The Company Fresh Start Scheme (hereby referred as CFSS) was introduced in April 2020 amidst the global pandemic. The scheme offered one time opportunity to the defaulting companies to file the pending documents without any additional fees or penalties on any delay. The said scheme was earlier valid till 30th September 2020 which was further extended to 31st December 2020.

However, till December the impact of CoVid-19 was reduced but not nullified. Offices of many companies and professionals had to work with reduced staff and also had to face lockdowns in few states. Due to this the accounts of the business could not be finalized even within the extended due dates. Apart from that, the due date for filing Income Tax Return was also 31st December, 2020. Hence, it was difficult to comply with both the compliance on the same due date. To add to the difficulties, the form for filing annual compliance was changed on the last date of filing by the department. The registration of Class-2 Digital Signature was also valid till 31st December. Thus, we can see that there were many due dates for 31st December which almost made impossible to comply with every single compliance requirement.

Tax Bar Association, Guwahati has requested for Extension of Companies Fresh Start Scheme and LLP Settlement Scheme till 31st March 2021. The original text of representation can be found below:

Tax Bar Association
(Registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860)
Sreeram Market, 2nd Floor
Chatribari, Guwahati 781001 (Assam)
Email: taxbarghy1977@gmail.com

Date: 21st December, 2020

To

Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman
Hon’ble Minister of Finance & Minister of Corporate Affairs,
New Delhi

Hon’ble Madam,

Subject: Request for Extension of Companies Fresh Start Scheme i.e. CFSS 2020 and LLP Settlement Scheme 2020 (“Schemes”)

Tax Bar Association, Guwahati (hereinafter referred to as “TBA”) is one of the oldest professional bodies of North East India which was established in the year of 1977 comprising of Advocates, Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, Cost Accountants & Tax Consultants as its members. TBA is working dedicatedly and continuously for the benefits of the Professionals, Trade & Industry by way of imparting knowledgeable seminars & webinars by various experts in Industry. As on this day we have more than 450 professionals & tax practitioners associated with us from all over North-East India.

We believe in taking all the requisite steps and actions to ensure smooth & complete tax and other statutory compliances by the stakeholders. We always believe in helping professionals in resolving genuine grievances & effective implementation of law. We wish to bring to your kind notice the following problems being faced by Companies, its directors and professionals associated with them due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant need to further extend the Schemes.

We appreciate the efforts of the Government for the manner in which this pandemic has been tackled and country is saved from community transmission phase of pandemic. We congratulate and applaud the efforts of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India for introducing the Schemes vide General Circular No. 12/2020 General Circular No. 13/2020 dated 30.03.2020 with a view to bestow a chance to all the Companies to complete their pending compliances without the requirement of paying additional fees and penalty, and also to provide immunity from prosecution.

We also highly appreciate the extension of time provided by the Ministry vide General Circular No. 30/2020 General Circular No. 31/2020 dated 28.09.2020 for the Schemes upto 31st December, 2020. This is a major step in the right direction from the Government which provides an excellent opportunity for all the Companies to regularize their pending compliances and to make a fresh beginning with a clean slate in the statutory compliances as required under Companies Act, 1956 and Companies Act, 2013.

Considering the wide spread outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic, the Government of India had imposed lockdown throughout the nation from 22ndMarch, 2020. Although the Government of India has taken various steps towards gradual unlocking of the country in phase wise manner, but the severity & fear of Novel Corona Virus is not yet reduced.

With a fear of getting infected with the virus, people are hesitant to travel and during lockdown work from home has also become a new normal especially in service sector. During lockdown many people who have migrated to their native place have not returned back to join their duties/offices due to various reasons. Due to restrictions in free movement of people and vehicles are still in place, several industries and private offices are still not able to resume functioning to their full capacity and are still struggling to function at a certain level of normalcy. This also includes the offices of the Company Secretaries, Chartered Accountants and various other professionals.

Most of the professional offices are forced to operate with reduced number of staff due to corona related health issues. Access to client data is not available easily. The details required for preparing required documents, forms and filing of the same with Registrar of Companies (“RoC”) is taking more than twice the average time it usually takes for completion of the assignment. Further, obtaining required information and compiling the same for filing requires more time and efforts by the professionals more so when the professional takes the responsibility about the correctness and fairness of the data submitted.

Moreover, various due dates are falling on 31st December, 2020 including filing of tax audit report under Income Tax Act and considering the limitations & restrictions in place are making it more difficult for the Companies and the professionals to comply with the present extended due dates. We have been approached by many directors of various companies and our professional members expressing their concerns at the difficulties being faced due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Various concerns were raised by the directors and professionals of struck off companies where the filing of required forms could not be done unless and until an order from Honorable National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”) is obtained for revival of the company and the same is filed with the jurisdictional RoC for making the necessary changes in the Company Master Data on the MCA portal. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working of the NCLT also remained at halt for a long period. Albeit the services of NCLT has resumed in a phased manner and hearings are taking place through Video Conferencing (“VC”) still the situation is far from normal and the NCLT has listed hearings of various revival matters after the expiry of the Schemes.

In view of above genuine hardships & difficulties being faced by the Professionals as well as by the Trade and Industry, we hereby request your good office to kindly consider our request to extend the due dates of Schemes to 31st March, 2021.

We will be highly obliged and appreciate if a timely and prompt decision (well before the present extended date) is taken in this matter.

We look forward for your kind consideration to our genuine request.

For Tax Bar Association

CA. Gopal Singhania 
President
Ph : 93650-09126; 98640-95646

CS. Narayan Sharma
Corporate Affairs Committee Chairman
Ph : 94350-18319; 70023-55913

Copy to:

1) Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi;

2) Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance and Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi;

3) The Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi;

4) The Regional Director, North Eastern Region, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, Guwahati;

5) The Registrar of Companies, North Eastern Region, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, Guwahati;

The professionals from across the country have demanded an extension in CFSS Scheme on various digital platforms especially Twitter where a trend of #extendCFSS has gone viral. The hopes are high and we genuinely anticipate an extension in CFSS Scheme.