers’ return, procedure for obtaining acknowledgement of E-filed return, procedure for E-payment etc. It is requested to sensitise concerned officers and trade and industry regarding the instructions.
3. As a large number of taxpayers would be required to file Excise and Service Tax return and to pay the taxes electronically, it is requested that trade and industry may be provided all assistance so as to help them in adopting the new procedure.
4. Field formations and trade/industry/service provider may also please be informed suitably.
5. Hindi version will follow.
Under Secretary (C.X.6)
Procedure for Electronic filing of Central Excise and
Service Tax returns and Electronic Payment of Taxes
In continuation of its efforts for trade facilitation, CBEC has rolled-out a new centralized, web-based and workflow-based software application called Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax (ACES) in all 104 Commissionerates of Central Excise, service Tax and large Tax Payer Units (LTUs) as on 23rd December, 2009. ACES is a Mission Mode project (MMP) of the Govt. of India under the national e-governance plan and it aims at improving tax-payer services, transparency, accountability and efficiency in the indirect tax administration in India. This application has replaced the current applications of SERMON, SACER, and SAPS used in Central Excise and Service Tax for capturing returns and registration details of the assessees and hence, in supercession of the CBEC Circular No.791/24/2004-CX. dated 1.6.2004 and CBEC Circular No. ST 52/1/2003 dated 11.03.2003, this revised circular is being issued.
The ACES application has interface for:
Ø Central Excise Assessees
Ø Service Tax Assessees
Ø Central Excise Departmental Officers and
Ø Service Tax Departmental Officers.
It has automated the major processes of Central Excise and Service Tax - registration, returns, accounting, refunds, dispute resolution, audit, provisional assessment, exports, claims, intimations and permissions. It is divided into the following modules:
1. Reduce Physical Interface with the Department
2. Save Time
3. Reduce Paper Work
4. Online Registration and Amendment of Registration Details
5. Electronic filing of all documents such as applications for registration, returns [On-line and off-line downloadable versions of ER 1,2,3,4,5,6, Dealer Return, and ST3], claims, permissions and intimations; provisional assessment request, export-related documents, refund request
6. System-generated E-Acknowledgement
7. Online tracking of the status of selected documents
8. Online view facility to see selected documents
9. Internal messaging system on business-related matters
IV. Registration Process:
To transact business on ACES a user has to first register himself/herself with ACES through a process called ‘Registration with ACES’. This registration is not a statutory registration as envisaged in Acts/Rules governing Central Excise and Service Tax but helps the application in recognizing the bonafide users. Described below are steps for taking registration by a new assessee, existing assessee, non-assessee and a Large Tax Payer Unit (LTU).
(a) New Assessee
1. The user needs to log onto the system, through internet at http://www.aces.gov.in
2. He/she chooses the Central Excise/Service Tax button from the panel appearing on the left of the webpage.
3. Clicks the button “New Users Click here to Register with ACES” in the Log-in screen that appears after clicking Central Excise/Service Tax button.
4. Fills in and submits the form “Registration with ACES”, by furnishing a self-chosen user ID and e-mail ID. User ID, once chosen is final and cannot be changed by the assessee in future.
5. The system will check for availability of the chosen User ID and then generate a password and send it by e-mail, mentioned by him/her in the Form.
6. ACES provides assistance of ‘Know your location code’ for choosing correct jurisdictional office.
7. The user then re-logs-in and proceeds with the statutory registration with Central Excise/Service Tax, by filling-in the appropriate Form namely A-1, A-2 or ST-1 etc. by clicking the “Reg” link in the Menu bar that appears on the top of the screen. For security reasons, the password should be changed immediately.
8. The system instantaneously generates an acknowledgement number after which the registration request goes to the jurisdictional Assistant or Deputy Commissioner (AC/DC). Depending on the instructions in force, assessees may be required to submit certain documents to the department for verification. After due processing, the AC/DC, in case of Central Excise and Superintendent /Commissioner (for centralized registration only), in case of Service Tax, generates Registration Certificate (RC) and a message to this effect is sent to the assessees electronically. The assessee can view this and take a print-out of this.
