Skip to main content

Govt wants early warning system on shell companies: How it will work

Govt wants early warning system on shell companies: How it will work
The term is used to refer to a company without active business operations or much of assets. This by itself isn't illegitimate but they could be used as a manoeuvre for financial operations of a suspect or illegitimate nature.
Currently, there is no way to check shell companies systemically, an official said. Chartered accountants (CAs) do come out with qualified accounts of such companies but these come in a random way on the ministry's MCA21 portal. Qualified accounts refer to bits of information about which CAs have doubts or disagreement with the audited entity's management.
After the hoped-for early warning system comes, qualified accounts would be flagged on the ministry's portal, helping it and other regulators to check on such entities. "We are yet to work out the nitty gritty of this system but are on the job," another official said.
He said this would do away with the current system of random inspections to identify such companies. The portal will have filings by CAs in such a way that regulators will be alerted, he said.Earlier, minister of state for corporate affairs P P Chaudhary had said the government would try to use the information technology tool of artificial intelligence in this regard.
CAs told Business Standard that an early warning system by itself wouldn't change things by much. There should also be stringent norms to make auditors more independent. One of them said it is a company's promoters who appoint the auditor, which means the latter does not retain the independence to openly report facts. So, a CA's appointment would need to move away from promoters.
The ministry had recently issued rules to limit the number of subsidiaries a company may have — no more than two layers. This will apply prospectively but existing companies have to disclose details of their entire list of subsidiaries to the registrar of companies within 150 days. Banks and insurance companies are excluded from this rule.
With no limit on the number of subsidiaries, regulators found it difficult to track illicit transactions.
UNDER THE SCANNER
Currently,there is no way to check shell companies systemically.
CAs come out with qualified accounts of such companies but these4 come in a random way on the ministry's portal.
Qualified accounts refer to information about which CAs have doubts with the audited entity 's managemen.
After the early warning system comes,qualified accounts would be flagged on the ministry's portal, helping it and other regulators to check on such entities.
The Business Standard, New Delhi, 29th september

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India

Shrinking footprints of foreign banks in India Foreign banks are increasingly shrinking their presence in India and are also becoming more conservative than private and public sector counterparts. While many of them have sold some of their businesses in India as part of their global strategy, some are trying to keep their core expertise intact. Others are branching out to newer areas to continue business momentum.For example, HSBC and Barclays Bank in India have got out of the retail business, whereas corporate-focused Standard Chartered Bank is now trying to increase its focus on retail “Building a retail franchise is a huge exercise and takes a long time. You cannot afford to lose it,” said Shashank Joshi, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ’s India head.According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, foreign banks’ combined loan book shrunk nearly 10 per cent from Rs 3.78 trillion in fiscal 2015-16 to Rs 3.42 trillion last financial year. The banking industry, which includes foreign banks…

New money laundering norms stump jewellery sector

New money laundering norms stump jewellery sector Dealers with turnover of Rs 2 crore and above covered; industry says threshold too low The central government has notified the money laundering rules for the gems and jewellery sector with immediate effect. Now, any entity deals in precious metals, precious stones, or other high-value goods and has a turnover of Rs 2 crore or more in a financial year will be covered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA, 2002). The limit of Rs 2 crore would be calculated on the basis of the previous year’s turnover, said the notification. The directorate general of goods and service tax intelligence has been appointed under the Act. Sources said the government’s move to apply the PMLA to the jewellery sector was a fallout of income-tax raids on jewellers soon after demonetisation last November, when it was found that they sold gold and jewellery at a huge premium and accepted old currency notes as payment. The notification, issued on Augus…

Confusion over branded food GST

Confusion over branded food GST The GST Council's statement over the weekend on applying tax on branded food items has left most of the trade confused.

Even though the Council has not changed the rates on food -0 per cent on unbranded stuff and 5 per cent on brands -many small traders who didn't levy GST earlier said they could come under the 5 per cent slab after the clarification.

While they predicted some increase in consumer prices, large players said they can absorb GST in many ways and keep prices steady.

"Trade is confused and hence on behalf of our chamber, we have asked our members to go ahead and charge 5 per cent GST," said Sushil Sureka, general secretary of the Ahilya Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Indore.

The statement clarifying the application of GST came after some businesses were found deregistering their brands and selling under corporate brand name without paying tax, after the Council exempted unbranded food from the new all-encompassing indirec…