The government is set to prosecute directors of listed and other big companies after one reminder if they do not file their balance sheet and annual returns online this filing season ending November.
Armed with a digital filing system, which was made mandatory last September, the ministry of corporate affairs expects 90% compliance by companies with significant public interest. This includes listed companies, PSUs and companies with authorised capital of Rs 1 crore or more, a ministry of corporate affairs official said on the sidelines of a seminar on corporate governance.
Around 70% of the companies had filed their documents on time last year while compliance was 50% in the year before when the online filing system was under implementation. The filing season ends in October-November as companies are required to hold their annual general meetings within six months of the fiscal year-end and file their balance sheet within 30 days and annual returns within 60 days. Last year, the number of filings in all categories was 3.65 lakh compared with 2.11 lakh in the year before.
The ministry has also done away with the flexibility which companies had in filing documents using a provisional identification number for directors (DIN). Now, only those directors who have a permanent DIN and is authorised by the board can file statutory documents.
This is to avoid executives carelessly generating too many DINs for filing different documents. Having an authorised person to file documents will avoid confusion in cases where the ownership of the company is in dispute. In such cases different people used to file documents that do not match, said a source.
The ministry has already started the process of striking off the names of defunct and defaulting companies from official records. It will strike off around 50,000 companies that do not file annual returns, inform change in addresses, share allotment and appointment of directors and other statutory documents as part of the ongoing phase of a massive exercise that began last year.
The target is to strike off at least 1.5 lakh companies from the register of over 7.5 lakh companies. The government feels that maintaining records of these companies digitally is a burden on its e-governance system.