Guidelines for use of Digitally signed invoices/records in Central Excise and Service Tax

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Finance
Budget, 2015 has provided facility to issue digitally signed invoices by
inserting Rule 4(C) in Service Tax Rules, 1994 along with the option for
maintenance of records in electronic form and their authentication by means of
digital signatures. However, conditions for issuing digital signed invoices and
option of maintaining of records in electronic form was not in the line till
now.

The neoteric, Notification No. 18/2015- Central Excise (N.T.), dated 6
July, 2015, in pursuance of sub-rule (2) of Rule 4(C) of the Service Tax Rules,
1994 made under sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) of Section 94 of the
Finance Act, 1994, now specifies conditions, safeguard and procedures for
issuing of invoices, preserving records in electronic form and authentication
of records and invoices by digital signatures.
 
As per the notification, for issuing digital signature invoices and
maintaining records in electronic form the following condition shall be
complied, namely;- 
  1. Every
    assesse proposing to use digital signature shall use Class 2 or Class 3 Digital
    Signature Certificate duly issued by the Certifying Authority in India.
  2. Every
    assesse proposing to use digital signatures shall intimate specified details to
    the Jurisdictional Deputy Commissioner of Central Excise.
  3. Every
    assesse already using digital signature shall intimate to the jurisdictional
    Deputy Commissioner or Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise within 15 days
    of issue of this notification.
  4. Every
    assesse who opts to maintain records in electronic form and who has more than
    one factory or service tax registration shall maintain separate electronic
    records for each factory of each service tax registration
  5. Every
    assesse who opts to maintain records in electronic form shall ensure that
    appropriate backup of records in electronic form is maintained and preserved
    for a period of 5 years immediately after the financial year to which such
    records pertain.
 
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