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MOUs with ICAI/ICWAI/ICSI regarding ACES Certified Facilitation Centre extended upto 31-3-2013 (see CFC link above for details)                   e-File your Central Excise & Service Tax returns due in April 2011, in time to avoid rush during peak hours                   You can now download GAR 7 Challan form for payment of Central Excise Duty and Service Tax (See Downloads Section)                   ACES CFCs setup in 736 cities across India ( For details click on CFC link above)                   Central Excise & Service Tax Assessees, who are yet to provide their e-mail IDs to the Department are requested to provide the same to their jurisdictional officers to register with ACES
Service Tax Frequent Asked Questions



Returns FAQs


Who can I file the statutory returns using ACES (Automation of Central Excise and Service tax) application?
Assessees registered with ACES application and with department (Central Excise/Service Tax) can access the online facility to file returns that match their profile (ER-1 / ER-3 / ER-4 / ER-5 / ER-6 / Dealer return OR ST-3) and submit the same to the system.

What are the various returns I can file online?
The various types of returns that can be filed online are as follows :-
Type of Return Periodicity Due Date For Filing Who Can File
ER-1 Monthly 10th Manufacturers of Central Excise, other than those who are required or entitled to file ER-2 or ER-3 returns
ER-2 Monthly 10th Manufacturers who are 100% EOUs(Export Oriented Units) and are removing goods into the domestic tariff area
ER-> Quaterly 20th of completed quarter Manufacturers availing exemption on the basis of value of their annual clearance, manufacturer of processed yarn, unprocessed fabrics falling under chapters 50 through 55,58 or 60 of the Central Excise Tariff or manufacturers of readymade garments.
ER-4 Yearly 30th November Annual Financial information statement to be submitted by manufacturers who paid duty of excise more than Rs.One crore in the preceding financial year.
ER-5 Yearly 30th April Annual return of information relating to principal inputs used in the manufacture of finished goods. Filed by manufacturers who paid duty of excise more than Rs. One crore in the preceding financial year
ER-6 Monthly 10th Monthly return of information relating to principal inputs on which cenvat credit was availed. Filed by manufacturers who paid duty of excise in excess of Rs.One crore in the preceding financial year.
Dealer Quaterly 15th of month succeeding completed quarter Filed by registered first stage and second stage dealers giving details of the invoices issued by them and documents based on which credit passed on.
ST-3 Half Yearly 25th April/25th October Filed by Service Tax assessees


How can I file my returns through ACES ?
You can file your returns online after logging into ACES using your user-id and password. You can also prepare your return off-line using Excel Downloadable Utility and then upload the .XML file so generated.

FAQs on filing of returns using web-form (on-line)


How can I e-file the return on-line?
After logging into the ACES system, click on the “RET” module displayed in the menu item at home page. Select “File return” option. Sub-menu for different types of returns namely, “ER-1”, “ER-2”, “ER-3”, “ER-4”, “ER-5”, “ER-6”,“Dealer return” OR ST-3 will be displayed. Select the required option. Navigation path is
Login as Assessee --> RET --> File Returns --> ER-1
Login as Assessee --> RET --> Fill ST-3 --> Fill
After filling all the details, in the last page click on “SAVE” button. A “confirmation view” screen will display the return in its entirety. Verify for the correctness of details entered. Once it is confirmed that the entered details are in order, click on “SUBMIT” button.
If any modification is required, click on “MODIFY” button. The first entry screen will be displayed. Modification can be carried out in all fields. If it is desired that the details are to be entered afresh click on “CANCEL”button.


In case of disruption while entering my return, is it possible for me to retrieve the entered details and complete the return at a later point of time or Is it necessary that I have to fill and file the return at one go?
In case of Central Excise Returns (ER-1), the return will get partially saved in case of disconnection (there is no explicit save button for partial save). The return partially saved can be retrieved and completed using “Complete return” available in “RET” menu.
In case of ST-3, there is a provision to save the return explicitly (before submission). The returns can be completed partially/fully using ”Amend return” option in “RET” menu.


