By Dibisha Mishra (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
There has been a series of changes brought in by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) in recent years to bring in better transparency, easier compliance and weed out hurdles in the way of Ease of doing Business. In furtherance of the same, MCA vide notification dated 29th March, 2019, notified Companies (Incorporation) Third Amendment Rules, 2019 (hereinafter referred to as “Amended Rules”)[i] which has upgraded the existing SPICe form with a view to bring in a single window system for making application under GST, Employees Provident Fund Organization (‘EFPO’) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (‘ESIC’).
These additional services are being catered via e-form INC-35 named as ‘AGILE’ which shall be linked with SPICe (e-form INC-32) during filing with MCA. It is to be noted that though linking of the form is mandatory, option of availing the aforementioned services is left to the applicant. The company can very well choose the services which it wishes to avail.
The main features along with the technicalities of the incorporation process prior to the Amended Rules have been covered in our earlier article[ii]. This write up covers the highlights of AGILE along with a brief discussion on some practical aspects.
Consolidation of various registrations for a new company
The main intent behind introducing AGILE is to avoid repetitive submission of the same documents/details while making application under GSTIN, EPFO and ESIC thereby giving a further boost to the Ease of doing Business in India initiative. Before such introduction of AGILE Form, following were a few practical hardships faced by companies:
- Issues pertaining to submission of separate application under GST, EPFO and ESIC;
- Above applications could be made only after company’s incorporation process is complete. Hence one had to wait for receipt of Certificate of Incorporation for making application, and then further time was required for the applications to get approved.
Separate application under GST, EPFO and ESIC
Prior to the Amended Rules, companies had to seek registration under GST, EPFO and ESIC separately. The documents that companies are required to provide for application under the respective authorities separately are mainly Certificate of Incorporation, PAN, TAN and other details/documents that are also provided at the time of incorporation. Hence, to avoid repetitive submission of same documents with various authorities, AGILE is introduced which in addition to documents/details provided in it can extract the required documents/details from its linked forms (i.e., SPICe, e-MOA and e-AOA) and submit the same to the respective authority.
Application before Incorporation
Promoters wishing to make application under GST, EPFO or ESIC are no more required to wait for issuance of Certificate of Incorporation since the same is made along with the application for incorporation. Once the company is incorporated at MCA portal and COI and PAN has been successfully generated, required information will be automatically forwarded to the respective authorities for its processing. Hence the time-gap between company incorporation and application under GST, EPFO and ESIC is reduced to minimum.
Route-map of Company Incorporation process
Few subsisting practical difficulties
- Insufficient size capacity: Consolidated application might sound making things easier, but at the same time linking more and more forms makes the upload size bulkier. The maximum size for uploading forms with MCA still remains 6 MB due to which aggregate size of all the linked forms under the maximum limit becomes comparatively difficult after introduction of AGILE. In such cases, the scan quality of uploaded documents gets compromised.
- Registered office compulsory for AGILE: Companies which do not have a registered office at the time of Incorporation cannot apply for GSTIN with AGILE, since AGILE will only accept the address provided in SPICe.
- Principal office has to be same as registered office: Companies wishing to have principal place of business different from that of registered office can not avail the service under AGILE.
- GST Portal has to be visited in case GST application is sent back for resubmission: In case GST application is sent for resubmission, the same has to be done through GST portal by logging in with the TRN generated and if TRN gets expired, fresh application has to be filed under GST portal only.
- Does not cover other common registrations like Professional Tax and trade license: While this initiative brought in by MCA is worth of being appreciated, a few other services like application for trade license and professional Tax registration still remains outside its purview.
To conclude we can say that the initiative brought in by the MCA is definitely beneficial to the stakeholders. However considering the bulkiness of the forms, MCA should increase the maximum size limit for uploading forms otherwise instead of the form being beneficial, the size limit will impose more of a burden on the stakeholders.
Presently, AGILE is very new and the extent to which it justifies itself is yet to be seen. We are of the view that if the few practical difficulties mentioned above are looked into by MCA and changes are incorporated accordingly, the form shall definitely prove more fruitful.
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