DIGITAL SIGNATURE (DSC) CLASS 2 GETTING DISCONTINUED FROM 01.01.2021
Generally, Class 2 Digitally Signature certificates are used for filing documents Income Tax, Registrar of Companies, and VAT, whereas Class 3 Digital Signature Certificates are needed to be e-tendering, which is a procurement that is conducted online.
A Class 2 Digital Signature Certificate is available for download after verification based on a trusted and pre-verified database. A Class 3 Digital Signature Certificate, on the other hand, is of a higher level as it is issued only after the registrant's identity verification has been done by a Registration Authority.
CCA Issues new update:
On 26th November 2020, the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) came up with an update on the issuance of Class 2 DSCs. The CAA has decided to discontinue Class 2 DSC with effect from 1st January 2021. The guideline states that Class 3 DSC will be applicable instead of Class 2 DSC for all purposes such as income tax, PF, GST, RoC filing, tenders, and others. You will not be able to purchase or renew Class 2 DSCs after 1st January 2021.
A guidance note dated. 26.11.2020 was issued by the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) i.e. the authority which licenses and regulates the working of Certifying Authorities. The Certifying Authorities (CAs) issue digital signature certificates for electronic authentication of users.
With an increasing number of documents to be signed and increasing digitalization of forms, a digital signature was a necessity and in the tax and corporate world, we all know that the most used type of digital signature is Class 2 digital signature which is used to sign audit reports, MCA forms, Income tax return, etc.
Based on the above guidance it is being speculated that Class 2 digital signature shall discontinue, however in the guidance note no date of such discontinuance is maintained but based on communications received by various people from vendors issuing digital signature it is being said that Class 2 digital signature shall discontinue from 01.01.2021.
Also, it is being said that although no new digital signature can be issued after 31.12.2020 people can get their digital signature renewed before 31.12.2020 and the same shall remain valid till the time it doesn’t expire.
In the guidance note, there was various other information related to the security of digital documents, SSL certificate for websites, etc.
SAVE MONEY BY RENEWING IT BEFORE:
Here is the catch for you! Class 3 DSC is much more expensive when compared to class 2 DSC. A few thousand rupees more! Therefore, you should renew your existing Class 2 DSCs now, before they expire in the coming months or by next year. In this case, your class 2 DSCs will remain valid even after 1st January 2021, until their natural date of expiry, which can be for up to two years.
For example: if your existing Class 2 DSC is expiring on 10 January 2021, don’t wait any longer to renew it. You will not be able to renew it in January, according to this new CAA guideline it will be discontinued. It’s better for you to renew it now and keep it in operation beyond 1st January 2021. This will give you more time till you actually need to purchase a Class 3 DSC. You will save some money in the process, for the next 2 years as purchasing a Class 3 DSC now will dig a deeper hole in your pocket. By renewing your existing Class 2 DSC on or before 31st December, you can very well save on the differential amount.
The latest guideline on class 2 DSC will be strictly followed by all the CAs across the country soon. The CAA has asked all the CAs to adhere to the guidelines in relation to the matters including (but not limited to) DSC Application and mandatory information provided therein, eKYC Account, virtual/physical verification, key pair storage or generation, documents verification, DSC Issuance, Invoice/Acknowledgement, Encryption Certificate, Special purpose certificates, SMS, OTP, first factor & second-factor authentication and so on.
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