The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). Giving this information here today the President of ICAI, Shri Amarjit Chopra, said that under it the practicing members of ICAI will provide facility of e-filing of returns and documents to Central Excise and Service Tax assessees through Certified Facilitation Centres (CFCs). A CFC is a facility, other than the physical front offices or Facilitation centres of CBEC, which will be set up and operated by practicing Chartered Accountants in individual capacity or as proprietor or firm. With this the ICAI has become a facilitator of Finance Ministry’s e-initiative.

CBEC had introduced ‘Automation of Central Excise and Service Tax’ (ACES) programme to improve tax-payer services. ACES is a centralized web based application which enables the assessees to electronically interface with the department. It aims to reduce paperwork, transaction costs and increase accountability, efficiency and transparency.

This initiative will immensely help all those assessees who may not have the requisite IT infrastructure / resources, to use ACES. An assessee is required to pay nominal fixed fees (maximum Rs 600/- for entering return data and Rs.200/-per return for uploading returns with ACES) for availing services of CFCs.

With this MOU, the members can not only provide services as envisaged, but would also provide other services on request of the assesses. It opens a new professional avenue for the Members as they can now provide services to the assessees of Central Excise and Service Tax in filing their returns and other documents electronically under ACES.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India), functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, is in the process of setting up utility for online filing of application by members to obtain certificate under the scheme whereupon CBEC will provide user name and password to members to activate the facility. Members of the ICAI are spread across the country and this initiative will facilitate e-filing of returns and documents by assessees in every part of the country.

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