Every company and Limited Liability Partnership registered in India is required to file annual returns by October-end every year, detailing their balance sheet, ownership details and other relevant details with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
This year, the deadlines were immediately after Diwali. To make matters worse, the MCA portal failed to accept the returns or threw up errors.
The official Twitter handle of the MCA shrugged off responsibility, saying these may be “intermittent issues” which started just two days before the due date and continued even after.
This claim is partially true as the V2—the old version in which companies’ filings are accepted—was working till Diwali. But V3, the latest version in which LLPs are supposed to file returns, wasn’t.
Such issues with the MCA portal are not new. Most tax professionals felt that the high load that the website is facing is causing the site to break down.
Generally, every year, the portal does not support filing during the due dates. Knowing its limitations, the MCA used to extend the deadlines to give users more time to file the returns and distribute the load over the next few weeks.
While this year, the Finance Ministry extended the due dates for ITR cases, users were expecting a similar relaxation for MCA filings as well so that the load on the site can be managed effectively.
Given the significance of the matter, the Institute of Company Secretaries of India had sent three official representations on and highlighting various issues being faced by users, as well as explaining the reasons for seeking the extension.
In separate representations, ICSI had also written to the MCA highlighting the challenges faced by stakeholders in using its newly launched V3 portal.
However, none of these representations were answered or acted upon and the MCA, despite knowing the limitations of its portal, decided not to grant any extensions for late filing of forms.
This approach led to an uproar among professionals and many CS have visited the Registrar of Companies offices of Jaipur, Chandigarh and Mumbai seeking extension.
Generally, the MCA does not communicate about this issue. But its T handle, in a bid to help professionals, has acknowledged that there are issues going on since Oct. 28.
However, it is learned that the MCA’s stand was that the website was working fine till Oct. 28, and the glitches in the last 2-3 days do not justify any extension as they expect stakeholders to be proactive and not wait till the last moment.
To counter claims of the portal not working, it also shared statistics of the number of returns filed this year compared to the previous year.