Any company carrying out IT/ ITES exports through ‘Data Communication links’ needs to submit the Softex Form for the said export. Interestingly, the term ‘Data Communication Links’ is not specifically defined. Taking the general meaning of the same, here, it means a virtual circuit that connects two or more devices for the purpose of data transmission.

The present article highlights the background of the emergence of Softex; the procedure for obtaining STPI registration and the procedure for filing Softex along with FAQs.

SOFTEX Form for declaration of Software Exports

Background of the emergence of Softex-

Export, simply, means sending/ transferring goods/ services or both to places outside India. Exports relating to physical goods and services can easily be monitored at a port of shipping which is administered by the Central Customs department.

Coming to the software, the same can be transmitted in physical form (like CD, DVD, magnetic tapes etc.) and online form through a data communication link. Here, monitoring of physical export form of software (i.e., exports via CD, DVD etc.) is pretty easy as the same is treated as the physical goods.

However, the problem was with administration/ tracking of export through the virtual data communication link. In order to monitor the same, the Indian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, in 1991, formed a society called STPI (i.e., Software Technology Parks of India).

Accordingly, the Softex form was introduced to certify the value of such software exports. Instead, of the Central Customs Department, the same is administrated by the STPI designated authority.

Obtaining STPI registration-

Notably, STPI registration is mandatory for obtaining the Softex certificate. STP members need to obtain STPI registration under the ‘STP’ category. Whereas, non-STP members can obtain STPI registration under the ‘Non-STP’ category.

Basic steps for obtaining primary STPI registration are described hereunder-

STEP 1 – Visit https://stpionline.stpi.in/unit/jindex.php.

STEP 2 – Click ‘I want to register as New Unit’.

STEP 3 – Provide the following details-

  • Select ‘Organisation Type’ from the drop-down list.
  • Select ‘STPI Centre’ from the drop-down list.
  • Enter Organisation Name, Contact Person, Contact Person Mobile Number, Contact Person Email ID and Comment, if any.

STEP 4 – Enter Captcha.

STEP 5 – Click Register.

By following the above steps, the registrant will get Login ID and Password on the registered mail ID.

Follow the below steps, post-receipt of Login ID and Password-

STEP 1 – Visit https://stpionline.stpi.in/unit/jindex.

STEP 2 – Enter ‘Username’ and ‘Password’. Enter the Captcha and click ‘Login’.

STEP 3 – Enter ‘New Password’, ‘Confirm New Password’ and Captcha. Click SAVE.

STEP 4 – Select the appropriate scheme type i.e., STP or EHTP or Non-STP etc.

STEP 5 – Form will appear, based on the scheme type selected.

STEP 6 – Fill up the appropriate details and click ‘Save’.

STEP 7 – Fill up ‘Application Fee’ details and submit the application by clicking ‘Final Submit Application’.

Filing of Softex-

Procedure for filing of Softex Form is divided into major three parts i.e., generation of Softex number; online filing of Softex Form and submission of Softex Form for certification. The procedure to be followed for completion of all the three parts is described hereunder-

1. Generation of Softex Number-

STEP 1 – Visit site https://www.rbi.org.in/home.aspx.

STEP 2 – Click ‘Forms’.

STEP 3 – Select ‘Foreign Exchange Management Act Forms’.

STEP 4 – Under ‘For Printing EDF/ SOFTEX Form No.’ click on ‘Click Here’.

STEP 5 – Provide/ select all the following details and click submit-

  • First Name,
  • IECode,
  • Address,
  • Telephone No.,
  • Email ID,
  • Fax,
  • Type of Export (Select from the drop-down list),
  • Mode of Export (Select from the drop-down list),
  • Form No. (Select ‘single’ or ‘bulk’ from the drop-down list),
  • Mention Number of Forms,

Enter the verification code.

2. Online filing of Softex Form-

  • Post-generation of Softex Number, one should fill up the online Softex Form. The form is available on the STPI website.
  • Notably, the Softex Form is to be filed within 30 days from the date of invoice or from the date of the last invoice raised in a month.

3. Submission of Softex Form for certification-

  • The applicant is required to download a copy of the Softex Form application.
  • The downloaded copy of the Softex Form application needs to be digitally signed.
  • The signed copy needs to be submitted to the STPI officer for certification.

FAQs-

1. Who needs to get Softex Form?

Software company engaged in exporting through virtual data communication link is required to get Softex Form.

It is important to note that when the software is transmitting the data physically it will be treated as physical export and accordingly Softex Form is not required for the same. However, Softex Form is required only for those exports which is transmitted through virtual circuit.

2. Are small service exports of hosting, designing, development, advertisement also need to get a Softex Form?

Any company, whether small or big, engaged in exporting software data communication link via virtual mode is required to get a Softex Form.

3. What is minimum requirement of Softex Form?

For filling the Softex Form, the minimum requirement is to obtain registration under STPI either as STPI member or as non-STPI member.

4. What is procedure for obtaining Softex certificate?

Simplified procedure for obtaining Softex Certificate is-

  • Obtain registration under STPI,
  • Generate Softex number,
  • File the Softex form via online mode, and
  • Submit a copy of the Softex Form application to STPI officer.

5. What are the requirements and cost for registration in STPI as non-member for small companies?

Any private limited company or public limited company or partnership firm or proprietorship which are into development of Export-oriented Computer Software/ IT enabled services can register as ‘Non-STPI unit’ under STPI. Such registration is mainly required to file ‘Softex’.

For obtaining ‘Non-STPI’ unit registration, one needs to pay INR 1,000 + applicable GST as cost of registration.

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3 Comments

  1. Panakj Jaiswal says:

    Good read and insightful, few Q I have::

    1. Is it mandatory to file quarterly balance sheet etc to STPI

    2. Service Charges is based on Export turn over or total turnover , can you please give insight for same

    3. If some company not doing the same till now than they have start as fresh or they need to pay any penalty and register from past years

    Best,

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