How to register Digital Signature Certificate for E-filing



Let's first understand what is e-filing? E-filing or electronic filing means submitting your income tax returns online. There are basically two ways to file your income tax returns. One of them is the conventional offline route and the other is when you file your returns through the internet. E-filing has gained popularity over the years as it is easier, convenient and hassle-free. With digital signature certificates, taxpayers can affix their signatures on the documents to authenticate it.

Under the IT Act, 2000 digital signatures have been given the same status as regular physical signatures.
Documents that are signed digitally are also protected from further alteration or editing of the signed documents. In this technical era, digital signatures play an important role as they not only provide high security but also convenience to its users.

Who provides a digital signature certificate or where to get it?


The Controller of Certifying Authority has provided the power to certain companies that are now the Certification Authorities (CA's) in India for the purpose of issuance of Digital Signature Certificates. These authorities are E-Mudhra, Tata consultancy services, Code Solutions, National Informatics Centre, Safescrypt CA services, IDRBT Certifying Authority

How to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) ?


You can apply for DSC from the Certifying Authorities after fulfilling the following requirements:-

  • Submitting the Digital Signature Certificate form after properly filling it

  • A photo ID proof is required and,

  • An address proof is also required to obtain these certificates

  • In this case, it is important to apply for the right class of DSC, that is one that will serve your purpose. There are usually three classes of digital signature certificates issued by the Certifying Authorities. These are class 1, class 2 and class 3. For the purpose of e-filing class 2 certificates are mandatory

    Note:- These digital signature certificates are to be renewed once they expire after 1 or 2 years. These documents also act as evidence of proof in legal courts.

    Procedure for registering digital signature certificates for E-filing


    This procedure can be divided into two separate segments.

    Registering Digital Signature Certificate with the Income Tax Department


  • Firstly, you need to register your digital signature certificate with the Income Tax Department. Visit the Income Tax India website.

  • After that register yourself with the income tax website.

  • Once you are registered, click on the "LogIn" button and enter your credentials that is your user name and password.

  • Now that you are logged in to the website, go to "My Account" option.

  • In the "My Account" page, select and click on the option that says "Update Digital Certificate". Once you have clicked on this option an automatic download will start. You can face certain prompts and warnings by your browser for the attempted download. Select the "Continue" option.

  • A file from the Income Tax Department website named "Store Certificate" will be downloaded. It will store a copy of your digital signature certificate.

  • At this point, you should remain on your webpage, here select the "Upload your USB Token" option. Tokens are like a pendrive that carries your digital certificate.

  • It will redirect you to a page, here click on the button that says "Select your USB Token Certificate" and then click on "Browse". It will open a selection prompt window.

  • Find and select the file just downloaded.

  • Select the file and click on "Okay". Enter the Pin code (token password) and finally click on "Sign".


  • Uploading your Income Tax Return Online using DSC or Digital Signature Certificate

    Now, that you have registered your DSC on the Income Tax Department website, you can go for E-Filing or income tax returns.

    1. Firstly, fill out your Income Tax Return form and save it on your system as an XML file or with an .XML extension.

    2. Log in to your private income tax management dashboard with your user ID and password on the Income Tax India website.

    3. Click on the button that says "Submit Return", and then select your Assessment Year for which you are submitting the return. It is important to select the appropriate Assessment Year.

    4. Select the form name provided on the page from the drop down menu.
    5. Once you select the form name, it will ask whether you want to digitally sign your file. Click on the "Yes" option.

    6. After that, you will be required to choose the type digital signature you would like to use, that is if you want to sign with a .pfx file or sign with USB Token. Select accordingly and upload the Income Tax Return using the digital signature certificate.


    So, we can see that using a digital signature certificate for E-Filing has a number of benefits including efficiency, reduced amount of frauds, misinterpretation, misrepresentation as the individuals are responsible for managing their finances themselves. Everything processes faster and you don’t have to sign your name many times.

    One of the main benefits of e-filing your taxes is that many tax programs are introduced by the Government to save you the most money. These tax deductions lead to additional savings and also boost tax refund. You can easily access your past data as they are stored in a secure manner and allows for easy access. It saves time and you can get your refund (if any) promptly and directly in your bank account. It shortens the process and instead of waiting, you can opt for e-filing for sooner returns as no one likes to wait for money and it is always better to have it sooner rather than later.