Recent Amendments to the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014

By Husain Kader

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has issued a recent notification dated 16th October, 2019 notifying the Companies (Incorporation) Eight Amendment Rules, 2019 to amend the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014.

The amendments are summarised below:

Sr No. Particulars Erstwhile Provision After Amendment Remarks
1. Undesirable Names


Rule 8A

Earlier if the name of the proposed company included a registered trademark then approval from the owner or the applicant for registration of trademark had to be obtained by the promoters of the proposed company before making name application to ROC. Now the option to get approval from the applicant for registration of trademark has been removed.


Now approval has to be obtained from the owner only.

The Owner and applicant for registration of trademark could be two different persons and therefore earlier there was an option.


Now the rule has been made more stringent and the approval of the present owner is necessary.

2. Active Company Tagging Identities and Verification (ACTIVE)


Rule 25A

Earlier if a company was marked as ACTIVE-non-compliant than unless e-Form ACTIVE was filed the company was not able request for any changes in director information by filing Form DIR-12 except in case of cessation. Now if a company is marked as ACTIVE-non-compliant than it will not be able to request for any changes in director information except in the following cases:


1.   cessation of any director; or

2.   appointment of directors in a company where total number of directors fall below the minimum limit as provided in the Act on disqualification of all or any of the director; or

3.   appointment of any director in such company where DINs of all or any of its director(s) have been deactivated; or

4.   appointment of director(s) for implementation of the order passed by the Court or Tribunal or Appellate Tribunal.

MCA has liberalized the ACTIVE rule to allow changes to be made to the information of directors to allow appointment or cessation of directors where it becomes absolutely necessary  in cases which may  lead to non-functioning of the Board of Directors of a company or non-compliance of the Companies Act.
3. Shifting of registered office within the same State


Rule 28

After amendment the MCA has added the following rules to the present provisions:


1.   The Regional Director (“RD”) shall examine the application seeking confirmation from the RD for shifting the registered office within the same State from the jurisdiction of one ROC to another ROC and the application may be put up for orders without hearing and the order either approving or rejecting the application shall be passed within 15 days of the receipt of application complete in all respects; and


2.   The certified copy of order of the RD, approving the alternation of MOA for transfer of registered office company within the same State, shall be filed in Form No. INC-28 along with fee with the Registrar of State within 30 days from the date of receipt of certified copy of the order.

The Rule has been made more stringent by the MCA whereby now an order shall be passed by the RD after examination of all the submitted documents and such order shall have to be filed in Form INC-28 (which is an added compliance to be followed) for shifting of registered office.


Important Update – Annual Filings


As per a recent notification dated October 29, 2019, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) has provided relief to the stakeholders by relaxing additional fees and extending the last date of filing for the following for the financial year which ended on March 31, 2019 to:

  1. Filing of forms for financial statements – November 30, 2019; and
  2. Filing of annual returns – December 31, 2019.

On failure to file the forms by the above due dates, an additional fees of INR 100/- per day for each day of default will become applicable.

CBDT issues clarifications regarding unabsorbed depreciation and unutilised MAT credit for companies opting for concessional tax rates


The Government of India recently announced significant reduction in corporate tax rates through The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 (‘Ordinance’). The Ordinance provides for a reduced tax rate of 22% for existing domestic companies and 15% for newly set up manufacturing companies. The taxpayer has the option to opt for lower tax rate or to continue under the existing tax regime and avail existing deductions and set-off of losses.

The Ordinance also provides that Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) shall not apply to any taxpayer opting to be governed by these lower tax rates. One of the conditions for availing the lower tax rates is that the taxpayer shall not be eligible to set-off brought forward tax losses against its taxable income.

The drafting of the Ordinance left open certain key questions. The CBDT through Circular No. 29/2019 dated 2 October 2019, has sought to clarify the following two questions:

  • Whether taxpayers will be eligible to set-off unabsorbed depreciation against taxable income of FY 2019-20 and subsequent years?
  • What will be the position of unutilised MAT credit since the provisions of MAT no longer apply to taxpayers opting for concessional tax rates


Clarification 1:

A company opting for the lower tax rates shall not be eligible to set-off any brought forward business loss on account of additional depreciation

Key Takeaway:

The Clarification provided by the CBDT, with due respect, appears misplaced. Denial of benefit of unabsorbed depreciation will require an amendment in section 32(2) which can be carried out only by approval from the Parliament of India or a Presidential Ordinance and not by the CBDT through issuance of Circular. Therefore, to that extent, the Circular No. 29/2019 may be considered as ultra-vires the powers of CBDT and may not survive judicial review. Please refer the subsequent paragraphs for a discussion on this aspect.