How to navigate between fields/pages on the screen?
Navigation would be as follows:
(i) Moving across fields: After entry in the desired field, tab key can be used. On pressing tab, you will be taken to next field of the section for data entry.
(ii) Moving across pages: After you have filled the data in a page, you can move to the next page by clicking “Next” button. On clicking this button, the system will validate all the entries on the page and lead you to the next sheet (if the data is filled properly on the page or when you want to proceed despite warnings in case of minor errors). Similarly, “Previous” button can be used for moving to a previous page for the purpose of view or correction.

How to fill up the data in e-return?
a) All the fields marked with asterisk (*) are mandatory and the same are to be filled before proceeding further.
b) Wherever required, data must be in correct format. For example
(i) Challan no to be a 20 digit number consisting of, 7 digit BSR code, 8 digit date of tender in the format “ddmmyyyy” and 5 digit challan no. For example, “12345670112200812345”
(ii) Wherever columns are available for providing Quantity, decimals upto two places only are allowed.
(iii) Columns where Amount is to be provided, only whole number is allowed.


How to Add or Delete Rows in various screens?
The procedure is as follows:
(i) Adding new rows: Sections such as “Details of the manufacture, clearance and duty payable” allow you to enter multiple rows of data in a tabular form. You can click on “Add” button to add more rows. To add more than one row, you must have filled data in the mandatory fields of the previous row.
(ii) Delete rows: Rows that have been added in the section, can be removed by checking the “select” box(es) and clicking “Delete”. All rows cannot be deleted since atleast a minimum of one row of details should be present.

When should the check box for “NIL Return” be used ?
When an assessee does not have any stock of excisable finished goods, any PLA/CENVAT credit balance, when during a month, there is no manufacture and clearance of any excisable goods etc. i.e. when there is nothing to declare to the department for the month, this can be used. Once the “NIL” return check box is checked, after providing the year and month of the return, the system will take you to the last screen of the return to fill in the details like place etc. and submit the return with the self assessment memorandum.

I have an opening balance of Rs.65,000 in PLA, now I have utilized Rs.55,000 for some payment under Other Payments - Arrears. But the system is asking me to enter the Challan No., Date and BSR Code against this entry in the Other Payments, and also it is expecting me to enter the challan number even though the payment is through Account current and not Credit Account. Please clarify.
If the Assessee is paying through Account Current he has to enter the Challan No, Date and BSR Code which are mandatory fields. If the Assessee has an opening balance in that case he will have to mention the previous Challan details.

How to enter multiple Challans in ER-1/ ER-3?
Multiple Challans can be entered in the last section (Challan Details) of ER-1/ ER-3.

While filling return an error message is displayed by the system, what should I do?
Error messages are categorized into two categories: Show stopper and Warning.
(i) Show stoppers: These are major errors and you cannot proceed without correcting them e.g. Mandatory field such as month of the return is left blank or when CETSH entered is wrong.
(ii) Warnings: These are minor errors. If you are sure that the entered data is correct, you can proceed with these errors. For e.g. calculated duty payable not matching with the duty payable as mentioned in the return.

What are the comments in red at the top of the confirmation page for my return?
The comments in red at the top of the confirmation page shows the errors found in the Return. These issues can be corrected by assessee by modifying the return details before submission.

What if I am not able to correct the issues as highlighted in the last page of the return?
If you do not correct the issues marked in red, then these returns with errors like “Challan Number mentioned does not exist in the database” or “Provisional Assessment Order No. is not valid” etc. are marked for Review & Correction process. Such returns (ER-1, ER-2 and ER-3 only) are marked to Range Superintendent, who will review the return and correct the errors found in the return after due consultation with you (assessee).



In Dealer Return, after completing all information and clicking on Next button, an error message appears “MONTH YEAR WHICH YOU ARE FILING RETURN, RECORD ALREADY EXISTS”. Please help.
This error will occur if the user has already submitted the Return for the mentioned month and year. In ACES, once user has submitted return for a particular month and year, he will not be able to submit the return again for the same month and year.

How will I know if I have filled my returns correctly?
In ACES you can view and verify the return submitted by you using
RET--> List Original Return (in case of Central Excise)
RET--> View ST-3 (in case of Service Tax)


How can I amend my ER-5? Can I amend this multiple times?
You can amend your ER-5 return through RET --> Amend Returns --> ER5. You can amend ER-5 return multiple times latest by 30th November of current financial year for which ER-5 return was filed.

