Notices have been sent to more than 4 lakh companies that had not filed their income tax returns for 3 financial years, warning the companies that failure to file the returns would result in the respective companies becoming deregistered.
Despite the companies having not submitted returns for the financial years of 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 the window for filing has not completely shut down. The companies have been given 30 days to file the returns or else face being deregistered.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) will be announcing the names of the at-risk companies to the public, while details of the directors and companies will also be shared with income tax department, Reserve Bank of India and other banks to prevent the companies from undertaking transactions.
“We do not know if these companies actually transact any business or are just paper companies. First, we need to know their status,” Times of India quoted a source as saying.
The government launched an offensive against alleged ‘shell companies’ by examining the over 11 lakh active Indian companies and scrutinising their returns over past 3 financial years. The government then identifies companies that have low turnover but have premium value shares.
Alleged shell companies function by ‘entry operators’ accepting cash issue shares at a premium and then routing the funds through a series of companies to make the money legitimate or ‘white’.