FAST TRACK EXIT(FTE): FTE mode is an opportunity for defunct companies i.e. Companies not carrying any business, to strike off their names from Registrar Of Companies
Conditions For FTE:
1. The company should have Nil Assets and Liabilities.
2. The Company has not commenced any business activity or operation since incorporation or is not carrying over any business activity or operation for last one year before making application under FTE.
3. The company has closed its Bank Account.
4. The company shall disclose all pending litigations, if any involving the company while applying under FTE.
Documents Required to apply for FTE:
1. Affidavit to be given individually by the directors.
2. Indemnity Bond to be given individually by the directors.
3. Statement of Accounts duly certified by Practicing Chartered Accountant or statutory auditor of the company as the case may be.
4. Board Resolution stating strike off the name of the company under FTE mode.
5. Board resolution for closure of Bank Account.
Fast Track Exit Scheme
Companies Act, 2013 requires a Private Limited Company to comply with a lot of compliances, Many people who have incorporated their companies but are not doing any business are now thinking of closing down the companies because of the increased compliance and resultant costs involved.
The procedure to close down is dealt with by section 560 of the Companies Act’1956. The sections which deal with the closure of companies under the Companies Act’2013 have not yet been notified therefore the procedure to be followed is that given in section 560 of Companies Act’1956.
Under the fast track exit scheme the Companies can apply for closure.
Who can apply for closure?
As per section 560 of the Companies Act’1956, Any defunct company desirous to strike off its name from the register of Registrar of company can apply in Form FTE for strike off its name from the register maintained by ROC as per Guidelines for ‘FAST TRACK EXIT MODE’ issued vide General Circular No. 36/2011 dated 07.06.2011.
What is a defunct Company?
For the purpose of applying for the FTE scheme, a defunct company means a company which has:
• Nil asset and nil liability, and
• Not commenced any business or activity since incorporation or
• Not been carrying any business operation since last one year before making an application under Fast Track Exit Scheme.
Another new concept that has come into existence since the new Companies Act’2013 was enacted is the concept of Dormant Company.
(1) Where a company is formed and registered under this Act for a future project or to hold an asset or intellectual property and has no significant accounting transaction, such a company or an inactive company may make an application to the Registrar in such manner as may be prescribed for obtaining the status of a dormant company.
The first part of the definition covers the companies registered and formed under the Companies Act’2013 which have no significant accounting transactions but hold assets or are incorporated for a future project in which there are no transactions presently, such Companies can apply for dormant status.
The second part of the definition deals with Inactive Companies which is more relevant for companies incorporated before the enactment of the Companies Act’2013 i.e companies incorporated under the Companies Act’1956.
“inactive company” means a company which has not been carrying on any business or operation, or has not made any significant accounting transaction during the last two financial years, or has not filed financial statements and annual returns during the last two financial years;
“significant accounting transaction” means any transaction other than—
- payment of fees by a company to the Registrar;
- payments made by it to fulfil the requirements of this Act or any other law;
- allotment of shares to fulfil the requirements of this Act; and
- payments for maintenance of its office and records.
Let us dwell more on the concept of ‘Inactive Companies’.
‘Inactive Company’ means which is inactive i.e it has not been carrying on any business or the company has not made any significant transactions during the last two years or it has not filed annual returns for the last two financial years.
Therefore, the companies which are not carrying on business for the past few years can apply for ‘dormant status’. Also, a defaulting Company which has not filed annual returns and financial statements for two years or more can also apply for such status.
The dormant status is especially beneficial for companies which have no significant transactions presently and are not carrying on any business but they cannot be closed down due to holding of assets in the companies such as land, building etc. Ex: Construction companies, Real Estate Companies etc.
Dormant status is also beneficial for companies which are incorporated for undertaking a future project which will take place after sometime. These Companies can reduce compliance and costs by applying for dormant status till the time they become fully operational.
A system generated Certificate of status of a Dormant Company is issued by Registrar and sent to the user as an attachment to the email, after approval is granted. Once the form is approved the status of the company shall be changed to ‘Dormant under section 455’.
Conditions for applying for Dormant Status
- No inspection, inquiry, or investigation has been ordered or taken up against the company or no prosecution has been initiated against the company and pending under any court.
- The company does not have any public deposits or interest thereon outstanding for payment.
- There is no outstanding loan, secured or unsecured. If there are unsecured loans then consent of the lender should be obtained and enclosed along with the form.
- There should be no dispute or difference amongst the management or promoters of the company and a certificate to that effect is enclosed.
- The company does not have any outstanding tax dues either to central or state government or local authorities.
- The company has not defaulted in payment of its workmen’s dues;
- It is not a listed company.
Compliances by a dormant company:
- Minimum number of directors for dormant company: A dormant company shall have a minimum number of three directors in case of a public company, two directors in case of a private company and one director in case of a One Person Company.
- Return of dormant companies: A dormant company shall file a “Return of Dormant Company” annually, interalia, indicating financial position duly audited by a chartered accountant in practice in Form MSC-3 along with such annual fee as provided in the Companies (Registration Offices and Fees) Rules, 2014 within a period of thirty days from the end of each financial year. Provided that the company shall continue to file the return or returns of allotment and change in directors in the manner and within the time specified in the Act, whenever the company allots any security to any person or there is any change in the directors of the company.
- The Registrar on its own motion can also change the status of a company to dormant if it has not filed financial statements or annual returns for two financial years consecutively. The Registrar will do so only after giving the Company a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
- Proviso to Rule 8 of the Companies (Miscellaneous) Rules, 2014 says that a dormant company cannot remain as a dormant company for more than 5 consecutive financial years. If it remains so, then the Registrar shall commence the process of striking off the name of the company from the Records, i.e. the company will be removed. So maximum tenure for a dormant company is 5 consecutive financial years.
Therefore, to conclude we can say that the companies which are not carrying on any business and have no significant transactions can either apply for closure or for dormant status depending upon the long term plans of the company.