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e-PAOs (Electronic Pay and Accounts Offices)

 

      In addition to the conventional method of indirect tax payment i.e. physical payment mode offered by banks to assesses, e-Payment of Central Excise and Service Tax has been started by the Office of Principal Chief Controller of Accounts (O/o Pr CCA) in coordination with the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). Security norms to be followed by the banks for all e-transactions are defined by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The main objectives of e-Payment of Central Excise and Service Tax are:

 
  1. i)   To facilitate anytime, anywhere payment and instant cyber receipt.
    ii) To offer the facility of making online payment of Central Excise and Service Tax through bank’s internet      banking service.
 

      e-Payment of Central Excise and Service Tax has been made mandatory w.e.f. 01.04. 2010 in respect of those assesses whose have paid Central Excise duties or Service Tax of rupees 10 lakhs or above in the preceding year. The quantum of tax paid through online mode has increased manifolds within few months of the introduction of this mandatory clause. As on date, it is observed that 97% of gross Central Excise collections and 80% of gross Service Tax collections are being received through e-Payment mode. As the number of transactions and the quantum of tax paid through online node has increased, a separate electronic-Pay and Accounts Office (e-PAO) concept has been envisaged by the O/o Pr CCA to account for all the e-Receipts of the Central excise and Service Tax. Accordingly, two e-PAOs have been established, one for Central excise in Chennai and the other for service Tax in Mumbai, from 01.08.2008.

      

To account for the online receipts of the taxes, an accounting system called Electronic Accounting Solution for e-Receipts (EASeR) has been formulated and successfully implemented in both the e-PAOs by the O/o PrCCA. According to EASeR, each of the authorized banks has to set up a separate e-focal point branch (e-FPB) to facilitate online payment of Central excise and Service Tax. The e-FPBs collate e-Payment receipts received through the banks’ internet portal and scroll them major head wise. These scrolls along with the underlying challans are supplied to the e-PAOs, on daily basis, both in physical and electronic form. Based upon this data the e-PAOs compile monthly accounts. Since it is mandatory for the Central Excise and Service Tax payers to mention their Assessee code while making their payment, e-PAOs can generate commissionerate-wise collection reports as well.

e-PAO, Customs:

Similar to e-PAO's set up for accounting of e-payments of Central Excise and Service Tax, a new e- Pay and Accounts Office [ e-PAO ] for accounting of Customs duties collected through e-payments has been operationalised in New Delhi from 16.01.2012. The objectives of setting up the e-PAO, Customs are to [a] facilitate anywhere, anytime payment of Customs duties by exporters and importers and [b] enable the O/o Principal CCA, CBEC to report flash figures of collections of customs duties on a daily basis accurately and strengthen their reconciliation and accounting. This new e-PAO has been set up with the support and cooperation of O/o DG, Systems, CBEC.

Payment of customs duty through electronic mode by importers/exporters is facilitated through the ICEGATE portal of CBEC. There are 17 Banks authorised to collect duty assessed at various EDI locations across India. About 40% of total customs duty were collected through online payment system till August, 2012. E-Payments collections have increased to about 60% after introduction of mandatory payments of customs duty above Rs.1 lac through e-payment mode from September, 2012. It is poised to go further up in the near future.