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E-filing Income Tax Returns

18-July-12; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: All

It's that time of the year again when we need to file our income tax returns!

Though some of us can file our returns offline, e-filing brings in a lot of convenience and accuracy. In fact e-filing is compulsory for a lot of us. e.g. for all companies, for all those who come under audit. Further from this year, individuals/HUFs whose income exceeds 10 lakhs also need to compulsorily e-file their returns.

E-filing is a breeze with digital signature certificates. And count on us for all your digital signature certificate needs. Just Download Income Tax Digital Signature Application Form and follow the simple instructions therein to get your digital signature. You can then e-file your returns with ease from the comfort of your home/office. You will not need to courier ITR V.

So what are you waiting for? Get your digital signature today to e-file you returns!

Celebrating World Environment Day

05-June-12; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: All

Today, 5th June is World Environment Day – a day when we need to remind ourselves that we need to take care of the environment and not take it for granted.

All of us can take little little steps to make the environment healthier such as

  • Reducing the use of plastic bags
  • Climbing the steps instead of the lift once in a while
  • Walking or cycling short distances instead of using the car
  • Planting trees
  • Disposing e-waste systematically

Apart from this, use of digital signatures could also help saving trees. Earlier, in the internet there would be problems in legally enforcing identity, authentication and non-repudiation. However come digital signature certificates (DSCs) and this has changed.

Thus we can use DSCs to file income-tax returns online, to sign documents, to sign e-mails, etc. rather than using paper. This will help save some trees!

Use of Digital Signatures in Business

02-June-12; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: All

Today, digital signatures find a prominent place in business. In fact even while starting a business company, it is mandatory for the directors to procure their individual digital signatures. This is because registration on the site for Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is by using digital signatures. (Of course, this does not apply to a simple proprietorship.)

Businesses can also use digital signatures in e-mails. This is to certify that a particular e-mail is signed by particular person only. This adds to the authenticity of the e-mail.

Besides, for companies, filing of RoC docs is by digital signatures. Then filing of income tax returns by companies also requires digital signatures.

For non-companies, it is mandatory for individuals/firms whose accounts are to be audited, to file returns online using digital signatures.

Further, for issuing Form 16 to employees, it is signed by digital signature of the concerned officer in charge.

Thus as we can see, digital signatures have acquired a prominent place in businesses today.


27-May-12; CATEGORY: Technical; LEVEL: Advanced

TNE4GC3W73KZ This post is for technical verification purposes only.

What is an SHA-2 compliant digital signature?

07-May-12; CATEGORY: Technical; LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

Now digital signatures are SHA-2 complaint. So what does this mean? SHA stands for "Secure Hash Algorithm". it is a type of cryptographic hash function.

A cryptographic hash function is an algorithm that encodes a block of data, called the message to a hash value, called the digest or the message digest. A message digest is akin to a seal on a package which signifies that the contents of the package have not been tampered with.

SHA-2 is one in a series of cryptographic hash functions published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS). The predecessor to SHA-2 was SHA-1 in which some flaws were identified and thus a stronger algorithm - SHA-2 was developed.

An SHA-2 compliant digital signature thus is one in which the underlying hash function is SHA-2.

A new hash standard SHA-3 is also under development.

Certifying authorities expected to hike digital signature rates from 1st May, 2012

19-April-12; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: All

The digital signature industry in India is abuzz with unconfirmed news that all certifying authorities will hike rates of various classes of digital signatures from 1st of May, 2012. Till now digital signature were available at nominal rates.

However soon, all certifying authorities will increase the rates. It is expected that the hike will be around 2-fold to 3-fold from the currently prevailing prices.

Understanding the concepts of "public key" and "private key" in a digital signature

12-April-12; CATEGORY: Technical; LEVEL: Beginner

You may have heard that a digital signature works on the alternate use of a public key and a private key. What are these keys? Let's understand.

As the name says, a public key is a key to be shared with others, whereas a private key is for the private use of the owner of the digital signature. Taking a non-technical example, a public key is similar to a post box number which you can share with others for them to send mails to you. Whereas a private key is analogous to your physical key which you keep with yourself and open the post-box with.

Similarly, in the electronic world, a public key helps other encrypt messages (i.e. put it in a certain code form) ) to be seen by the owner of the public key. The owner after receiving the encrypted message decrypts it (i.e. retrieves it from the encoded form back to the normal form) using his private key which only he possesses.

Simple isn't it? Well yes, but a lot of complex dynamics are at play behind this simple process.

Choosing the appropriate digital signature - By Class or by Usage?

23-Feb-12; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate

Many first time users often get confused about which digital signature to use. Some vendors provide digital signatures by usage and some ask for the class. So what is correct?

Well, the most accurate description of a digital signature is by a combination of class, certifying authority and signing/encryption credentials. Though popularly, e-tendering requires Class 3 DSCs, some state governments also accepts Class 2 DSC for e-tendering/e-procurement. Some require Class 3 DSCs. Even in this, some e-tendering portals require DSC with signing and encryption credentials while some require only singing credentials.

Usually, the application/portal requiring usage of a digital signature also specifies the class, certifying authority and signing/encryption credentials required. In case of any doubts, it is better to clarify with the application/portal itself.

Understanding the Significance and Growth of Digital Signatures in India

07-Dec-11; CATEGORY: General; LEVEL: Beginner

Digital Signatures have become very much prevalent in India nowadays. Today digital signature certificates (DSCs) are used in variety of Government purposes such as for Income Tax (I-T), Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Registrar of Company (RoC), e-tendering, trademark filing, etc.

This has got much to do with the MCA21 program initiated by the Government for convenient and authenticated access to MCA services. It’s use in India began picking up from there.

In India, the Government has authorised different certifying authorities to issue digital signatures. These certifying authorities in turn authorise vendors to issue digital signatures on their behalf.

The regulatory body is the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA).

It is to be noted that because of the seriousness and legal impact of the transactions done using a digital signature (as seen above), a digital signature is to be issued only after ascertaining the identity of an individual. Thus as mandated by the Government, certain identity and address proofs are required for obtaining a DSC.