Circular no.ST 52/1/2003
11th March 2003

Government of India
Ministry of Finance & Company Affairs
Department of Revenue
Central Board of Excise and Customs

Sub: E-filing of Service Tax Returns – Reg.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs is getting ready to facilitate electronic filing of ST-3 returns of Service Tax from the month of April, 2003. Initially, this facility will be extended to only select class or group of service tax providers.

2. Broadly the following criteria may be applied for selecting assessees in the initial phase to be implemented in April, 2003.


Assessee should be providing any one of the following services viz.,


Service Category



Telegraph Services






Life Insurance Services



Insurance Auxiliary Services



General Insurance Business



Stock brokers



Advertising Agencies



Courier Services



Banking and Financial



Custom House Agents



Assessee should have the 15 digit STP code (either PAN based or TEMP No.) which is appearing on the SAPS site used by Central Board of Excise & Customs for giving registration to Service Tax assessees.


The assessee should have been indicating his 15 digit STP code in the challans used by him for the period from September, 2002 to March, 2003 for paying Service Tax. (An assessee who has not done this may also opt for filing. But he will have to submit copies of Challans, evidencing payment of duties to the concerned excise formations after indicating his 15 digit STP code on each challan)

3. The process of E-filing will be facilitated by the following sequential steps:-


The assessee who opts for E-filing should file an application to the concerned excise formation before 31-03-2003, in Annexure-I as may be amended from time to time.


The local Commissioner designates an e-mail address and a Telephone No. for receiving queries from trade on any related manner and making arrangement for prompt reply to such mails.


User id and password for the assessee are communicated to him before 10-04-2003 along with technical details required for accessing the relevant site and the procedure for making entries and other guidance as may be necessary.


After 15-04-2003 he downloads form for entering details of ST3 returns and TR6 challans from the central server using internet and enters the necessary details for the concerned return period.


The computer generates a key number which will depend on the STP code, date of filing, value of services declared and tax paid and generates an acknowledgement giving these details which can be printed by the assessee and kept in his records as evidence of having filed the return.


The computer will verify the fact of payment from data obtained from Focal Point Bank. Where details as declared by the assessee is not found the assessee will be contacted.

4. Where an assessee who has opted for E-filing faces any technical difficulty and he is not able to file the return electronically and get the acknowledgement as specified above he may send an E-mail at the address specified by the Commissioner explaining the difficulties and if any reply is not received within 2 days he may send a mail to

5. Since this facility is being tried out for the first time the Central Board of Excise & Customs assures all assessees opting for E-filing of returns that the department will not invoke Section 77 of the Finance Act, 1994 prescribing a maximum penalty of Rs.1000/- for non- filing ST-3 return for delay upto one month from the due date prescribed under the rules for filing such return. Where an assessee after having opted for e-filing does not succeed in such filing and getting the computer generated acknowledgement within 25 days from the due date he should file a manual return as was being done hitherto. It is to be clearly understood that this assurance does not extend to non-payment of tax in time or mis-declaration of the value of taxable services rendered.

6. In this initial phase electronic filing will be optional. Every Commissioner should take initiative to get at least some assessees in his Commissionerate to file return electronically. Based on the experience during April, 2003 guidelines will be revised to bring more assessees under the scheme by September, 2003. The progress in practice of using electronic signatures also will be taken into account before revising this instruction.

7. The field formations may suitably be informed.

8. Trade Notice may be issued before 20-03-2003 for information of the trade.

9. The receipt of this Circular may kindly be acknowledged.

10. Hindi version will follow.

Lalit Kumar
For Under Secretary to the Government of India

Appendix ‘A’ to TN No…………….Dated……………….

The Assistant/Deputy Commissioner
Service Tax.


1) Name of Assessee:

2) Category of service(s):

3) Service Tax Registration No.

4) Email Address:

(Please give a trusted e-mail address to which the Userword and Password for access to the E-filing of the Return can be sent)

5) I/We request that I/We may be permitted to file my ST3 Return electronically. I/We declare that I/We satisfy the conditions of Trade Notice No…………….Dated………… and shall observe the instructions given therein.

I/We undertake to indicate my/our 15 digit STP code in every challan used by me/us for remitting Service Tax in Banks.

If any difficulty is faced in filing the return electronically and get the acknowledgement from the computer within one month from the due date, I/we shall file manual returns as was done hitherto.

Name and signature of the assessee
Designation with Seal.

More Under Service Tax

Posted Under

Category : Service Tax (3394)
Type : Circulars (7809) Notifications/Circulars (32209)

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