Government of India
Ministry of Finance
Department of Revenue
(Central Board of Excise and Customs)
New Delhi dated 23rd March 2010.
Circular No. 919 / 09 / 2010 - CX
All Chief Commissioners of Central Excise, Service Tax
and Large Taxpayers Unit.
Sub.: Procedure for electronic filing of Central Excise and Service Tax returns
and for electronic payment of excise duty and service tax.
Attention is invited to Circular No. 791/24/2004 dated 01.06.2004 and No.
52/1/2003 dated 11.03.2004 (modified by Circular No. 71/1/2004-ST dated
02.01.2004) prescribing the procedure for electronic filing of Central Excise
and Service Tax returns. Attention is also invited to Notification No.
04/2010-Central Excise (NT) and No. 01/2010-ST both dated 19.02.2010 providing
for mandatory electronic filing of Excise and Service Tax returns and payment of
excise duty and service tax by all the assessees who have paid central excise
duty or service tax of Rs. 10 Lakhs or more (including payment by utilisation of
Cenvat credit) in the previous financial year.
2. DG (Systems) has prepared comprehensive instructions outlining the procedure
for electronic filing of excise and service tax return and electronic payment of
taxes under ACES. The same is enclosed. The said instructions outline the
registration process for new assessees, existing assessees, non–assessees and
for Large Taxpayers Unit assessees, steps for preparing and filing of return,
using of XML Schema for filing dealers’ return, procedure for obtaining
acknowledgement of E-filed return, procedure for E-payment etc. It is requested
to sensitise concerned officers and trade and industry regarding the
3. As a large number of taxpayers would be required to file Excise and Service
Tax return and to pay the taxes electronically, it is requested that trade and
industry may be provided all assistance so as to help them in adopting the new
4. Field formations and trade/industry/service provider may also please be
5. Hindi version will follow.
Under Secretary (C.X.6)
F.No. 201/20/2009-CX 6
Encl.: As above
Procedure for Electronic filing of Central Excise and
Service Tax returns and Electronic Payment of Taxes
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.
The ACES application has interface for:
Ø Central Excise Assessees
Ø Service Tax Assessees
Ø Central Excise Departmental Officers and
Ø Service Tax Departmental Officers.
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:
- 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
III. Benefits to the Assessees
- Reduce Physical Interface with the Department
- Save Time
- Reduce Paper Work
- Online Registration and Amendment of Registration Details
- 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
- System-generated E-Acknowledgement
- Online tracking of the status of selected documents
- Online view facility to see selected documents
- Internal messaging system on business-related matters
IV. 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
- The user needs to log onto the system, through internet at http://www.aces.gov.in
- He/she chooses the Central Excise/Service Tax button from the panel appearing
on the left of the webpage.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- ACES provides assistance of ‘Know your location code’ for choosing correct
- The user then re-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. For security reasons, the password should be changed immediately.
- The system instantaneously generates an acknowledgement number after which
the registration request goes to the jurisdictional Assistant or Deputy
Commissioner (AC/DC). Depending on the instructions in force, assessees may be
required to submit certain documents to the department for verification. After
due processing, the AC/DC, in case of Central Excise and Superintendent
/Commissioner (for centralized registration only), in case of Service Tax,
generates Registration Certificate (RC) and a message to this effect is sent to
the assessees electronically. The assessee can view this and take a print-out of
- 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.
- While submitting registration form, if the assessee makes a mistake in
choosing a wrong jurisdiction (Commissionerate/Division/ Range), ACES provides a
facility to the AC/DC 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- This category of registration is given in ACES to any individual, firm or
company which requires to transact with the Central Excise or Service Tax
Department, though not an assessee such as (a) merchant exporter, (b) co-noticee,
(c) refund applicant, (d) persons who have failed to obtain CE/ST registration
as required under the law and against whom the Department has initiated
proceedings and (e) persons who are required to tender any payment under CE/ST
Act /Rules. The Non-assessees are not required to file any tax returns.
