You receive and send a lot of electronic documents on a regular basis like e-mails, text files, and spreadsheets. But how do you ensure its authenticity? One needs to be sure that the documents they receive are from a trusted source and are not altered in any manner. There must be some form of assurance of the identity of the sender and origin of the document. So, how do you know a document is genuine? With the help of a Digital Signature Certificate! Yes! You heard it right.
What is a Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)?
A Digital Signature Certificate or DSC is an electronic document with a digital signature, its public key and other details such as the name and E-mail address of the sender along with the date on which the DSC was issued and the name of the Certifying Authority.
Note: Certifying Authorities are the entities that issue Digital Certificates for validation of the users electronically. The Controller of Certifying Authority (CCA) has the responsibility of authorizing entities with the task of issuing Digital Signature Certificates. Under Section 17 of the IT Act, the Central Government appoints the CCA.
What are the types of Digital Signature Certificates in India?
The Digital Signature Certificates are used by individuals and different companies to maintain the privacy and security of the information they exchange electronically. However, there are different types of digital signature certificates required for different type of purposes. Let’s take a look at what are they:
- Class I Digital Certificate – These certificates are used to validate the name and contact details like the e-mail address of the users. Such digital signatures are usually issued to private subscribers.
- Class II Digital Certificate – These certificates are issued to individuals & people in different companies who hold the authority of e-filing for Income Tax Returns, Registrar of Companies (ROC) and GST Returns, etc.
- Class III Digital Certificate – These are mandatory for people and organizations who are involved in online auctions and tenders. These digital signature certificates have the highest level of encryption. To issue them, a person has to be physically present before the Certifying Authorities.
- DGFT Digital Certificate – This class of DSC is issued by people who run export and import business. It is used when they fill out applications for license approval. Depending upon the purpose of your work and the kind of information you want to exchange online, choose the DSC you need.
[Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the latest addition to Indian Tax Laws. Read our article on “GST Registration Process – Step by Step Guide“ to know more about GST and its compliance]
Apart from classes, the DSCs can be classified according to the following categories as well.
- Signature Certificate – This kind of DSC is required for signing a document only. You would need it while Income Tax filing, GST Returns, etc.
- Encryption Certificate – Like a Class III DSC, you need this kind while involving yourself in e-tendering. While you submit different documents on the tender portals etc., you will need an Encryption Certificate.
- Signature & Encryption Certificate – Combining the best aspects of the two kinds, this type of DSC involves the features of both the signature and encryption certificates.
Bust a Myth: It is a myth that a person cannot issue two Digital Signature Certificates. The truth is an individual can issue two of them, one for personal use and the other for official purposes.
So, don’t you think the digital certificates have entirely revolutionized the way you exchange information online? You have to create digital signature online with the help of the trusted authorities and exchange all kinds of information without worrying about their security.
All you need to do is find a suitable and trusted provider who can create digital signature online for you.
How to apply for a Digital Signature Certificate?
In order to obtain a Digital Signature Certificate, you need to register for it, and there are certain documents required for doing so like a passport size photo, Photo ID proof and Photo Address Proof, etc. If you want a digital signature certificate for an organization, you would need the bank details & Registration Certificate of the same as well.
[PAN (Permanent Account Number) Card is one of the important legal documents of an Indian Citizen. Read our article on “How to Apply for PAN Card Online | Get E-PAN Card within Minutes” to know more]
- First off, you would need to fill out the digital signature application form and provide details like the class of DSC you need, the validity period, the type of DSC, name, address, identity proof and declaration, etc. An attesting officer must attest your ID proof and address proof.
- After filling in all the details, you would need to attach your passport size photo and sign under the declaration.
- Once you’re done, you must keep a copy of the duly filled in digital signature application form.
- You also need to pay a fee to the authority providing you the service of creating digital signatures online. The amount you need to pay differs from one entity to the other.
After following all these steps, the digital signature certificate provider will submit all your documents to the Certifying Authorities. After a few working days, you will have your registered DSC with you.
Note: The Digital Signature Certificates have a validity period which is usually 1 or 2 years. While applying for a DSC, you can choose whether you want it for a year or two. Once the validity expires, you can renew it as well.
What is the Cost structure of Digital Signature Certificates?
We present you an outline of the cost structure of the DSCs below:
The prices of the digital signature certificates mentioned here are exclusive of the token amount. Also, you need to remember a GST of 18% is applicable to the costs of the digital certificates.
[As a new entrepreneur, giving a legal identity to your business can be difficult. Read our article on How to Register a Company in India? to know more about various types of companies and their registration process in India]
Note: Digital Signatures are legal in India according to Section 3 of IT Act, 2000.
So, to validate your identity online, get yourself a digital signature and carry on your business as smoothly as you want. Keep your information private and secured and enjoy all the perks of having a Digital Signature Certificate.
To know more about Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) in India and its procedure, feel free to approach our experts by filling the form given below or click here.