The digital signature ensures the authenticity of the signer as well as of documents, in other words, a digital signature authenticates electronic documents in a similar manner a handwritten signature authenticates printed documents.
This signature cannot be forged and it assumes that the named person has agreed to the document to which the signature is attached. Moreover, any changes made to the document after it is signed invalidate the signature, thereby protecting against signature forgery and information tampering.
A digital signature is a standard electronic signature. It provides for content integrity and cannot be copied, tampered or altered. It has a standard format. On the other hand, the format of an electronic signature is proprietor specific i.e. there is no standard format for the same. Thus an electronic signature makes copying, tampering and forgery easy.
It is mandatory for companies to file their income tax returns electronically in Form No ITR-6, with digital signatures. Partnership firms, individuals and Hindu Undivided Family (HUFs) subjected to mandatory tax audits is also required to file their income-tax returns (ITR) only electronically using digital signature.
Even if one does not have a digital signature, he can still E-file the income tax returns (ITR) provided he is not subject to mandatory tax audit. However, in this case it is must to physically submit the printed copy of the filled up Form along with the copy of the Provisional Acknowledgement Number of e-Return to Centralised Processing Centre (CPC) Bangalore.
For ROC compliances with Ministry of Company Affairs (MCA) digital Signature is mandatory. If you are a director in one or more companies having DIN and want to file the ROC forms then at first you should step towards acquiring a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC). This will be required to all Directors or authorized representatives of any company and professional who will require to sign ROC forms or documents.
No, if a person/company is in possession of a digital signature for any other application, the same can be used for filing e – returns and is not required to obtain a fresh one.
Digital Signature Certificates are basically of three types namely Class 1, Class 2 & Class 3 each having different level of security.
Class 1: These certificates do not hold any legal validity.
Class 2: Here, the identity of a person is verified against a trusted, pre-verified database.
DSC of Class 2 and Class 3 category issued by a licensed Certifying Authority (CA) needs to be obtained for e-filing on the MCA Portal and for filing income tax return (ITR).
Class 3: This is the highest level where the person needs to present himself or herself in front of a Registration Authority (RA) and prove his/her identity and used for applying tenders, auctions online on-behalf of the company or businesses.
Usually digital signature certificate has a validity of one or two years.
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