How do I amend my saved ST-3 Return?
You can access saved ST-3 Return for amendment by clicking on Amend ST-3 option of Fill ST-3 submenu under RET menu. Once ST-3 Return is submitted in ACES the return cannot be amended.

How do I revise my ST-3 Return?
You can revise your ST-3 return once within 90 days after filing the original return, by clicking on Revise ST-3 option of Fill ST-3 submenu under RET menu.

Will I get an acknowledgment after filing the return?
On the successful submission of a return, an acknowledgement with a number in the format “registration number_Type of return_Month and Year of the return” will be shown. For example, for the ER-1 return filed for the month of December, 2009 by an assessee having registration no AAABC7865HXM001, the number “AAABC7865HXM001_ER1_122009” is generated as acknowledgement. This number becomes a reference number (Source Document number) for subsequent correspondences with the department in respect of the return.

FAQs on filing of returns using EXCEL downloadable Utility


What is downloadable utility?
In ACES the Assessee can file his returns online by filling up the web-form or by using downloadable utility available in ACES website. Downloadable utility is an offline utility which can be downloaded, filled off-line and submitted on-line. The generated XML file should be uploaded into ACES.



What are the pre-requisites for filling data in this utility?
Following are prerequisites for filing data in offline utility:
1. The version of Microsoft Excel in your system should be Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and above
2. Make sure that you have downloaded the latest Excel Utility from ACES website / application to your local system
3. Please enable the Macros (if disabled) as per the following instructions:
- On the Tools menu, point to Macro, and then click Security.
- Click on either Medium or High to select the 'Security Level'.
- On the Trusted Publishers tab, select the Trust all installed add-ins and templates check box.
Please make sure that your System Date is correct.

Do I need to download utility each time I file a return or use the earlier one downloaded?
Yes, it is advisable that you download the latest version of utility from the ACES website before filling the same.

Give me an overview of offline utility for ER-1.
ER-1 is monthly return for production and removal of goods and other relevant particulars including CENVAT credit. The downloadable excel utility can be used for creating the XML file for e-filing of your return. This Utility is an Excel Workbook that consists of five worksheets and is dynamic.
E-filing consist of two sub process
(i) firstly generation of xml file of the ER-1 Return, and
(ii) uploading of generated xml file to ACES application.

What is the Structure of the Excel workbook in the offline utility for ER-1?
Filling of ER-1 consists of following five worksheets initially: "Return", "Paid", "CENVAT", "Other - Payments" and "Challan". The name of each sheet is displayed in the tab at the bottom of the worksheet."
(i) The sheets for entering duty payable data are added dynamically by the excel utility depending on the number of clearances entered. The sheets are named as "Payable (1)" , "Payable (2)" etc. The Utility will add new sheets for Payable dynamically when you enter data for production and clearance on sheet "Return".
(i) The sheet for entering data for duty head wise breakup of arrears are also added dynamically e.g. "ARREAR (1)" ,"ARREAR (2)" etc.

What are the steps for filing Return through offline utility?
The steps are as follows:
1. Fill up the Return data: Navigate to each field of every section in the sheet to provide applicable data in correct format. (Formats will get reflected while filling data.)
2. Validating Sheets: Click on the ''Validate this sheet" button to ensure that the sheet has been properly filled and also data has been furnished in proper format. If there are some errors on the sheet, the Utility will prompt you about the same. In such cases, the offline utility will not allow you to proceed further until you rectify the errors.
3. Generate XML: There is "Validate Return and Submit" button on last sheet "Challan" for validating all the entries in your return. If you click on this button, Utility will validate all the sheets one by one and also perform inter-sheet validations. After validation, an XML will be generated. In case there is some error identified on some sheet, the utility will prompt you about the same and lead you to the respective sheet(s).
4. Both files are saved in the same folder of your system where Efiling Utility is placed/ saved (while downloading the e-filing utility).
5. Upload XML file to ACES application: For uploading the XML generated by the E-filing Utility, login to ACES application and access menu option to upload generated xml file of Return. On Upload screen provide the required information and browse to select the relevant XML file and submit the form.

