In a bid to identify shell companies and curb black money, the government is planning to make it mandatory for all companies and NGOs to get PAN (Permanent Account Number) at the time of incorporation. As per a Times of India report, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has proposed amendments to the Income-Tax Act as well as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in this regard and the government is looking at a mechanism under which any entity with cumulative transactions of over Rs 2 lakh annually will have to comply with the rule.
The government is also planning to make it mandatory for the key management personnel to submit Aadhaar at the time of registration of a company so that they could be easily tracked. The move will also help avoid the formation of benami companies, according to the TOI report.
It may be recalled that after the demonetisation of high-value notes, the government has taken various steps to identify and curb black money. For instance, as part of the government’s crackdown on shell companies, 2.1 lakh companies were deregistered earlier this month, while the government is keeping a close watch on the money laundering activities of the remaining 11 lakh active companies. Besides, the government has also drawn up a list of more than 1 lakh directors of various companies for disqualifying them under Section 164(2)(a) of the Companies Act, 2013 as on September 12, 2017.
Under Section 164, a director in a company that has not filed financial statements or annual returns for 3 financial years continuously would not be eligible for re- appointment in that company or any other firm for five years.
Signalling that more regulatory action is expected, the government is further analysing the data of the 2.09 lakh firms available with the Registrar of Companies (RoCs) to identify the directors and the significant beneficial interests behind these entities. Profiles of directors such as their background, antecedents and their role in the operations/functioning of these companies are also being compiled in collaboration with the enforcement agencies, said a PTI report.
Further, money laundering activities performed under the aegis of these companies are also under the scanner. The corporate affairs ministry has also identified professionals, chartered accountants, company secretaries and cost accountants associated with the defaulting companies.