It has also been further decided to replace the existing Registration Numbers (given by Range Offices at the time of registration), Personal Ledger Account Numbers (given by Chief Accounts Officers of the Commissionerate) and Excise Control Code Numbers (allotted by Pay and Accounts Officer) by New PAN-based 15 digit Registration Number [which will be identical to PAN-based 15 digit New Excise Control Numbers being allotted since 1999] with effect from 1st December, 2001. In other words, the assessees/persons already possessing PAN-based 15 digit New ECC Number will use this number as 'Registration Number'. Others, who do not possess New ECC Number, shall immediately apply in the manner specified in Circular No.493/59/99-CX dated 12th November, 1999 [The procedure is also specified Part II of Chapter 2 of the Central Excise Manual, First Edition].
For this purpose, the Board has chalked out the strategy for manage the changes to ensure that there is no disruption of excise related activities, including the clearances and duty payments and to ensure that the transition is smooth. However, certain relaxation has been given to small-scale matches and biri manufacturers from obtaining or converting existing Registration Numbers into PAN based Registration Numbers. Instead of 10 digits PAN, they shall be allotted New Registration Number based on 10 digits Old ECC Number. Even in case on new Registrants of this category will first obtain ECC Number as before. New Registration Number will be allotted in the same manner as 15-digit PAN-based Registration Number, with a difference that in place of PAN the 10 digits Old ECC Number will be used.
The Board desires that the senior officers have to play an active role in managing the change so as to make the change as smooth as possible. The local problems affecting clearances and revenue should be resolved on TOP PRIORITY. Any important deviations from the instructions contained in this Circular shall be brought to the notice of the Board immediately with suggestions, if any.
There are three stages in the transition. As a part of over all strategy, Stage I started in 1999. Stage II will commence from 1st December, 2001 for which detailed 'information campaign' should be launched. Stage III is the stage dependent on computerisation and connectivity of the Department. These Stages are explained below: -
Formulation of PAN-based New Excise Control Code Number (ECC Number) and its adoption in 1999 was part of this strategy.
It was decided to allot nearly 100 lakh existing assessees of Central Excise a number based on the principles of Common Business Identifier in such a manner that the normal business activity is not affected adversely.
It was started with PAN-based New Excise Control Code Number (ECC Number). Sufficient time was provided for this purpose. Most of the manufacturers and dealers have obtained their requisite New PAN-based ECC Number. However, there are some assessees who have still been informing that the Income Tax Department has not allotted them PAN.
The matter was taken up with the Income Tax authorities. It has come to notice that the assessees have filled incomplete forms and are not coming forward for rectification. As a measure of facilitation, the Board had circulated the name and contact numbers of all the Income Tax authorities so as to expedite the allotment of PAN to Central Excise assessees on priority. As a result, large number of assessees could get PAN and New ECC Number.
As a measure of smooth transition, the assessees were asked to continue using existing 10-digit [numeral] ECC Code. This code is used for revenue accounting and reconciliation.
The National Informatic Center (N.I.C) was requested to develop software to help capturing data in computers while generating the New ECC Number. This was accomplished. The Principal Chief Controller of Accounts was also requested to develop a software for revenue reconciliation purposes.
Note: Stage-I has already been accomplished except that the data in the Application for New ECC captured by Commissionerates could not be completely assimilated and developed into National Directory and database and some assessees have not yet obtained PAN based New ECC Number.
The existing Registration Number of manufacturers and warehouse-holders, Personal Ledger Number and ECC Number will be replaced by PAN based New ECC Number with effect from 1st December, 2001. The registered dealers will use the New ECC Number based on PAN as their registration number with effect from 1st December, 2001.
Those existing registrants who do not possess PAN for any reason are advised to contact the local Income Tax Officer along with a fresh application Form for PAN allotment. They may also opt for on-line PAN in select cities. The Central Excise Divisional Offices are also directed to provide necessary guidance and support, including interaction with Income Tax authorities. In case of unreasonable delays, the matter may be brought to the notice of the Board through the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise.