It is pertinent to note that the restriction is only on set-off of unabsorbed additional depreciation. The set-off of normal depreciation should continue unabated

Be that as it may, taxpayers opting to be governed by the Circular will have to carry out active number- crunching to determine the component of unabsorbed additional depreciation comprised in brought forward depreciation

Our reasoning:

  1. The restrictions provided under the newly inserted section 115BAA(2) has three clauses, as under:
  • Clause (i) prohibits claiming specified deductions, including additional
  • Clause (ii) prohibits set-off of brought forward tax losses relating to deductions under Clause (i)
  • Clause (iii) provides for claim of current year depreciation in such manner as may be prescribed

It is a settled position under the Income Tax Act, 1961 (Act) that depreciation is an allowance and not a deduction. Therefore, the restriction under Clause (ii) dealing with losses relating to deductions referred in Clause (i) should not cover additional depreciation.


  1. Under section 32(2) of the Act, unabsorbed depreciation is treated as depreciation of the current year and can be carried forward indefinitely to be set-off against taxable income of future years. As such, when the taxpayer off-sets unabsorbed depreciation, technically, the taxpayer claims off-set of the current year depreciation and not of a brought forward loss. Therefore, any restrictions on brought forward losses should not apply to brought forward depreciation


  1. It is also an established position that unabsorbed tax losses are different than unabsorbed A case in point is the provisions of section 79 of the Act which deny benefit of brought forward losses to closely held companies in cases of change in control. Courts have held that section 79 would not apply to brought forward unabsorbed depreciation as depreciation is not a loss.
  2. The CBDT can issue Circulars only for administrative and procedural guidance. A Circular cannot amend or restrict the operation of the law. It is pertinent to note that the clarification is provided by the CBDT by way of a Circular and has not been announced through a Supplementary Ordinance.


Clarification 2:

A company opting for the lower tax rates shall not be eligible to set-off unutilised MAT credit

Key Takeaway:

Since the provisions of MAT do not apply to taxpayers opting for the lower tax rates, any unutilised MAT credit available with these companies up to 31st March 2019 shall lapse. This could require writing-off of unutilised MAT credit as an expense to the Profit and Loss Account, impacting the Profit after Tax.

This provision, in effect, will make the MAT paid in earlier years a final tax payment. However, since an option has been provided to the taxpayer of not opting for the concessional tax rate and utilise the MAT credit, a constitutional challenge to this clarification may not survive


The changes made by the Ordinance and this recent clarification present a strong case for the taxpayers and tax advisors to sit together for carrying out a tax review of existing business operations to ascertain whether any tax optimisation avenues exist and what would be the opportune time for the taxpayer to opt for the lower headline tax rate of 22%

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The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2019 (“OSHW”), introduced by the Ministry of Labour and Employment introduces provisions allowing companies to have a single registration, which will be coupled with a single licence, along with a single return, for executing projects for five years involving contract workers, across the country.

An establishment will require a single registration instead of around 10 required to be done for all labour laws, a move that may help India bolster its “ease of doing business” ranking. Significantly, the Code on OSHW will cover all establishments hiring at least 10 workers, including those in services sector, thereby bringing the information technology sector within its ambit.

Employers will have to create a security deposit with the government at the time of obtaining such licence and specify the number of contract workers it might require. In case an employer wants to hire more contract workers, it will have to go back to the government to renew the licence and make an additional deposit.

In a further bid to improve ease of doing business, the Centre has proposed assigning “inspector-cum-facilitators” outside their jurisdiction “through randomised computer system”.

The provision of one licence and one return in place of multiple licences and returns in existing 13 labour laws subsumed in this Code is intended to save time, resources and efforts of businesses.

Fundraised from Foreign Investors? Ensure You Don’t miss this Filing with RBI!

Which companies are eligible to file the Form FLA?

Every Indian company and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) which have received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and/or made Overseas Direct Investments (ODI) in the previous year(s), including the current year are required to file Annual Return on Foreign Liabilities and Assets (“Form FLA”) with RBI on or before July 15th every year.

