As we all are aware that for Assessment Year 2013-14 and onwards various audit reports under section 10(23C), section 10, section 10A, section 12A, section 44AB, section 80-IA, section 80-IB, section 80-IC, section 80-ID, section 80JJA, section 80LA, section 92E or section 115JB of Income Tax Act, 1961 are required to be filed electronically.
However, Income tax Department is still busy with developing a correct version of an offline audit reports filing-utility, called CA Utility. Till now many versions have been launched withdrawing each time the previous ones. As of now PR-7 is the latest available version.
What are the attachments required to be submitted?
Whereas, the attachment panel that appear at the Uploading window requires:
Now, the point of ambiguity is with respect of:
What is the right format for a valid attachment?
Let us remember that as per Information Technology Act, 2000, any document which has been digitally signed has the same legal validity as physically signed document, provided it has been signed via a Digital Signature Certificate issued by a licensed Certifying Authority. The very preamble of the Act together with section together with its sections makes it very clear.
1. Attachment in MS Word or MS Excel formats signed digitally and zipped
2. Attachment in PDF formats signed digitally.
Note that one should not attempt to convert digitally signed MS Word 2007 or MS Excel 2007 into pdf formats. The converted pdf documents shall not be considered as digitally signed as in case of the original documents.
Instead, Adobe Acrobat software should be used to edit any converted pdf files to add signature to it. It should be noted that that the documents should contain the digital signature of both, the assessee and the auditor.
Adobe Acrobat Standard XI software which is priced at Rs. 20638/- can be used to add digital signatures to any pdf file. The price it very much justified in view of the ease and divided cost per report would be just Rs. 458.22 (for 45 Tax audit reports).
Learn how to add digital signature to pdf files. See the Tutorial Video as under:
4. Attachment of unsigned PDF documents with Sd/- marking
However for Form 3CA or 3CD, since the counter digital signature of the assessee authenticating the attachments is not required, at the point of uploading, this method could not get acceptance subject to approval by Income Tax Department.
Therefore pending any clarification by Income tax Department, I would suggest the second and third methods out of four listed above for uploading attachments to Form 3CA or Form 3CD.
A request for clarification has already been filed with Dirctor I. Tax (Systems) under RTI Act. Application filed under RTI and replies received so far Click to read RTI >>
ICAI FAQ on e-filing of Tax Audit Report
ICAI has come up with a FAQ on efiling of Tax Audit Report .It is a welcome step. However as per FAQ it has been stated that it has been developed by Direct Taxes Committee of ICAI in consultation with the Officials of Directorate of Income-Tax (Systems). Para 3 of the FAQ states that Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss Account in Word, Excel Format, etc signed as "sd/-" can be converted in to pdf file and uploaded on the portal.
It is notable that Directorate of Income-Tax (Systems) replying under RTI has expressed as having no information with resepect to many questions on e-filing of Tax Audit report.
Further, the FAQ hosted by ICAI is not appearing at Income Tax Website. Under these circumstances who would take the responsibility if an Income tax official later on issues notice of penalty treating such sd/ wriiten financial statements as non furnishing of audit report as required under section 44AB?
Therefore, I would still stick to my earlier conclusion and advise the same until the said FAQ is adopted and hosted by Income Tax also.