- Where such persons desire to seek non-assessee registration they follow same
steps as in case of new assessee except that while choosing the registration
form in step (vii) they have to choose and fill in the Non-assessee form.
- In case the assessee is taking such registration for claiming any refund or
rebate it is mandatory to furnish his/her valid PAN.
- A Non-assessee registration can also be done by the designated officer of the
Commissionerate, on behalf of the non-assessee.
(d) Large Tax Payer Unit (LTU) Assessee/Client
- The consent form will have to be submitted manually by the New LTU assessees
to the jurisdictional LTU office which will be processed off line
- The approved consent form will be uploaded by the competent officer of the
Group LTU (GLTU) into ACES
- Any new unit of an existing LTU, which applies for registration with ACES
will be automatically attached with the LTU Commissionerate based upon PAN
details in the registration form
- As soon as the new or existing unit is attached with the LTU Commissionerate,
a suitable intimation will be automatically sent by the ACES to the existing
jurisdictional Commissionerate and the pending items of work will be transferred
to the LTU Commissionerate
- For existing LTU assessees, the process of registration is same as explained
in Sub Para (b) above.
- The user ID once selected will be permanent and cannot be changed. However,
it is desirable to frequently change passwords
- The User ID should be of 6-12 alphanumeric characters, no special character
such as !@#$%*&( )+ or spaces except underscore ‘-‘ shall be allowed.
- New assessee seeking registrations in Central Excise and Service Tax will
also submit to the jurisdictional Range officer, a printout of the application
form submitted online duly signed by the authorized signatory along with
- Assessees should note that the e-mail ID is furnished to the department in
writing, and they will be responsible for all communications to and from this
email ID. Currently, ACES provides for communication to one email ID only. After
registration with the ACES, assessees, on their own, can modify their
registration details online, including their e-mail ID.
- In the interest of security and data protection, assessees are advised to
change their passwords regularly and not to share it with unauthorized persons.
In case of any dispute, the person whose user ID and Password has been used to
access the application will be held liable for the action and any other
V. 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: (a) they can file it online, or (b) download the off-line
return utilities which can be filled-in off-line and uploaded to the system
through the internet.
a. Steps for preparing and filing returns
- Returns can be prepared and filed on line by selecting the ‘File Return’
option under RET module after logging into the ACES.
- 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.
- Returns can also be prepared and filed off-line. Assessee downloads the
Offline return preparation utility available at http://www.aces.gov.in (Under
- 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.
- Assessee logs in using the User ID and password.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Using XML Schema for filing Dealers 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 now been
introduced. Now using the schema, assessees, after making necessary
modifications in their own software application, can generate their return 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
Instructions for using the schema are given in detail in the Help section, under
‘Download’ link. Assessees are advised to follow them.
c. Filing of Returns and other documents through the ACES Certified Facilitation
Very soon, CBEC will be setting up ACES Certified Facilitation Centres (CFCs)
with the help of professional bodies like Institute of Chartered Accountants of
India (ICAI), Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) etc.
These CFCc will provide a host of services to the assessees such as digitization
of paper documents like returns etc. and uploading the same to ACES. Assessees
requiring the services of the CFCs may be required to pay service fees to the
CFCs. CBEC will approve the maximum rates at which CFCs can charge their
customers for the services rendered by them. For this purpose, assessees are
required to write to the department authorizing one of the CFCs, from the
approved list, to work in ACES on their behalf. They have to furnish the name
and other details of the CFCs, including the registration No issued by the
ICAI/ICWAI etc. At any given time, one assessee can authorize one CFC, while one
CFC can provide services to more than one assessee throughout India. In case the
assessee wants to withdraw the authorization, it can do so by intimating the
department. However, an assessee will be held liable for all actions of omission
or commission of the CFC, during the period they are authorized by him/her to
work in ACES.
d. Validation of the entries made while filling return
1. At the time of making entry in the electronic format of the relevant return,
the software does some preliminary validation for ensuring correctness of data,
either concurrently or at the time of saving / submitting the return. This
validation process is automated. The user is prompted by the application
software to correct the particulars entered wherever required. In respect of
certain entries, although the application alerts the assessee about any entry
found erroneous or inconsistent, as per the automated validation process, the
assessee is still allowed to proceed further to complete data entry of the
return and finally submit it electronically. But in some cases the assessees are
not allowed to proceed further unless the error indicated is corrected.
