A saying goes “Geography does not define you - love does”, but the recent Amendment issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs defines the company by its geographical location.
On 21st February 2019, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (Ministry) has come up with geotagging of the registered office of every company in India.
As a part of the geotagging – where a company is required to provide the latitude and longitude of its registered office in a return to be filed with the Registrar of Companies, the following additional details are also required to be given
(i) Details of the directors / key managerial personnel.
(ii) Details of the statutory auditor of the company.
(iii) Details of the cost auditor (if applicable)
(iv) Photographs of the registered office, both inside and outside along with one director / KMP in the photograph.
Companies are required to file the above information sought by 25th April 2019, failing which a fee of INR 10,000/- is required to be paid.
There have been earlier instances where fraudulent companies had filed with the Registrar, the address of their registered office in buildings under construction, and other connected locations. This led to the Registrar mandating any of the following documents to be filed, while intimating the location of their registered office:
(a) title deeds of the premises of the registered office, if the premises is owned by the company; or
(b) where premises is taken on lease, a notarized copy of lease/rent agreement along with a copy of rent paid receipt not older than one month;
(c) where there is no agreement for lease/rent,
(i) a letter of authorisation from the owner or authorised occupant of the premises along with proof of ownership or occupancy authorisation, to use the premises by the company as its registered office; and
(ii) the proof of evidence of any utility service like telephone, gas, electricity, etc. depicting the address of the premises in the name of the owner or document, as the case may be, which is not older than two months.
GEOTAGGING AND MINISTRY OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS:
The Government had in 2017 used data mining and struck off about one hundred thousand companies, from the Register. In the last few years the government is leveraging technology and geotagging has been used to tag various assets created under different welfare schemes of the government. There have been instances of houses built under welfare schemes which have been geotagged and few state governments have even geotagged trees planted under certain schemes. The present move of geotagging is expected to curb shell companies and going forward it will stop the proliferation of companies which have been used for money laundering.