How do I file NIL return in offline utility?
There is an Option for NIL Return in the first sheet. In case you are filing a NIL Return then change this option to "Yes". On selection Yes, utility will ask you to freeze the option and then delete all the sheets that are not applicable.


How do I get the form as an LTU assessee in offline utility?
There is an Option for LTU in the first sheet. If you are filing return as LTU (Large Tax Paying Unit) then change/ check/ tick the "Yes" option.



How do I fill up my ER-1 return using offline utility?
You can fill up your ER-1 return in the following manner:
a. You can use ER-1 Excel Utility for filing the return of Present or Past months.
b. All the Fields marked with asterisk (*) are mandatory. You have to provide data for these fields. If mandatory field is left empty, then Utility will not allow you to proceed further for generating XML.
c. You are not allowed to enter data in the Grey Cells.
d. Data provided must be in correct format, otherwise Utility will not allow you to proceed further for generating XML.
e. Moving through the cells: After you have reached the desired cell, you can click on the tab keyboard button. On clicking tab, utility will take you to the next cell of the section for data entry.
f. Moving through the sheets: After you have filled the data in a sheet you can move to the next sheet by clicking the ""Next"" button. On clicking this button utility will validate all the entries on the sheet and lead you to the next sheet if the data is filled properly on the sheet. In case there is some error in your sheet, the utility will prompt you the error messages and will not allow to proceed till these errors are corrected.
g. Adding new rows:
(i) Sections such as DETAILS OF THE MANUFACTURE, CLEARANCE AND DUTY PAYABLE allow you to enter as much data in a tabular form. You can Click on "Add Row" to add more rows.
(ii) To add more than one row you must fill data in the mandatory fields of the previous row.
(iii) If you have added a new row then Utility will add new "Payable" sheet for filling the details of duty payable.
h. Delete Last row: Rows that has been added in section DETAILS OF RECEIPT AND CONSUMPTION OF PRINCIPAL INPUTS can be removed by clicking the button "Delete Last Row". If you have deleted a row then respective Payable sheet will also get deleted. For e.g. If you have deleted second row then Payable (2) sheet will also be deleted.
Note- while filling tabular data, you must fill the mandatory fields in the added rows also, otherwise Utility will not allow you to proceed further for generating XML.
i. Filling data for “Return" sheet:
(i) Return Period: Enter the month and Year for which you are filing the return.
(ii) Registration details: Enter Registration number and name and ensure that it is correct.
j. Details of manufacture and clearance and duty payable:
(i) Provide the details like CETSH, Unit of quantity etc.
(ii) Please select the value for field CETSH No. from the dropdown very carefully. As you select the CETSH in the first row, the Utility will ask you to freeze the option and add new sheet for filling details of "Duty Payable". The option once frozen cannot be changed.
(iii) There is provision for adding new row in clearance details. For adding new row fill all the details in previous row and click on Add Row button. The utility will add new Payable sheet for everyCETSH entered on Return sheeT.
k. Filling data for "Payable" sheet: Enter the details of duty payable like Duty Head, Notification Details, Rate of duty, Duty payable and Provisional AssessmentNumber (if any).
l. Filling data for “Paid” sheet:
(ii) DETAILS OF DUTY PAID ON EXCISABLE GOODS: Enter the details of duty paid on excisable goods. Note that only those duty heads allowed here which are declared in Payable sheets.
(iii) ABSTRACT OF ACCOUNT-CURRENT (CASH PAYMENT): All the fields are self-explanatory. Provide the details of cash payment made during the month.
m. Filling data on “CENVAT” sheet: All the fields are self-explanatory. This is the sheet to enter the details of CENVAT credit taken and utilized during the month of filing the return.
n. “Other-Payments" Sheet: If some other payments were made during the month then provide the details on this sheet . The payment type may be ""ARREARS"",""INTEREST"" and ""MISCELLANEOUS""."
Please select the value for field Payment in SECTION ARREAR very carefully. As you select the option, the Utility will ask you to freeze the option and add new sheet for filling duty head wise breakup of Arrears. The option once frozen cannot be changed. If there is no payment made then you can leave this sheet blank and proceed to the next sheet.
o. “ARREAR" sheets: This sheet is added by the utility if Arrear payments details are filled on the sheet "Other-Payment". Please provide the duty head wise breakup of payments made for arrears.There is provision for adding new row in Duty head wise breakup. For adding new row fill all the details in previous row and click on Add Row button.
p. "Challan" sheet:
(i) You can enter the details of challan, Invoice numbers, transfer challan details (if any), date and place. There is column for entering Remarks also which is optional.
(ii) After filling all the sheets, click on the button "Validate Return & Submit" to generate XML of your Return.

