The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), Ministry of Finance has successfully implemented an e-governance initiative under the Mission Mode Project (MMP) of the Government of India by developing and deploying a software application called Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax (ACES)
The software is aimed at improving tax-payer services, transparency, accountability and efficiency in the indirect tax administration in India. The application has automated all major processes in Central Excise and Service Tax through a web-based and workflow-based system. ACES is the most significant e-initiative undertaken in post-independence India that has transformed the way about 16.75 lakh indirect taxpayers conduct their business with the department. It has indirectly touched the lives of millions and benefited a large number of Indians, foreign nationals and members of trade, industry and commerce.
Presently implemented in all 104 Central Excise, Service Tax & LTU Commissionerates, the ACES application has resulted in a major change in the way the Central Excise and Service Tax formations conduct their regular business vis--vis trade & industry. E-filing and e-processing of documents has started replacing manual filing and handling of paper documents, making these offices almost paperless. There are 1027 Central Excise & Service Tax offices from which around 10,000 Departmental officers work on the ACES application in 104 Commissionerates across the country.
Services covered under the ACES Application are offered free of cost to the users throughout India. It is available to around 3.24 lakh Central Excise assessees and dealers and 13.63 lakh Service Tax assessees across India. The ACES website has attracted over 30 Crore hits so far. The ACES Application has already bagged three awards namely PC Quest e-Governance Award, Skoch ICT for India 2010 Award and Information Week's EDGE Award, 2010.
The outcome of the project has been very encouraging. There has been steady and progressive growth in the use of ACES. The services provided are (i) Online registration of Central Excise assessees and online amendment. (ii) Online registration of Service Tax assesses and online amendment. (iii) Electronic filing of Central Excise Returns. (iv) Electronic filing of Service Tax Returns. (v) Electronic filing of claims, permissions, intimations submitted by assessees in the course of business with the department. (vi) Instant E-acknowledgement of documents with a Unique Document Identification Number. (vii) View, file and track the status of documents filed online. (viii) Processing of claims, permissions and intimations filed by the assessees. (ix) Revenue reconciliation. (Receipt of payment information from banks using 'EASIEST' and reconciling with the information mentioned in the return submitted by the assessees. (x) Online messages / alerts to users on business related matters. (xi) Automated Report Generation. (xii) Audit Module involving selection of units based on risk parameters and tracking of audit results. (xiii) Online filing of reply to Show Cause Notice. (xiv) Online filing of application for Provisional Assessment. (xv) Online filing of refund claims. (xvi) Online filing of selected export related documents.