1. BACKGROUND :-As per notification no. 04/2010- Central Excise (NT) and 01/2010- Service Tax, it is mandatory to file electronic returns of excise and also payment of excise duty by all the assessees who have paid central excise duty or o (including payment by utilization of Cenvat credit) in the previous financial year.
2. GENERAL SCHEME
This scheme has automated the major processes of Central Excise and Service Tax, such as registration, returns, accounting, refunds, dispute resolution, audit, provisional assessment, exports, claims, intimations and permissions.
The following are dealt with in the forthcoming paragraphs.
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 commissionaires of Central Excise, Service Tax and Large Tax Payer Units (LTUs) as on 23 December, 2009. ACES is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) of the Government 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 suppression of the CBEC Circular No.791/24/2004-CX. dated 1 June 2004 and CBEC Circular No. ST 52/1/2003 dated 11 March 2003, revised circular no. 919/09/2010-CX is being issued.
The ACES application has interface for:
- Central Excise Assessees;
- Service Tax Assessees;
- Central Excise Departmental Officers; and
- Service Tax Departmental Officers. It is divided into the following modules:
- Access Control of Users (ACL)
- Registration (REGN): Registration of assessees of Central Excise & Service Tax including on-line amendment
- Returns (RET): Electronic filing of Central Excise & Service Tax Returns
- CLI: Electronic filing of claims, intimations and permissions by assessees and their processing by the departmental officers
- Refund (REF): Electronic filing of Refund Claims and their processing
- Provisional Assessment (PRA): Electronic filing of request for provisional assessment and its processing by the departmental officers
- Assessee Running Account
- Dispute Settlement Resolution (DSR): Show Cause Notices, Personal Hearing Memos, Adjudication Orders, Appellate and related processes
- Audit Module
- Export Module for processing export related documents
2.2 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. The steps relating to registration are given in the circular for various types of assessees, such as New Assessees’, ‘Existing Assessees’, ‘Large Tax Payer Units’, etc.
2.3 E-filing of returns
The assesses can electronically file statutory returns of Central Excise and Service Tax by choosing one of the two facilities being offered by the department at present.
- They can file it online or
- Download the off-line return utilities which can be filled-in off-line and uploaded to the system through the internet. Detailed steps relating to e-filing and e-payment are mentioned in the circular.
2.4 Digital Signature
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.
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 email@example.com 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.