The Board has decided those small manufacturers (proprietorship and unregistered partnership) in match and biri industries will continue to use old ECC Number allotted by Central for the time being. Ultimately, they will have to switch over to PAN-based number in due course.
In order to bring about uniformity in the database, the Range Officers, through their Sector Officers, will conduct an exercise for collecting information from the existing assessees in the same format as specified in the form for application of registration.
To ensure smooth transition and monitor the change, the Commissioners of Central Excise will create a cell under his direct supervision comprising of an Additional/Joint Commissioner, a Deputy/Assistant Commissioner, a Superintendent and an Inspector. They will ensure that all the assessees in their jurisdiction switch over to PAN-based number by 1st December, 2001 and use them in all the documents such as invoices, returns, challans etc. along with the Old Registration Number of the existing stationary till 31.3.2002. This is necessary to avoid any hardship to the registrants regarding fresh printing of stationeries.
Any communication from the Department to the assessee, including show-cause notices, where existing registration number has been quoted/mentioned, they will continue to be quoted/mentioned along with the new number till further instructions.
In case of TR-6 Challans, the assessees are advised to mention both the Old ECC Number (erstwhile 10 digit code allotted by PAO) and PAN based Registration number till 1.4.2002. Thereafter, only the PAN based Registration number will be used.
The Office of The Principal Chief Controller of Accounts is already developing new software based on PAN-based New ECC Number for revenue accounting and reconciliation. Since they require details of each registered person, all Commissioners are directed to ensure that a computerised list of assessees may be prepared in the following format in 'MS Excel' and sent in floppies to the Office of Principal Chief Controller of Accounts, New Delhi, the concerned PAO and Additional Commissioner, Directorate of Systems, Chennai latest by 15th December, 2001: -
1. Name of the assessee
2. New PAN-based 15 digit Registration Number/ECC Number
3. Old 10-digit ECC Number (wherever it was given)
4. Location code of the assessee
Note: First 6-digits of old ECC Number should normally tally with Location code. However, in those cases where old-ECC Number was not given on account re-organisation of Commissionerates and change in jurisdictional codes, the Officer of the Principal Chief Controller of Accounts intends to use Location Code.
The Directorate of Systems will prepare the initial National Directory on the basis of information received from the Commissioners and make available to all formations of Central Excise
The Chief Commissioners will monitor the action taken by Commissioners for allotting PAN-based Registration Number to all the assessees [who have not yet taken PAN-based New ECC Number] and also for conversion of existing registration numbers into PAN-based numbers. They will send report to the DGICCE every month starting from 1.1.2002 indicating number of existing registered manufacturers/warehouse-holder, number of existing registered dealers, number of registered manufacturers/warehouse-holder whose registration number is converted into PAN-based number, number of registered dealers whose registration number is converted into PAN-based number. The reasons for pendency shall be analysed and action taken to overcome problems will also be reported. DGICCE will send consolidated monthly report to the Board (by 10th day of the subsequent month).
This Stage will tentatively commence in January 2003
It is proposed to have All-India connectivity of Central Excise formations (at least upto Division levels), computerised registration process and verifications, and National/Regional Data Warehouses.
Strategy for collecting and posting additional information in the directory for complete profiling of each assessee will be communicated in due course.
The National Directory will serve as starting point for development of National/Regional Data Warehouse.
The National Networking of Central Excise formation will be feeder for the Data Warehouse.
The Registration process will be re-modelled to allow registration from any location, including the on-line registration. Any such entry of a new registrant will create a workload for the jurisdictional office for verification of address and authenticity of the applicant. The PAN will be automatically verified on-line through computerised interface with the Income Tax Department.
The Trade and the field formations may suitably be informed immediately. Special measures should also be taken to give wide publicity to this change and arrangements should be made to give necessary guidance to the registrants in order to make the 'switch-over' timely and smooth.
Receipt of this Circular may please be acknowledged.
Hindi version will follow.