2. A return filed electronically is subject to automatic verification process by
the application and defective returns are marked to the departmental officer for
review and correction. While reviewing the return the officer may seek some
clarification from the assessee, call for some information, records or documents
which should be furnished by the assessee. In case of review and correction of
returns by the departmental officers, assesses will receive a message from the
application and they can log in to the application to view the reviewed returns
3. Returns, captured off-line using the Downloadable utility and uploaded later
on, are further subjected to certain validation checks. Processing of uploaded
returns, using the off-line versions, is done at the end of one business day and
the status can be viewed by the assessees under the ‘VIEW STATUS’ link under
‘RET’ module. Status is described as ‘UPLOADED’, ‘FILED’ or ‘REJECTED’ and they
denote as follows:
Ø UPLOADED denotes that return is uploaded and under processing (assessees are
advised to view the status after the end of a business day).
Ø FILED denotes that uploaded return is accepted by system.
Ø REJECTED denotes that return is rejected due to errors. (The assessees are
required to correct the return and upload it again.)
4. There is no provision in ACES application to allow assessees to make
corrections to the returns filed by them. Once the return is accepted by the
system as successfully ‘filed’, no modification can be made by the assessee.
However, if the return is rejected, the assessee can correct the errors and
upload it again. The assessees are, therefore, advised to take utmost care while
fill-in in the returns. They may, however, bring it to the notice of the
e. 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 consist of 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’.
f. Class of Assessees for whom e-filing of returns and e-payment is mandatory
with effect from 1st April, 2010:
1. In terms of Notification No 04/2010-Central Excise (N.T.) dated the 19th
February, 2010, an assessee, who has paid total duty of rupees ten lakhs or more
including the amount of duty paid by utilization of CENVAT credit in the
preceding financial year, is required to file the monthly or quarterly return,
as the case may be, electronically, under sub-rule (1) of Rule 12 of the Central
Excise Rules, 2002 and deposit the duty electronically through internet banking
under sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 of the Central Excise Rules, 2002.
2. Similarly, in terms of Notification No. 01/2010 – Service Tax dated the 19th
February, 2010, an assessee who has paid a total Service Tax of rupees ten lakhs
or more including the amount paid by utilization of CENVAT credit, in the
preceding financial year, is required to file the return electronically under
sub-rule (2) of Rule 7 of the Service Tax Rules, 1994 and deposit the service
Tax liable to be paid by him electronically, through internet banking under
sub-rule (2) of Rule 6 of the Service Tax Rules, 1994.
3. The earlier facility of e-filing on the website (http://exciseandservicetax.nic.in),
as provided in the CBEC Circular No.791/24/2004-CX. Dated 1.6.2004 is no more
available and the assessees are required to file their returns online or by
uploading the downloadable off-line return utilities to the new ACES website
(http://www.aces.gov.in). Data structure for writing programmes to cull out the
required return data (currently available for Dealer return) from the
assessees’s computers in XML format has also been provided. Such schema for ER 2
and ER 1 returns will be published in due course. For complete details and
instructions, assessees can visit the aforesaid website. Assessees who are
required to or opted to file returns electronically but are unable to file
electronically, for any technical difficulty in filing the returns, on account
of difficulties at the department’s end viz. server/application is down or due
to some defect in the software, should file their returns manually within the
1. For e-payment, assessees should open a net banking account with one of the
authorized banks (currently there are 28 banks, list of which is available on
the EASIEST (Electronic Accounting System in Excise and service Tax) website of
CBEC, maintained by NSDL (https://cbec.nsdl.com/EST/). Payment through ICICI
Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank can be done by assesses for select
Commissionerates only, list of which is published in the aforesaid EASIEST
website. Payment through all other authorized banks can be made for all
2. For effecting payment, assessees can access the ACES website (http://www.aces.gov.in/)
and click on the e-payment link that will take them to the EASIEST portal
(https://cbec.nsdl.com/EST/) or they can directly visit the EASIEST portal.