In ST-3 Offline Utility when I enter premises code, an error appears “Premises code Number accepts only 10 digits alphanumeric characters”. Please help.
Please ensure that you enter 10 characters premises code. System does not allow less than or more than 10 characters code. This code can be alphanumeric (all numeric, all alphabetic or alphanumeric). The structure of 10 characters premises code is [Location Code of 6 characters + 4 alphanumeric characters]. User can check the premises code through RET---> Fill ST-3 --> Fill (Check premises code here).

How to generate XML file after filling the sheets in the offline utility?
Once all relevant fields of the sheet have been filled up, clicking on "Validate Return and Submit" button will again validate all the sheets and XML will be generated if data is found OK.
1. After generating the XML, the Utility will prompt you the name and location of the files saved
2. The name of the XML file that has been generated by the system will be the Registration Number_Date_StampTime.xml e.g. AAABC7865HXM001_131200834021PM.xml or AAGPI2894EXD001_24-Jun-0910603PM.xml

How do I upload my offline return?
You can browse and upload offline return (XML file) by logging into ACES with your user-id and password and navigating in the ACES website in the following manner:
RET--> eFiling for Returns -->Upload File (In case of ER-3)
RET--> eFiling-->Upload File (In case of ST-3)


What does the “status of returns” mean?
Status of returns implies the status of offline returns uploaded into the system. Status of returns submitted through offline utility can be either Uploaded or Filed or Rejected. You can view the status of your return submitted using offline utility through:
RET--> eFiling for Returns--> View Status (In case of CE)
RET--> eFiling --> View Status (In case of ST)


When will I know whether my uploaded return is accepted or rejected by ACES?
Returns submitted through offline utility can have follows status:
- Uploaded: Denotes that return is uploaded and under processing by the system. You should view again after some time
- Filed: Denotes that uploaded return is accepted by the system
- Rejected: Denotes that the return could not be processed due to errors and is rejected and the assessee return is not filed with the department in this case
The result of the acceptance or otherwise of the return filed off line will be known within one business day at present.

When are offline returns rejected?
Returns would not be accepted due to some technical errors validated by the system. For example, such errors may be wrong mention of premise code, mismatch of registration numbers, mismatch of period of return filed etc.



What to do when my return is rejected?
Errors due to which return is rejected are displayed when you click on hyperlink on rejected return. Please also look into the error the systems shows for the rejection of the return and correct the error. If required, returns can be corrected and then new xml file generated and uploaded again.

While uploading the XML file in ACES, an error appeared "File corrupt. Regenerate and upload the file again". Since regenerating the XML is time consuming task, please help how we can regenerate with less effort?
This error appears only when user has tampered XML file generated by the utility. Please ensure that you upload the original XML file generated by the utility without tampering/opening for modification.

While clicking on "Validate & Submit" button on worksheet on eFiling Dealer Return, it says 'Compile error in hidden module: Module 5' and system does not generate the XML to be uploaded?
This error will not occur if the user is using Microsoft Office Excel 2003 version or above

FAQs on on-line Duty Payment

How I can pay duty online?
You can pay your duty through e-payment option on ACES homepage provided you have net-banking account with any of the banks listed in the ACES website. The listed banks will be displayed in a separate page once you click on e-payment option in ACES homepage. By clicking “Please click here” hyperlink in this page you will be taken to e-payment gateway through which you can make e-payment.

I tried paying the service tax through e-payment mode available in ACES homepage. However found that the organization details are not getting populated in the Form. Please clarify whether the EASIEST server is linked to the ACES server?
e-Payment link on ACES website only redirects the users to NSDL website to make e-payments and is only a facility provided for the ease of the assessee. In case any issues with the NSDL website, please contact the respective helpdesk mentioned in the concerned NSDL website.


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