9. Depending on the option chosen by the assessee, the signed copy of the RC can be sent by post or can be collected by assessee in person.
10. While submitting registration form, if the assessee makes a mistake in choosing a wrong jurisdiction (Commissionerate/Division/ Range), ACES provides a facility to the AC/DC to forward the application to the correct jurisdictional officer to issue registration and a message to this effect is sent to the assessee for information.
11. The registration number will be same as the current 15-digit format with minor change such as
For-PAN based Assessees
1-10 digits – PAN of the Assessee
11-12 digits–EM (Excise Manufacturer), ED (Excise Dealer), SD (Service Tax)
13-15–Systems generated alphanumeric serial number
For non-PAN based assessees
1-4 digits TEMP
5-10 Systems generated alpha numeric number
11-12 EM (Excise Manufacturer) or ED (Excise Dealer), SD (Service Tax)
13-15–Systems generated alphanumeric serial number
(b) Existing Assessee
·ACES application will automatically send mails to the e-mail IDs of the assessee, as available in the existing registration data base, indicating a TPIN number, and password. The mail will contain a hyperlink to the website.
· Assessee clicks on the hyperlink and is taken to ACES application
· Assessee submits the form after filling the requisite information including the password provided in the e-mail, a new User ID and new password. User ID, once chosen is final and cannot be changed by the assessee in future.
· On successful registration with ACES, the assessee can transact business through ACES.
(d) Large Tax Payer Unit (LTU) Assessee/Client
i. The user ID once selected will be permanent and cannot be changed. However, it is desirable to frequently change passwords
ii. The User ID should be of 6-12 alphanumeric characters, no special character such as !@#$%*&( )+ or spaces except underscore ‘-‘ shall be allowed.
iii. New assessee seeking registrations in Central Excise and Service Tax will also submit to the jurisdictional Range officer, a printout of the application form submitted online duly signed by the authorized signatory along with required documents.
iv. Assessees should note that the e-mail ID is furnished to the department in writing, and they will be responsible for all communications to and from this email ID. Currently, ACES provides for communication to one email ID only. After registration with the ACES, assessees, on their own, can modify their registration details online, including their e-mail ID.
v. In the interest of security and data protection, assessees are advised to change their passwords regularly and not to share it with unauthorized persons. In case of any dispute, the person whose user ID and Password has been used to access the application will be held liable for the action and any other consequences.
V. E-filing of Returns
The assesses can electronically file statutory returns of Central Excise and Service Tax by choosing one of the two facilities being offered by the department at present: (a) they can file it online, or (b) download the off-line return utilities which can be filled-in off-line and uploaded to the system through the internet.
a. Steps for preparing and filing returns
(i) Returns can be prepared and filed on line by selecting the ‘File Return’ option under RET module after logging into the ACES.
(ii) All validations are thrown up during the preparation of the return in this mode and the status of the return filed using the online mode is instantaneously shown by ACES.
(iii) Returns can also be prepared and filed off-line. Assessee downloads the Offline return preparation utility available at http://www.aces.gov.in (Under Download)
(iv) Prepares the return offline using this utility. The return preparation utility contains preliminary validations which are thrown up by the utility from time to time.
(v) Assessee logs in using the User ID and password.
(vi) Selects RET from the main menu and uploads the return. Instructions for using the offline utilities are given in detail in the Help section, under ‘Download’ link and assessees are advised to follow them.
(vii) Returns uploaded through this procedure are validated by the ACES before acceptance into the system which may take up to one business day. Assessee can track the status of the return by selecting the appropriate option in the RET sub menu. The status will appear as “uploaded” meaning under process by ACES, “Filed” meaning successfully accepted by the system or “Rejected” meaning the ACES has rejected the return due to validation error. The rejected returns can be resubmitted after corrections.
(viii) Once the Central Excise returns are filed online in ACES or uploaded to the system using the off-line utility, the same can not be modified or cancelled by the assessee. The Service Tax returns, however, can be modified once as per rules up to 90 days from the date of filing the initial return.
