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NEW DELHI : The ministry of corporate affairs is set to introduce a revamped version of its compliance portal MCA21 by March, making a host of statutory filings easier and offering features such as auto-filling of fields.

The idea is to use technology to handle returns and disclosures filed by firms and limited liability partnerships (LLPs), making it easier for officials to oversee compliance and improve ease of doing business, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The ministry expects the improved systems to help in quicker data analysis and spotting compliance-related trends of over 1.4 million active companies and over 220,000 limited liability partnerships. Detecting trends in the industry early on, say of auditors quitting their assignments, is expected to give the ministry an edge in regulatory oversight and policymaking. The ministry is also building a team of researchers to look into trends in compliance.

The government’s extensive use of technology in the goods and services tax (GST) administration is already yielding results, helping field officers zero in on tax evasion, fake invoices and transactions involving shell companies with precision. On the income tax side, technology has helped in rolling out faceless assessment and adjudication. The new e-filing portal has also enabled the tax department to remind taxpayers of transactions made in the previous year to help file returns accurately without omitting taxable income.

The new version of MCA21 will link up with the systems of other financial and corporate sector regulators, exchange data and raise red flags for scrutiny in case of erring companies. In addition, when needed, it will enable the ministry to hold compliance enforcement drives and automate electronic notices to defaulters.

“The MCA 21 version 3 will offer a new user experience. It will offer auto-filling and auto-checking features. Some rule changes may be necessary. It would be rolled out by February-March," the person cited above said on condition of anonymity. L&T Infotech, the company that is executing the project, is conducting field trials, the person added.

Experts said features like pre-filling and web-based forms would offer greater comfort for stakeholders in meeting day-to-day compliances but it should also have the facility to remind businesses of their key obligations to stay on the right side of law. “The revamped MCA 21 portal should have a mechanism to send alerts for periodic compliances and event-based compliances in advance to all companies especially small enterprises where a company secretary is not appointed so that the appropriate officers or directors of the company can comply with the provision of the law in its true letter and spirit," said Rachit Sharma, deputy general manager of Taxmann, a publisher of law books.

Another key feature is the window for entirely electronic adjudication of defaults and disputes. The government has decriminalized several technical and procedural company law offences and has allowed in-house adjudication by registrars of companies and regional directors without having to approach the national company law tribunal. The LLP Act, too, has been amended to decriminalize 12 provisions, which will soon get notified. E-adjudication through the MCA21 portal is expected to help in reducing the caseload in NCLT benches.

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