The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 – highlights

The Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 was promulgated on January 12, 2019.

It repeals and replaces the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 promulgated on November 2, 2018.

The 2019 Ordinance amends several provisions in the Companies Act, 2013 relating to penalties, among others.

 

Key Highlights

  • Commencement of business – Declaration by the Director: The Ordinance states that a company may not commence business, unless it (i) files a declaration within 180 days of incorporation, confirming that every subscriber to the Memorandum of the company has paid the value of shares agreed to be taken by him, and (ii) files a verification of its registered office address with the Registrar of Companies within 30 days of incorporation.  If a company fails to comply with these provisions and is found not to be carrying out any business, the name of the Company may be removed from the Register of Companies.

Any default in complying with the said will invite a fine of INR 50,000 to be paid by the company.

 

  • Removal of a Company’s name from the register – If the Registrar has enough reason to believe that a company is not carrying on business then he, after a physical verification of the registered office, can remove the company’s name from the register of companies. The ROC can strike off a company if the address of Registered Office is bogus or an incomplete/ improper address.

 

  • Issue of shares at a discount: The Act prohibits a company from issuing shares at a discount, except in certain cases.  On failure to comply, the company is liable to pay a fine between one lakh rupees and five lakh rupees every officer in default may be punished with imprisonment up to six months or fine between one lakh rupees and five lakh rupees.  The Ordinance changes this to remove imprisonment for officers as a punishment.

 

  • Further, the company and every officer in default will be liable to pay a penalty equal to the amount raised by the issue of shares at a discount or five lakh rupees, whichever is lower. The company will also be liable to refund the money received with interest at 12% per annum from the date of issue of the shares.

 

  • Alteration of Articles – After this amendment, any conversion of a Public Company to a Private Company will not be valid unless approved by an order of the Central Government. Previously, the power to issue such an order was with the Tribunal.

 

  • Registration of charges: The Act requires companies to register charges (such as mortgages) on their property within 30 days of creation of charge.  The Registrar may permit the registration within 300 days of creation.
  • The Ordinance changes this to permit registration of charges: (i) within 300 days if the charge is created before the Ordinance, or (ii) within 60 days if the charge is created after the Ordinance. If the charge under the first category is not registered within 300 days, it must be completed within six months from the date of the Ordinance.  If the charge under the second category is not registered within 60 days, the Registrar may grant another 60 days for registration.

 

  • Annual Return:  Annual Return should be filed within 60 days from the date of the AGM, failure to this, penalty of Rs. 100 per day to Company + directors maximum Rs. 5 Lakh apart from ROC delay charges is applicable.

 

  • Penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs to Company secretary certifying wrong Annual Return.

 

  • Annual Financial Statement: Filing of Balance sheet with ROC within time limit- failure is costly for Company + Directors both. Penalty of Rs.100 per day + Rs. 1 lakh to Company + Director each.

 

  • Resignation of Auditor: The Return must be filed by the resigning Auditor within 30 days, failure to which the resigning Auditor is liable for penalty of Rs. 50,000 plus Rs. 500 per day.

 

  • Disqualification of Directors: A director can not become director in more than 20 companies. If he continues, he becomes disqualified now.

 

  • Company Secretary: Appointment of Company Secretary on the payroll (Private Companies having paid-up capital Rs. 5 crores & above) is mandatory. Default is now very costly- penalty increased substantially.

 

  • ROC may strike off a company if subscribers have not paid initial share capital after incorporation of a Company within 6 months.

 

  • Financial Year: The Indian subsidiary or associate or holding company of the foreign company may be allowed to follow any period as its financial period on an application made by such company if it is required for consolidation of its financials with the foreign company. Also the such period may or may not be one year.

 

  • Change in approving authority: Under the Act, change in period of financial year for a company associated with a foreign company, has to be approved by the National Company Law Tribunal.  Similarly, any alteration in the incorporation document of a public company which has the effect of converting it to a private company, has to be approved by the Tribunal.  Under the Ordinance, these powers have been transferred to central government.

 

  • Declaration of beneficial ownership: If a person holds beneficial interest of at least 25% shares in a company or exercises significant influence or control over the company, he is required to make a declaration of his interest. Under the Act, failure to declare this interest is punishable with a fine between one lakh rupees and ten lakh rupees, along with a continuing fine for every day of default.  The Ordinance provides that such person may either be fined, or imprisoned for up to one year, or both.

