A digital signature is like a physical signature you’d sign on the back of a check, but it works online, with computers and other devices. A person can use their digital signature to prove that they sent something, or digitally sign off on something, in the same way that you can use your physical signature to prove or sign off on something in your life. Most importantly, when you see someone’s digital signature attached to an email or document you receive, you know that the sender isn’t lying about who they are or whether they actually sent it in the first place. What the heck is a digital signature?
What does it do?
A digital signature performs two important functions. First, it validates your identity (i.e., you are who you say you are). Second, it verifies that something can’t be altered in transit, which provides proof of origin and integrity of an electronic document. While it might sound complicated, signing documents electronically is very easy to do and could save your company a lot of time and money as well as ensure important documents reach their intended recipients securely. Here’s how
Why do I need it?
You need it because you’re going to be paying taxes online. A lot of people, who are not particularly tech-savvy, struggle with understanding GST and its entire concept because there are several terms that require clarification. However, once you take your time and understand what GST entails, it will be easy for you to comply with tax payment obligations.
How do I apply for it?
The Digital Signature Authority of India has made it easier to apply for your GST Digital Signature. Go to www.dsai.gov.in, where you can register and submit an application electronically in just three easy steps. (To learn more about e-filing or registering for an invoice number, visit www.gstportal.gov.in/e-Filing.) It’s that simple!
How will it help me file my return online if I don’t have a PAN card?
The Ministry of Finance has mandated that all taxpayers should file their income tax returns online by June 30. While it’s great to see Digital India maturing at warp speed, you might have been wondering how do I file my income tax return if I don’t have a PAN card and what on earth is a digital signature! Well, let me explain…
Can I apply for this before filing my income tax return (ITR)?
No, you need to have filed your income tax return first before applying for a digital signature. Only after you have been allotted a GSTIN (GST Identification Number) can you sign up for e-Filing. You should also make sure that your IT Returns are in order with no pending returns or corrections before applying for your digital ID. Please note that an Assessee Identification Number (Aadhaar) is not enough to apply for an e-Signature.
Do I need an Aadhaar card to apply for this online service?
As of now, a physical address proof is required while applying for any online service. Since you don’t have an Aadhaar card, you will have to fill out your details and upload a scanned copy of your PAN card. However, once you get an Aadhaar card number, it will be mandatory to link it with your PAN card in order to avail any government or financial service online.
Do I still need to send in physical signatures with my tax filings after getting the digital signature registered with the government portal?
The short answer is no. If you get your digital signatures registered with GSTN, you will not have to send in physical signatures with your tax filings. However, there are still certain situations where it may be required. More on that below.