How to e-file service tax return? | Mandatory e-filing of service tax return

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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 top 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-logre-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. It is mandatory to use the PAN allotted to the business entity to be registered. If the applicant has applied for PAN, he can be issued a temporary registration number and after obtaining PAN, he should amend the registration form online and insert the PAN, after which a new PAN-based registration number will be issued to the assessee. 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 Superintendent, in case of Service Tax, and to the Assistant or Deputy Commissioner (AC/DC), in case of Central Excise. If the department needs any clarification, the registration applications can be sent back by the department to the applicants. Similarly, before registration certificate is issued, the applicant can also withdraw his/her application. Depending on the instructions in force, Service Tax assessees are required to submit certain documents along with a signed copy of the registration application to the department for verification. After verification, the Superintendent of Service Tax issues the
Registration Certificate. However, in case of request for centralized registration, the Commissioner of Service Tax approves the registration. In either case, if the requisite documentsare not received within a period of 15 days, the registration application will be rejected by the department as incomplete. After the approval for issuance of a Registration Certificate is given by the competent authority, a message to this effect is sent to the assessees electronically. In case of Central Excise, the Registration Certificate is issued by the AC/DC, after due processing, and a message to this effect is sent to the assessees electronically. Thereafter, the range Officer carries out physical verification of the declared premises and verifies the documents. A message regarding physical verification is sent electronically. The assessee can view 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 Superintendent (in case of Service Tax) and to the AC/DC (in case of Central Excise) 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
1. The existing assessees will not have to take fresh registrations. They will have to only register with the ACES application. This can be done in the following manner:
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.
2. Existing assessees should note that they should register with ACES by following the procedure at (1) above and they should not register with ACES through the direct method, meant for new assessees, as discussed under (a) above. They should also not fill-in registration forms again as it will lead to allotment of new registration numbers by the system.
3. Assessees should ensure that their contact details in the department’s registration data base are updated to include their valid and current e-mail ids, otherwise they will not receive any such mail. Those assessees who have not yet furnished their email IDs to the department or even after furnishing the ID have not received the TPIN mail from ACES are advised to contact the jurisdictional Range Officers or LTU Client Executives and furnish their email IDs in writing.
The officer will thereafter incorporate the email ID in the ACES registration database of the assessee and arrange to send the TPIN mail to the assessee’s email ID.
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 cannot 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. Template Upload for Dealer Return
In order to make the e-filing of dealer return easy, particularly when some dealers have to enter huge data, a facility has been provided in the online version of the dealer return to use a template in excel format, which they can download, fill and upload by using ‘upload XLS functionality’ in the return. After validating the data, the system will populate it in the return in the relevant sections.
c. Using XML Schema for filing Central Excise Return (ER 1) and Dealer 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 been introduced. Using the schema, assessees, after making necessary modifications in their own software application, can generate their returns 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 Similar facilities are available for ER 1 returns.
Instructions for using the schema are given in detail in the Help section, under ‘Download’ link.Assessees are advised to follow them.
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 consists of a 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”.
Class of Assessees for whom e-filing of returns is mandatory with effect from 1st October, 2011:
1. In terms of Notification Nos 21 & 22 /2011-Central Excise (N.T.) dated the 14th September,2011, all Central Excise assesses are mandatorily required to electronically file returns namely ER 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8, Similarly, in terms of Notification No 43/2011- Service Tax dated. 25th August, 2011 all the Service Tax assesses are required to electronically file ST 3 returns mandatorily.
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.
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 aces.servicedesk@icegate.gov.in. 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. A Learning Management Software (LMS) has been provided on the ACES website, which is a multimedia-based self-learning online tutorial guiding the aseesees in a step-by-step processes to use ACES. The downloadable version of Learning Management Software is also provided on the website. Besides, User Manuals, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Power Point Presentation,and a Brochure have also been provided on the website to help the assessees use ACES.
 
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