Know what a Digital Signature Certificate is: Register DSC

A Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) is necessary to submit different online forms to the Government of India. It’s used to sign electronic documents, emails, and other digitally transmitted documents. They enhance security using encryption technology. DSCs are generally utilised when businesses need to digitally sign online documents, securely authenticate the signature, and validate the signed copy.

What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

The Certifying Authorities (CA) provide Digital Signature Certificates, which are secure digital keys used to verify and authenticate the identity of the certificate holder. Public key encryptions are used by digital signatures to create the autographs.

A DSC includes details about the user, including name, email address, nationality, pin code, date of certificate issue, and certifying authority name. Typically, the DSCs are good for a period of two to three years. They can still be renewed before the expiration date.

What are the advantages of a Digital Signature Certificate?

  1. Authentication:
    • Helpful in authenticating the particular information details of the individual holder when conducting business online.
  2. Reduced cost and time:
    • Rather than subscribing the hard copy documents physically and scanning them to send them via e-mail, you can digitally sign the PDF files and send them much more quickly. A DSC holder doesn’t need to be present in person to conduct or approve transactions.
  3. Data integrity:
    • Digitally signed documents are safe and secure since they cannot be changed or amended after they are signed. To double-check and authenticate the commercial transaction, government authorities frequently request these certificates.
  4. Authenticity of documents:
    • Documents that have been digitally signed allow the recipient to feel confident in the signer’s legitimacy. They don’t have to worry about the documents being fake since they may act based on comparable documents.

Significance of DSC for fulfilling Statutory Compliances

Individuals and entities who need to get their accounts checked have to file their income tax returns compulsorily using a digital signature. Likewise, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has made it obligatory for companies to file all reports, applications, and forms using a digital signature only.

In the Goods and Services Tax (GST) process, a company can register by verifying its application with a digital signature. The use of a digital signature is necessary indeed for filing all applications, amendments, and other affiliated forms

Authorities issuing Digital Signature Certificate

In India, the CAs have been appointed by The Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to issue a Digital Signature Certificate. Fifteen CAs have been granted permission by the Office of the Controller of Certification Agencies to provide DSCs to individuals.

Digital Signature in Bangalore

Documents required for submitting a DSC Application

  • Aadhar card.
  • PAN card.
  • Passport-sized photo.
  • Address proof.

What are the types of Digital Signature Certificate?

  1. Sign
    • A person can use Sign certificates for signing a document. It can be fixed to a PDF, files, or documents for GST returns submission, income tax returns, MCA online forms, and other web-based services It verifies the document’s integrity and confirms the user’s identity. It guarantees the recipient that the document and the data mentioned have not been tampered with.
  2. Encrypt
    • A person can use the Encrypt Certificate to encrypt files, documents, or other sensitive and non-public data. DSC encryption is for non-public documents and data. It helps enterprises and companies to encrypt and upload documents on web portals.
      This certificate can also be used to encrypt particular data and send it securely. Encrypt DSC is suitable for e-commerce documents, legal documents, e-tender form documents, and other non-public records.
  3. Sign and Encrypt
    • A person can use the Sign and Encrypt Certificate for both signing and encrypting purposes. It’s generally used for filing government documents, forms, and applications. It’s suitable for those users who need to maintain and authenticate the confidentiality of the data changed.

What are the classes for the Digital Signature Certificate?

The type of aspirant and the purpose for which the Digital Signature Certificate is attained define the kind of DSC one must apply for, depending on the need. The certifying authority provides three different kinds of certificates for digital signatures. They are; Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3 certificates.

  • Class 1 Certificates
    • These are issued to individual/ private subscribers and are used to confirm the user’s name and email contact within the database of the certifying authority.
  • Class 2 Certificates
    • These are issued to the authorities signatories for e-filing forms on the government portal, similar to the (MCA) website, income tax website, GST website, etc. Still, from 01.01.2021, the Controller of Certifying Authority has instructed to discontinue Class 2 Certificates, and Class 3 Certificates will be issued in place of Class 2 Certificates.
  • Class 3 Certificates
    • These certificates are used in online participation/ bidding in auctions and online tenders anywhere in India. To take part in the online tenders, suppliers need to possess a Class 3 digital signature certificate.
      Class 3 Certificates are required for everyone who wants to sign online government documents such as GST applications, customs forms, income tax forms, patent and trademark filings, Registrar of Companies (ROC) forms, and other forms since CCA stopped issuing Class 2 Certificates on January 1, 2021.

