Weeding out shell companies: MCA rules out extension of deadline for filing ACTIVE form


e-form ACTIVE has to be filed by June 15

The Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) has ruled out any extension of the last date for filing the ACTIVE (INC 22A) form, which was primarily introduced to weed out shell companies. It may be recalled that the last date for filing the e-form ACTIVE is June 15.

“The last date for filing the ACTIVE (INC 22A) expires on June 15 and no further extension would be provided,” sources in the MCA said.

The deadline for filing the ACTIVE has been extended twice and the Government has now decided that there will be no more extensions, sources added.

Earlier, all companies incorporated before December 31, 2017, were required to file the e-form ACTIVE before April 25, 2019. This deadline has since been extended to June 15 this year.

In case the ACTIVE is not filed by June 15, the compliance status for such companies would be marked as ‘ACTIVE Non-Compliant’ and directors of such ACTIVE non-compliant companies would be marked as ‘Director of ACTIVE non-compliant company’.

Any company marked as ‘ACTIVE compliant’ means that it has completed all the regulatory formalities.

The Government has in recent years beefed up its surveillance of dormant and shell companies. The MCA has now put the onus on directors of non-compliant companies — which have failed to file the e-form ACTIVE — to set the compliance record straight, failing which they run the risk of not being eligible to be associated with compliant companies. E-form ACTIVE stands for Active Company Tagging Identities and Verification.

Commenting on the implications of the failure to file the e-form ACTIVE by June 15, L Badri Narayanan, Partner, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, a law firm, said the defaulting company may be liable for action for removal of the name by the registrar of companies. The company concerned will also be barred from filing several forms. Separately, a late filing fee of Rs 10,000 will also be imposed on the defaulting company. Also, the obligation to file the e-form ACTIVE has fallen on the directors of the defaulting company in case the company fails to file it by June 15, he added.

Vaibhav Kakkar, Partner, L&L Partners, a law firm, said it is imperative for directors of non-compliant companies to rectify their non-compliance in the next few days, failing which they would be ineligible to undertake corporate filings and would constrain their ability to act as directors.

Moin Ladha, Partner, Khaitan & Co, a law firm, said extensions have already been granted in the past and the form was notified in February 2019.

“I think this step indicates the government’s seriousness in tracking down and taking action against shell companies,” Ladha said.

COURTESY : The Hindu- Business Line