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Central Board of Excise and Customs Allows Digital Signatures; E-Storage of Documents
August, 05th 2015

The Central Board of Excise and Customs on Wednesday said businesses can store documents in electronic form and allowed digitally signed invoices, a move aimed at improving ease of doing business and reducing cost of transaction.

As part of the government's initiative to facilitate trade, CBEC has been taking several steps towards ease of doing business, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

One such recent initiative has been to encourage the trade to replace paper documents required by law to be preserved with electronic documents and to use digitally signed invoices in Central Excise and Service Tax.

During the Budget, legal provisions were amended with twin purpose of providing that the invoices issued by manufacturers or service providers can be digitally signed and to enable manufacturers or a service providers to store legally prescribed documents electronically.

A notification and a circular have been issued in this regard.

"Besides improving ease of doing business and being environment-friendly, these initiatives are also expected to reduce transaction cost for the business," the Ministry said.

Every assessee proposing to use digital signatures will provide details like name, e-mail id, office address and designation of the person authorised to use the digital signature certificate, to authorities concerned.

CBEC also said assessee who opts to maintain records in electronic form should ensure that appropriate backup of records in electronic form is maintained and preserved for a period of 5 years

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