 

  • Resolutions and agreements to be filed – If the company fails to file a resolution and agreement before the specified time, the company shall be liable to pay INR 1,00,000 as penalty and in case of a continuing failure it will be extended further by INR 500 per day subject to a maximum penalty of 25 lakhs. For any officer who is liable, the penalty is of INR 50,000, and in case of a continuing failure it will be extended further by INR 500 per day subject to a maximum penalty of 5 lakhs.

 

  • Penalties in different sections – In section 191, the penalty is increased from a minimum of INR 25,000 to a minimum of one lakh rupees. In section 441, The maximum limit is increased from 5 lakh rupees to 25 lakh rupees.

 

Read the Ordinance Text  Companies-Amendment-Ordinance-2019

MCA extends Annual Return due date upto 31 Dec. 2018

MCA extends due date for Filings of Financial Statements & Annual Return up to 31.12.2018

Keeping in view the requests received from various stakeholders seeking extension of time for filing of financial statements for the financial year ended 31.03.2018 on account of various factors, it has been decided to relax the additional fees payable by companies on e-forms AOC-4, AOC (CFS) AOC-4 XBRL and e- Form MGT-7 upto 31.12.2018 wherever additional fee is applicable.

 

General Circular No. 10/2018

F.No. 01/34/2013 CL-V
Government of India
Ministry of Corporate Affairs

5th Floor, ‘A’ Wing, Shastri Bhawan,
Dr. Rajendra Prasad Road, New Delhi-1

Dated: 29.10.2018

To
 All Regional Directors,
 All Registrar of Companies, All Stakeholders.

Subject: Relaxation of additional fees and extension of last date of in filing of forms MGT-7 (Annual Return) and AOC-4 (Financial Statements) under the Companies Act, 2013– – reg.

Keeping in view the requests received from various stakeholders seeking extension of time for filing of financial statements for the financial year ended 31.03.2018 on account of various factors , it has been decided to relax the additional fees payable by companies on e-forms AOC-4, AOC (CFS) A0C-4 XBRL and e- Form MGT-7 upto 31.12.2018, wherever additional fee is applicable.

2. This issues with the approval of the competent authority.

Yours faithfully,

(KMS Narayanan)

Assistant Director (policy)

011-23387263

For the original circular, please read:  MCA General Circular No. 10/2018 dt. 29 Oct. 2018

As SEBI reforms startup listing, SMEs must ensure funds are not misused

SME ExchangeAmid SEBI banning as many as 239 entities for alleged money laundering, taxation consultancy PwC has called for a three-year locking-in for the entire pre-listing capital held by promoters to curb tax evasion and other illegal activities through market platforms.

The agency has called for imposing a similar lock-in even for preferential allotments, as prescribed under the capital and disclosure requirement (ICDR) norms so that only serious investors access the market. The PwC report is part of a BSE-mandated review of SME listing process.

The premier bourse last week said that 100 entities were trading on its SME platform. The regulator Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) on June 29 banned four publicly traded SMEs and 235 other related entities for alledgely misusing the exchange’s platform for money laundering and tax evasion.

The SEBI, in an interim order alleged that these entities made Rs 614 crore in illegal gains through suspected money laundering and tax evasion activities. The four companies banned are EcoFriendly Food Processing Park, Esteem Bio Organic Food Processing, Channel Nine Entertainment and HPC Biosciences. These are traded on the BSE SME Platform.

“The institutional trading platform (ITP) could be utilised as a tool for tax planning by staying invested in an SME for a period more than 12 months and exiting at a very high stock price thereby making huge gains with no tax liability,” PwC said in the report.

Accordingly, the report has suggested that the entire pre-listing capital held by promoters should be locked in for three years as “such restrictive conditions would discourage people from accessing the platform only for tax planning”. The BSE had launched ITP for its SME platform to facilitate start-ups and other SMEs to list without the mandatory IPO process which is time-consuming and capital intensive that small companies can hardly afford.

According to PTI, in addition to allowing SMEs and start-up companies to raise capital, the BSE SME platrfom also provides easier entry and exit options for informed investors like angel investors, venture capitalists and private equity players, apart from offering better visibility and wider investor base and tax benefits to long-term investors.

Meanwhile, the report also called for a reduction in trading lot size and shorter interval for review of lot size after many SMEs, merchant bankers and market-makers cited this as a disincentive for entering the market. The report said market participants want the timeframe to review the lot size to be reduced from the current six months and lower the trading lot requirement of Rs 1 lakh to attract retail investors to the segment.

As SEBI continues to make business easier, it is important SMEs do not eye illegal gains through suspected money laundering and tax evasion activities.

