Gone are the days when one would have to visit government offices and wait in the long queue to submit returns. With the new digital era and the electronic age one can easily file returns without actually visiting any government office. So to e-file your income tax return through an online process the taxpayers or assesses need to affix their Digital Signatures in order to authenticate the document.
As per the IT Act 2000 Digital Signatures have been given same status as the regular signatures. They verify and also attest that the owner of the signature has digitally signed the document in a fraud free and secure manner.
Digital Signature is unique and is duly checked and verified primarily therefore it can’t be disowned or claimed as forgery by the signatory. The digitally signed documents are protected from any further alteration or editing after you have digitally signed, attested and verified the document by the person who signed has document since there are barely any chances of forgery with digital signature. Digital signatures not only make a document easily transferable through an online process but also provide a very high security for authentication of the same.
Certification Authorities – CA, issue the digital signatures that are signed by making use of a private key dedicatedly assigned to the Certification Authority. Public Key Infrastructure – PKI is the technology that is used for digital signatures.
Your Digital Signature comprises of the following:
- Name of the Owner
- Public Key of the Owner
- The date of Expiry of the Public Key
- The name of the Issuing Certification Authority
- The Serial no. assigned to Digital Signature
- The Digital Signature of the issuer
You need not issue a hard copy of the income tax return of you have e-filed your tax return and authenticated your document by making use of a digital signature.
Steps to Register a Digital Signature with the Income Tax Department:
- Step 1: To start the process of registering your Digital Signature you need to first logon to official website of Income Tax India and hit the “Log In”
- Step 2: If you have not registered on the official website of Income Tax India you will be required to register yourself by entering your details and then log in.
- Step 3:The users that have already registered on the website can login by making use of their User ID and Password.
- Step 4: Once you are logged in, you must click on “My Account”.
- Step 5: Once you have clicked “My Account” you need to click on “Update digital certificate”; the moment you will click on “Update Digital Certificate” the download will start automatically or the system will generate a couple of prompts or warnings indicating threat to your computer due to untrustworthy source. All you need to do is to click “yes” or “accept” or “continue” and keep the process on.
- Step 6: After you have agreed to continue the download will start. The download will contain a file “StoreCertificate”. This will store local copy of digital signature in your computer system.
- Step 7: You need to then go back open web page and click on “Upload your USB Token”. Once you have clicked on “upload your USB token” you will be directed to “Select your USB Token Certificate” and “Browse”. You will be required to click on this button and it will open selection prompt window.
- Step 8: In selection window, you will be required to find and select the file that you had downloaded. It is usually found in C:\WINDOWS\system32\eTPKCS11.dll.
- Step 9: Then you need to select the file “eTPKCS11.dll” and click “Okay”. Once you have clicked “OK” then you will be required to enter the PIN code or the Token Password and then click on the “Sign” button.
How to Upload Income Tax Return - Online by making use of Digital Signature:
- Step 1:Firstly, you need to fill the Income Tax Return form, and generate a file as XML file. Then you must save it on your computer.
- Step 2:Open login page from the website of Income Tax India, and log into private income tax management dashboard to file your IT return.
- Step 3: Find the tab that says “Submit Return” and click on it. Then select the appropriate Year of Assessment.
- Step 4: Select the desired Form from the drop down menu.
- Step 5: The next field will ask “Do you want to digitally sign the file?” click on “Yes” option.
- Step 6: You will be asked to choose between the types of digital signature you want to use for submitting your IT return online. You will be required to choose from “Sign with USB Token” or“Sign with .PFX file”. Select the right option depending on your income tax return filing requirement, and upload the Income Tax Return Form by making use of Digital Signature Certificate and authenticating the same.
Using digital signatures for e-filing the income tax return has numerous benefits and can effectively help in eradicating fraud or misinterpretation, it also makes the citizens responsible for managing their own finances specially with reference to filing their own income tax returns. E-filing income tax return is a faster and efficient process and that also works out for good of income tax department as they can also process the refunds as soon as your file is uploaded.