What is the procedure for generating a DSC utility? By Ankita - January 13, 2020 Last Updated at: Jul 06, 2021 2778 A digital signature certificate (DSC) helps to complete the Income Tax Return (ITR) verification process electronically. As the deadline for filing ITR is approaching, it is advisable that taxpayers obtain a DSC. With an increase in the use of technology to accomplish various tasks, there has also been an increase in newer ways to help achieve them. One such development is the introduction of digital signatures by the Income Tax Department for filing e-returns. Digital Signature (DSC) is an electronic form of signature used to sign documents digitally to authenticate both the signatory of the document and the electronic document itself. This brings us to the point in the discussion- DSC Utility. DSC or Digital Signature Certificate can be used to: To file Income Tax Return To register for PAN And to file TDS returns online DSC, is thus, a secure and hassle-free process to file returns online. Digital Signature certificate has a validity of one to two years and can be renewed upon expiry. What is DSC Management Utility? The system utility or the tool designed to use the digital signature certificate for the purposes mentioned above and other return filing purposes is termed as DSC Management Utility. This utility can be downloaded from the tax filing portal and can be easily used to sign the returns. Obtain Your DSC Types of Digital Signatures There are two types of DSC: PFX File This type of DSC is in a .pfx format, which can be easily forwarded through emails but has its security limitations because of this feature. USB Token As the name suggests, this type of digital signature certificate looks like a pen drive and can be used as one for digital signatures. These are considered more secure as compared to the PFX File. Let us now discuss the stepwise procedure in generating DSC Utility. Steps in generating DSC Utility for Income Tax E-Filing Once opened, the utility will look like this Step 4: Click on Bulk Upload and follow this up by uploading the XML file to be signed digitally by clicking on the Browse Zip file button. Step 5: Select the type of Digital Signature Certificate; USB token or .pfx file. Upon selecting .pfx file: Click on the Browse DSC file to upload the relevant .pfx file and enter the password for this file. Finally, click on Generate Signature File to successfully generate the signature file and upload the same (the generated DSC File) with the return file in the income tax e-filing portal. Upon selecting the USB Token: Select the valid USB token certificate. Enter the USB token pin. Click on Generate Signature File to successfully generate the signature file and upload the same (the generated DSC File) with the return file in the income tax e-filing portal. Benefits of generating a Digital Signature Certificate Digital Signature Certificate is a secure method of authenticating digital documents. The DSC has a validity of 1 to 2 years and is easily renewable. Another advantage of uploading DSC is evident at the time of filing an income tax return online. Digitally signed returns do not require any other type of verification like the Adhaar based OTP or sending the signed hard copy to the Central office. The use of digital signatures has its environmental benefits as it reduces the need for hard copies to validate documentation. It also saves time as uploading or sending documents with digital signatures can be done instantly as compared to sending across hard copies. Classes of DSC: There are three types/classes of Digital Signature Certificates issued by the certifying authorities (Controller of Certifying Authorities-CCA, Government of India) based on the type of applicant and the purpose of obtaining the DSC. These are as follows: Class 1 These certificates are issued to individuals or private subscribers for both business and private use. This class of certificate is issued to confirm that the user name and other contact details lie within the database of the certifying authority. It is used to sign transactions that do not require high security. Class 2 The class 2 signature certificates are issued for filing e documents such as IT return, Registrar of Companies filings, etc. and is mandatory for individuals/signatory authorities for the use of e-filing. Class 3 Vendors/ government entities like the Railways, Banks, and other agencies who wish to participate in E-auctions/E-tenders anywhere in India must have a Class 3 digital signature certificate.