The Form FLA has to be also filed in a case where a company/LLP has not received any fresh FDI and/or ODI in the current year but has outstanding FDI and/or ODI from previous years.

In case where the company/LLPs financial statements are unaudited before the due date of submission of Form FLA, the return is required to be submitted on the basis of such unaudited (provisional) financial statements. Once the accounts get audited and there are revisions from the provisional information submitted, the company/LLP’s will be required to submit a revised return by September 30th.

The following companies are excluded from submitting FLA return:

  1. Where Indian company/LLP does not have any outstanding investment in respect of inward and outward FDI as on the end of March of the reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  2. If a company/LLP has received only share application money and does not have any foreign direct investment or overseas direct investment outstanding as on the end of March of the reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  3. If all non-resident shareholders of a company/LLP has transferred their shares to the residents during the reporting period and the company/LLP does not have any outstanding investment in respect of inward and outward FDI as on the end of March of reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  4. If shares are issued by reporting company to non-resident on Non-Repatriable basis, then it should not be considered as a foreign investment; therefore, companies which have issued the shares to non-resident only on Non-Repatriable basis, are not required to submit the Form FLA.

How does one submit the Form FLA?

The format of Form FLA can be found here. The filled form along with any attachment has to be mailed to [email protected] by the due date. The email has to be sent from the official email id of any authorized person in the company/LLP, such as CFO, Director, Company Secretary, etc.  Acknowledgment will be received from RBI on the same email id from which the form is sent.

If one is incorporated as a private limited company does he need to get a trade license from the municipality?

Trade license is permission granted in form of a certificate by State government to carry on any business/trade for which it is issued. Trade license is regulated to ensure that the citizen is not adversely affected by Health Hazard & Nuisance by the improper carrying of a trade.

The trade license is a means to ensure that the manner and locality in which the business is being carried on is according to the relevant rules, standards and safety guidelines. It is issued by the municipal corporation of the place where business is located. A trade license is a permission to carry on a specific trade or business at the premises for which it has been issued. Any unauthorized running of trade is an offense which may result in a substantial penalty and subsequent prosecution.

The business owners must apply for trade license is required in particular area without any delay. An application must be made before the commencement of the activity. However, some state governments allow up to 3 months’ time to seek a trade license. License once issued requires periodical renewal on annual basis. Application for renewal must be filed at least 30 days before expiry of license.

As per shops and establishment act, it is mandatory for three kinds of business:

1. All the eating establishments like hotels, restaurants, canteen, food stall, bakeries, the sale of vegetables, meat, provisions store, etc.

2. Trades which use motives like manufacturing industries, factories, power looms, flour mills, cyber cafe, etc.

3. Offensive and dangerous trades like a barber shop, dhobi shop, timber wood, sale of firewood, candle manufacturer, cracker manufacturer, etc.

Documents required for obtaining trade license:

1. Pan card of the establishment in case of company, LLP or Firm;

2. Canceled Cheque and bank statement of the establishment;

3. Certificate of Incorporation, MOA, and AOA of the company or LLP/ Partnership Agreement as the case may be;

4. Premises proof of the establishment in the form of Sale Deed, Electricity Bill/water bill and NOC from the owner;

5. Colour photograph, Pan card and ID Proof and Address Proof of all Directors/ Partners;

6. Photograph of the establishment with the display of goods traded from the premises; and

7. Site/Key plan showing the area under the occupation of the applicant earmarking the neighborhood of the site.

Is it mandatory to have audited balance sheet for a newly formed private limited company?

A private limited company is the most popular form of starting a business, there are various compliances which are required to be followed once a private limited company is incorporated including getting the balance sheet audited by the statutory auditors of the Company.

Every newly formed private limited company is required to appoint first statutory auditors of the Company, within 30 days of incorporation and in case of failure of the board to appoint such auditor, it shall inform the members of the Company who shall within 90 days at an extraordinary general meeting appoint such statutory auditor who shall hold the office till the conclusion of the first annual general meeting.

Every private limited company is required to file its balance sheet along with a statement of profit and loss account and director report within 30 days of holding of the annual general meeting.

Thus it is mandatory for every newly incorporated company to get its balance sheet audited and hold its first AGM within nine months from the closure of the financial year of the company and thereafter within six months from the closure of the financial year of the company.