(ix) Self-assessed CE returns, after scrutiny by the competent officer, may result into modification. Both the ‘Original’ and the ‘Reviewed’ return can be viewed by the assessee online.
b. Using XML Schema for filing Dealers Return
Currently, the ACES Application allows on-line filing of Quarterly Returns by the Registered Dealers accessing the site www.aces.gov.in by using the excel utility. Some assesses who use their own software application in their offices find the process of manual entry of data in the excel format of Returns as a time consuming and avoidable exercise. A new feature of XML schema has now been introduced. Now using the schema, assessees, after making necessary modifications in their own software application, can generate their return from their application. Below mentioned steps elaborate the process to prepare, validate and upload the Dealer’s Return.
Steps to prepare the XML
Step 1: ACES application accepts the return in XML format. Prepare the Dealer return XML and validate it against the schema ACES_DLR.xsd provided.
Step 2: Login to the ACES application and upload the XML for processing. XML will be again validated against same XSD again before processing.
XML File only will be considered valid if it satisfies the requirements of the schema (predefined XSD) with which it has been associated. These requirements typically include such constraints as:
Elements and attributes that must/may be included, and their permitted structure
The structure as specified by regular expression syntax
Instructions for using the schema are given in detail in the Help section, under ‘Download’ link. Assessees are advised to follow them.
c. Filing of Returns and other documents through the ACES Certified Facilitation Centres (CFCs)
Very soon, CBEC will be setting up ACES Certified Facilitation Centres (CFCs) with the help of professional bodies like Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) etc. These CFCc will provide a host of services to the assessees such as digitization of paper documents like returns etc. and uploading the same to ACES. Assessees requiring the services of the CFCs may be required to pay service fees to the CFCs. CBEC will approve the maximum rates at which CFCs can charge their customers for the services rendered by them. For this purpose, assessees are required to write to the department authorizing one of the CFCs, from the approved list, to work in ACES on their behalf. They have to furnish the name and other details of the CFCs, including the registration No issued by the ICAI/ICWAI etc. At any given time, one assessee can authorize one CFC, while one CFC can provide services to more than one assessee throughout India. In case the assessee wants to withdraw the authorization, it can do so by intimating the department. However, an assessee will be held liable for all actions of omission or commission of the CFC, during the period they are authorized by him/her to work in ACES.
d. Validation of the entries made while filling return
Ø UPLOADED denotes that return is uploaded and under processing (assessees are advised to view the status after the end of a business day).
Ø FILED denotes that uploaded return is accepted by system.
Ø REJECTED denotes that return is rejected due to errors. (The assessees are required to correct the return and upload it again.)
e. Acknowledgement of E-Filing of the return
In the case of a Central Excise or service Tax return filed on-line, ACES application software acknowledges it by displaying an Acknowledgement message. A unique document reference number is generated which consist of 15-digit registration number of the assessee, name of the return filed, the period for which return is filed etc. This is also automatically communicated to the email id of the assessee by the application. In the case of an uploaded Central Excise return, using offline utility, similar acknowledgement is generated and sent after the acceptance of the return by the system as a valid return i.e. when the status changes to ‘FILED’.
f. Class of Assessees for whom e-filing of returns and e-payment is mandatory with effect from 1st April, 2010:
h. Responsibility of the Assessee
VI. Digital Signatures
The ACES application is designed to accept digitally signed documents. However, in the beginning this functionality is not going to be activated. Pending its activation the electronic returns will be filed into ACES without digital signatures. Hence, wherever the returns are submitted through ACES there will not be any requirement to submit signed hard copy separately.
To use ACES following systems requirements are recommended:
Ø Web Browser: IE 6.0 and above, Netscape 6.2 and above
Ø MS Excel 2003 and above for using offline utilities
Speakers/Headphones, Colour Monitor for using
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VIII. Help for Assessees
CBEC has set up a Service Desk with National toll-free No. 1800 425 4251, which can be accessed by between 9 AM to 7 PM on all working days (Monday to Friday). Besides, e-mails can be sent to email@example.com. All the calls/e-mails will be issued a unique ticket number, which will be attended to by the Service Desk agents for appropriate response.
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