General Clarifications Regarding E-Filing 

Service Tax Returns were mostly filed, manually by the assessee or their representative. In this era of Internet and e-governance, the government has introduced a facility for the electronic filing of Service Tax Returns, which is known as E-Filing.

E-filing of service tax return is mandatory from 01-10-2011 for all assessees. (Service Tax Notification No. 43/2011 – S.T. dated the 25th August, 2011)

In any case if assessee does not succeed in filing of return electronically or in case of e-filing is unable to generate acknowledgement number, he should file manual return to avoid penal provisions.

Prerequisites for E-filing are very basic. Assessee is required to possess :

15 digit Service Tax Payer Code i.e. Popularly known as Service Tax Registration No. based on PAN allotted by Income Tax Department. In case, if assessee is not having PAN Based 15 digit Registration No., he can use temporary 15 digit no. given by the department.

Computer having Internet Connection

Valid E-mail Address

Java Enabled Browser i.e. Internet Explorer 6.0 and above or Netscape Navigator 5.0 and above or Mozilla Firefox 3.0 and above.

Step by Step Procedure for E-filing of Service Tax Return

(a) Returns can be prepared and filed on line by selecting the ‘File Return’ option under RET module after logging into the ACES

(b) 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.

(c) 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)

(d) 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.

(e) Assessee logs in using the User ID and password.

(f) 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.

(g) 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.

(h) 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.

(i) 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.

During e-filing of return the assessee must file details as mentioned in Form ST – 3 and that of duty paying challans. A key number and acknowledgment would be generated by the system along with a copy of Form ST when return is completely submitted.

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.

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) Access Control of Users (ACL)

2) Registration (REGN): Registration of assessees of Central Excise & Service Tax including on-line amendment.

3) Returns (RET): Electronic filing of Central Excise & Service Tax Returns

4).CLI: Electronic filing of claims, intimations and permissions by assessees and their processing by the departmental officers

5) Refund (REF): Electronic filing of Refund Claims and their processing

6) Provisional Assessment (PRA): Electronic filing of request for provisional assessment and its processing by the departmental officers.

7) Assessee Running Account

8) Dispute Settlement Resolution (DSR): Show Cause Notices, Personal Hearing Memos, Adjudication Orders, Appellate and related processes.Assessee Running Account

9) Audit Module

10) Export Module for processing export related documents


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


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