How to get a Digital Signature Certificate?

Visit any of the CA websites, elect the DSC Class 3 registration/ application on their homepage, and proceed to fill out the form. The DSC application form requires you to fill in the following data;

  • Class of the DSC.
  • Validity.
  • Type only sign or sign and encrypt.
  • Applicant name and contact details.
  • Domestic address.
  • GST number and identity details of evidence documents.
  • Declaration.
  • Document as evidence of identity.
  • Document as evidence of address.
  • Attestation officer.
  • Payment details.
  • After applying, upload a recent photograph and electronically sign the declaration.
  • Upload the needed documents.

However, if the CAs are offering Aadhaar e KYC-based authentication, you can select this option. However, you don’t have to upload any supporting documents, if you select this option. Alternatively, you can directly visit CAs with original documents and self-attested copies for verification.

  • Make the payment for the allocation of the DSC and submit the form.
  • CAs will verify your application and documents, and upon approval, electronically issue the DSC with an option to download it.

How to download a digital signature certificate?

Each CA has a different procedure for downloading a certificate with a digital signature. The DSC download procedure for several CAs is shown below.

  • Request a Digital Signature Certificate:
    • First, you need to apply for a digital signature certificate from a CA. You can find different CAs that give digital signature certificates. You will generally need to give identity and address evidence documents along with your application.
  • Verification:
    • After applying, the CA will verify your documents. This process may involve physical verification or verification through other means, depending on the CA’s policies. Issuance Once your documents are verified, the CA will issue your digital signature certificate.
  • Download:
    • You will typically receive an email or notification informing you that your digital signature certificate is ready for download. This email will contain instructions and a link to download your certificate.
  • Login to the CA’s Portal:
    • Follow the link provided in the email to access the CA’s portal. Authenticate you may need to log in to the CA’s portal using the credentials you provided during the application process.
  • Download the Certificate:
    • Once logged in, navigate to the section where your digital signature certificate is located. There will be an option to download it.
  • Store securely:
    • After downloading, ensure you store your digital signature certificate securely. It’s a sensitive document that should be protected from unauthorized access.
  • Install (if required):
    • Depending on your intended use, you may need to install the digital signature certificate on your computer or device. Follow the instructions provided by the CA or the software you are using for guidance on installation. Check the validity of DSC.
  • Open the USB token tools.
  • Click on the ‘Login’ button.
  • Enter the token password.
  • Click on your certificate name.
  • The certificate will open. Click on the ‘details’ tab.
  • The information about your certificate, including its validity data, will be shown.

Conclusion

In conclusion, obtaining a digital signature certificate is a pivotal step toward securely conducting digital transactions and communications. By providing a trusted means of verifying the authenticity and integrity of digital documents and messages, DSCs play a vital role in ensuring the confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation of electronic transactions.

As businesses and individuals increasingly rely on digital platforms for their operations, the importance of digital signature certificates in safeguarding sensitive information and enabling secure interactions cannot be overstated.

Utilize 24efiling to obtain your Digital Signature Certificate for secure e-filing.

FAQs
1. What is a Digital Signature Certificate?

An electronic document that certifies the identity of the certificate holder for online transactions and communication is called a Digital Signature Certificate, and it is issued by a Certifying Authority.

2. How is a digital signature certificate obtained?

To gain a digital signature certificate, one needs to apply to a CA with identity and address proof documents. After verification, the CA issues the DSC.

3. What is the purpose of a digital signature certificate?

A digital signature certificate is used to authenticate the identity of the sender of an electronic document or message, ensuring its integrity and preventing tampering.

4. Can a DSC be used for legal transactions?

Yes, DSCs are legally recognized in numerous countries and can be used for signing legal documents, filing tax returns, participating in e-tendering processes, and more.

5. How long is a digital signature certificate valid?

The validity period of a digital signature certificate varies depending on the type and class of certificate issued. Generally, they are valid for two to three years, after which they need to be renewed.

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