 

MCA extends due date of DIR-3KYC / E-KYC of Directors

MCA extends due date of DIR -3KYC / E-KYC of Directors

In order to update the Directors database of The Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA), MCA has requested all Directors holding a DIN to complete DIN KYC before 15th September 2018.

To complete DIN KYC, the Director would be required to file a form known as DIR-3 KYC or DIN e-KYC.

The notification issued by Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been reproduced below:

 

 

Government of India 
MINISTRY OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS

Notification

New Delhi, dated 21st August 2018

G.S.R. …… (E).-In exercise of the powers conferred by sections 396,398,399, 403 and 404 read with sub-sections (1) and (2) of section ‘1-69 of the Companies Act, 2013 (18 of 2013), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules further to amend the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014, namely:-

  1. (1) These rules may be called the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Fourth Amendment Rules, 2018.
    (2) They shall come into force from the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
  2. In the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014, in the Annexure, under the head VII, for note below Fee for filing e-form DIR-3 KYC, the following note shall be substituted, namely:-

“for the current financial (2018-2019), no fee shall be chargeable till
the 15th September 2018 and fee of Rs.5000 shall be payable on or after the 16th September 2018”.

[F. No. 01/16/2013 CL-V (Pt-I)]

 

Sd/-

K.V.R MURTY, JOINT SECRETARY

Purpose of E-form DIR-3 KYC

The main purpose of e-form DIR-3 KYC is to collect the latest information about the directors of all companies. The information to be provided while completing eKYC procedures include Aadhar, PAN, Passport number, address, phone and email. The information submitted must be authenticated by completing one-time-password (OTP) verification and by signing with Digital Signature of Director and a practising Chartered Accountant.

Applicability

All directors having a DIN as on 31st March of 2018 must file e-form DIR-3 KYC on or before 15th September of 2018. For all Directors who obtained DIN after 31st March, 2018, DIR e-KYC must be filed next year.

Documents Required

The following are the documents required to file E-form DIR-3 KYC:

  • PAN Card for identity proof
  • Aadhar Card for address proof
  • Recent passport size photographs
  • Personal Mobile Number and E-mail ID of director for OTP Verification
  • Digital Signature Certificate of the director (DSC) that must be registered on MCA Portal
  • Passport (if the person holds a foreign citizenship)

Certifying Authority

The E-form DIR-3 KYC has to be duly certified by the Practicing Chartered Accountant (PCA), Practicing Company Secretary (PCS) or Practicing Cost Accountant.

Penalties

If the DIN holders do not file DIR-3, the MCA will mark them as deactivated. If the DIN holder files e-form DIR-3 KYC after 31st August 2018, a fee of Rs. 5,000 will be charged.

Time Limit

All directors to whom DIN has been allocated as of March 2018, the e-form DIR-3 KYC has to be filed by September 15, 2018. Originally, the MCA had provided a due date of 31st August which was subsequently changed to 15th September.

 

SEBI calls for stringent laws against erring auditors, valuers

SEBI has proposed giving the board of directors of the company the authority to take appropriate action after conducting an investigation against the individual or firm that violates any regulations or submits a false certificate or report.

India’s capital market regulator has proposed amendments to tighten laws governing auditors and other third-party individuals hired by listed companies for auditing financial results, among other things.

The Kotak Committee, formed to come up with proposals for improving corporate governance, last year recommended that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) should have clear powers to act against auditors and other third-party individuals or firms with statutory duties under the securities law.

Auditing lapses have caused several frauds to go unnoticed for years and the capital market regulator has had no direct control on the auditing firms.

SEBI has proposed giving the board of directors of the company the authority to take appropriate action after conducting an investigation against the individual or firm that violates any regulations or submits a false certificate or report.

The proposed changes come months after Punjab National Bank, India’s second largest state-run lender, stunned markets after uncovering a $2 billion loan fraud that had gone undetected for years.

Merchant bankers, credit rating agencies, custodians, among others, are registered and regulated by SEBI but chartered accountants, company secretaries, valuers and monitoring agencies do not come under any direct regulators.

The amendments would mean auditors must ensure certificates or reports issued by them are true in all material respects and they must exercise all due care, skill and diligence with respect to all processes involved in issuance of the report or certificate.

The auditors would be responsible to report in writing to the audit committee of the listed company or the compliance officer on any violation of the securities law they noticed.

In January, SEBI barred Price Waterhouse from auditing listed companies in India for two years after an investigation into a nearly decade-old accounting fraud case in a software services company that became India’s biggest corporate scandal.

SEBI has sought feedback and comments on the draft regulations over the next 30 days.

 

Link: Business Today