5 Major Compliance Due Dates for Start-ups

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As a business owner, there are two dates that are of absolute importance to you. September 30 and October 30. The first because it’s the due date for filing the Income Tax Return for your company, the latter as it is the due date for filing the annual financial statements with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).

These dates are more crucial if you are a VC/Angel funded startup or are on the lookout for such a investment as a pre-requisite for this is a zero non-compliance business environment.

There are many startups that dies in the first couple of years, at times months, due to various reasons. Additionally, there are many such startups that think that they have no business transactions and/or have incurred losses, which means they are not to file taxes. That is not true and in reality, every company/Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) has to comply with five basic compliances irrespective of its business situation. Let’s take a look at them:

Accounting and Book Keeping

One of the worst nightmares of businessmen is recording the transactions and preserving bills and invoices to back financial statements. Avoiding this leads to serious repercussions. For example, at the time of incorporation, a company pays the registration fees, name approval fees and stamp duty to RoC. In addition to this, the company’s promoters also hire a professional firm to guide them through the entire incorporation procedure, which again involves cash outflow.

The expenditures that are incurred, irrespective of them being pre-incorporation in nature, provide tax-saving benefits to the company. This benefit may be to the extent of almost one-fifth of such expenses in the first year.

Additionally, invoices that carry break-ups of VAT and service tax are a boon with respect to claiming credit for both. It is imperative that the company keeps records of all expenses that have been made specifically for business purposes since these are liable for deduction against revenues. Even if one does not make profits but ends up making losses, it is still advisable to maintain records of the same.

Penalty for Non-Compliance
In case of non-compliance, persons responsible shall, in respect of each offence, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than Rs. 50,000 but which may extend to Rs. 5,00,000 or both in case of companies.

Income Tax Return Filing

The most authentic proof of income earned is the due filing of income tax return. However, there are still many who do not file it as they are unaware of the procedure thus required. Many startups tend to appoint a tax consultant to help them get various benefits of filing a tax return on time. But many do not file tax returns as they are unaware of the procedure. Startups should appoint a tax consultant who will help them avail the benefits of filing tax return in time. Some of the benefits include:

1. Filing timely returns will save one from the assessments of income by the income tax officials.
2. A business suffering losses can take it forward and then set it off with future profits.
3. For making an investment, filing income tax return on time is essential.
4. Once the income tax return is filed, tax refunds can be claimed.

The due date for filing this return is September 30 each year. However, it is imperative to note that if your business works in tandem with transfer pricing provisions, this due date changes to November 30 each year.

Penalty for Non-Compliance:

Late filing of return will attract interest u/s 234A i.e. if the assessee fails to file income tax return within the time prescribed by Section 139, he/she shall be liable to pay interest at one per cent per month or part of the month from the due date of filing of return to the actual date of filing of its return. In addition to this, a penalty can be levied up to Rs. 5,000 for non-filing of tax returns us 271F.

However, please note that the year has to close on March 31 each year for the purpose of filing income tax filings. For that purpose, you only need to file a simple format of Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet with the department. Post that you can prepare the return and file it within the due date.

Statutory Audit Compliances

Companies are supposed to get their accounts audited annually. Also, those LLPs having a turnover of more than Rs 40 lakh or Rs 25 lakh contribution in any financial year are required to get their accounts audited annually as per the LLP Act.

The LLP Act provides that the partners of such LLP if decided not to get audit of the accounts of the LLP then such LLP shall include in the Statement of Account and Solvency a statement by the partners to the effect that the partners acknowledge their responsibilities for complying with the requirements of the Act and the Rules with respect to preparation of books of account and a certificate in the Form 8. No such exception is provided to companies.

ROC Compliances

Every company, irrespective of having a share capital or not and LLP has to file its financial reports with the corporate affairs ministry on an annual basis. It constitutes a component of ‘Annual RoC Filing’ mandated by Companies Act, 2013. As a part of annual filing, Companies incorporated under the Companies Act 2013, are required to file the following e-forms with the RoC:

1. Form 23AC is to be filed for balance sheet which is applicable to all companies unless there is a special class of the same.
2. Form 23ACA is to be filed for the purpose of filing the profit and loss account.
3. Form 20B is for filing annual returns by companies having share capital.

Penal Provisions:

The penal provisions under the RoC are strict, and enough that there have been companies that have shut down because of the same. The additional fees can be as high as up to a staggering 12 times of what the normal fees is. Also, please note that there are certain provisions that have huge penalties on a per day basis on officers and companies too.

Companies Act 2013 also has provisions of hard crust penalties like imprisonment of company directors on grounds of severe non-compliance.

As a part of Annual Filing, LLPs are required to file the following e-forms with the RoC:

1. Form 8 is to be filed for the purpose of statement and solvency.
2. Form 11 is to be filed as regards to annual returns of a LLP.

Penal Provisions for Limited Liability Companies

Surprisingly, there are no slabs for LLPs in case of late filing fee. With respect to this, the rule of computation is Rs 100 per day of the delay in requisite filing. The number of days of delay in filing is calculated from the due date of filing to the actual filing date.

We’ve time and again mentioned that these compliances have to be adhered to properly and on time, irrespective of whatever business situation you are in. if one does not comply, the repercussions of the same can also lead to a full-fledged shutting down of the company in question.

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A lawyer with 14 years' experience, Vikram has worked with several well-known corporate law firms before joining Vakilsearch.

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