A new amnesty scheme – CLSS 2014 has been introduced by MCA. It is open until 15th October 2014.
The Scheme offers lower additional fee and also immunity from prosecution to the company and officers in default. This scheme is valid for filing of 8 forms – Form 20B, 21A, 23AC, 23ACA, 23AC-XBRL, 23ACA-XBRL, 23B and 66. These documents can be filed under the Scheme provided their due date was upto 30th June, 2014. CLSS 2014 is attractive particularly considering the benefits. The most important benefit it offers to directors is non-applicability of disqualification under section 164(2) for past defaults provided the defaults are made good by filing the documents under the Scheme.
Who gets Immunity for filing Form 23B?
Form 23B was to be filed by an auditor under the previous regime – Companies Act, 1956. Under the Companies Act, 2013, the responsibility of filing intimation of appointment of auditor has now shifted to the company and this intimation is to be in Form ADT-1. Form 23B was accordingly withdrawn effective 1st April, 2014.
Inclusion of this Form in the Scheme forced MCA to bring back this form on MCA portal for filing. There is no quarrel till this point.
The uncertainty relates to its filing and consequential immunity. The Scheme applies only to ‘defaulting companies’ and not to auditor. This raises a pertinent question that if the Scheme is not extended to auditors, how this form could be included in the Scheme.
Secondly, the immunity has to be applied by filing eForm CLSS and this form can only be filed by a company. This cannot be filed by the auditor.
Who gets Immunity under such a case?
Wake-up MCA and clarify this aspect!
Ashish Makhija: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are views based on my personal interpretation and should not be deemed as legal or professional advise on the subject. If relied upon, the author does not take any responsibility for any liability or non-compliance.