3. Procedure for e-Payment:
1. To pay Excise Duty and Service Tax online, the assessee has to enter the 15
digit Assessee Code allotted by the department under erstwhile SACER/SAPS or the
current application ACES.
2. There will be an online check on the validity of the Assessee Code entered.
3. If the Assessee code is valid, then corresponding assessee details like name,
address, Commissionerate Code etc. as present in the Assessee Code Master will
4. Based on the Assessee Code, the duty / tax i.e. Central Excise duty or
Service Tax to be paid will be automatically selected.
5. The assessee is required to select the type of duty / tax to be paid by
clicking on Select Accounting Codes for Excise or Select Accounting Codes for
Service Tax, depending on the type of duty / tax to be paid.
6. At a time the assessee can select up to six Accounting Codes.
7. The assessee should also select the bank through which payment is to be made.
8. On submission of data entered, a confirmation screen will be displayed. If
the taxpayer confirms the data entered in the screen, it will be directed to the
net-banking site of the bank selected.
9. The taxpayer will login to the net-banking site with the user id/ password,
provided by the bank for net-banking purpose, and will enter payment details at
the bank site.
10. On successful payment, a challan counterfoil will be displayed containing
CIN, payment details and bank name through which e-payment has been made. This
counterfoil is proof of payment made.
h. Responsibility of the Assessee
1. It is the legal responsibility of the assessees, who are required to file
returns, to file it within the due date as prescribed under law. The electronic
filing of returns is mandatory for select class of Central Excise and Service
Tax assessees, as mentioned in Notification No 04/2010-Central Excise (N.T.)
dated the 19th February, 2010, and Notification No. 01/2010 – Service Tax dated
the 19th February, 2010 respectively. Other assessees can also use ACES and file
their returns electronically. It may, however, be noted that merely uploading
the returns will not be considered as returns having been filed with the
department. A return will be considered as filed, when the same is successfully
accepted by the application as ‘Filed’ and the relevant date for determining the
date of filing of return will be the date of uploading of such successfully
‘filed’ returns. In case a return is ‘rejected’ by the application, the date of
uploading of the rejected return will not be considered as the date of filing,
rather the date of uploading of the successfully ‘filed’, return (after the
assessee carries out necessary corrections and uploads it again) will be
considered as the actual date of filing.
2. In case the assessee experiences any difficulty in transacting in ACES such
as filing of return, the assessees may lodge a complaint with the ACES Service
Desk or the department by e-mail and/or by telephone, details of which are given
below and obtain a ticket no. as an acknowledgement from the department.
However, mere lodging of complaints with the ACES service desk will not be a
valid ground to justify late filing of returns. If the difficulty is not on
account of problems at the assessee’s end, and can be clearly attributed to the
department’s IT infrastructure such as problems in accessing CBEC’s ACES
application due to server, network or application being down, proportionate time
will be deducted from the date of uploading of successfully ‘filed’ returns to
ascertain the actual date and time of filing of the return. Since the department
maintains logs of such technical failures, in case of any dispute, the decision
of the department will be final.
VI. 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.
VII. System Requirements for ACES
To use ACES following systems requirements are recommended:
Ø Processor: Intel Pentium III and higher
Ø RAM: 256 MB and higher
Ø HDD: 80 GB and more
Ø Web Browser: IE 6.0 and above, Netscape 6.2 and above
Ø MS Excel 2003 and above for using offline utilities
Ø Sound Card, Speakers/Headphones, Colour Monitor for using Learning Management
Systems ( LMS)
VIII. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.