Limited Company – General Points

Annual Accounts
Companies Act does not prescribe the books of accounts required to be maintained by a company. It, however, provides that the same should be kept on accrual basis and according to the double entry system of accounting and should be such as may be necessary to give a true and fair state of affairs of the company.
It requires every company to maintain proper books of account with respect to the following:
# All sums of money received and expended and the matters in respect of which the receipt and expenditure take place
# All sales and purchases of goods by the company
# The assets and liabilities of the company
# In case of companies engaged in manufacturing, processing, mining etc, such particulars relating to utilization of material or labour or other items of cost.
The first annual accounts of a newly incorporated company should be drawn from the date of its incorporation upto to the day not preceding the AGM date by more than 9 months. Thereafter, the accounts should be drawn from date of last account upto the day not preceding the AGM date by more than 6 months subject to the extension of the time limit in certain cases. The accounts of the company must relate to a financial year (comprising of 12 months) but must not exceed 15 months. The company can obtain an extension of the accounting period to the extent of 18 months by seeking a prior permission from the ROC.
The annual accounts must be filed with the ROC within 30 days from the date on which the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company was held or where the AGM is not held, then within 30 days of the last date on which the AGM was required to be held.
Books of accounts to be kept by company
Every profit and loss account and balance sheet of the company (together referred to as financial statements) is required to comply with the accounting standards issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. Any deviations from the accounting standards, including the reasons and consequent financial effect, is required to be disclosed in the financial statements.
The responsibility for the preparation of financial statements on a going concern basis is that of the management. The management is also responsible for selection and consistent application of appropriate accounting policies, including implementation of applicable accounting standards along with proper explanation relating to any material departures from those accounting standards. The management is also responsible for making judgements and estimates that are reasonable and prudent so as to give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the entity at the end of the financial year and of the profit or loss of the entity for that period.
Annual Return
Every company having a share capital is required to file an annual return with the ROC within 60 days from the date on which the AGM of the company was held or where the AGM is not held, then within 60 days of the last date on which the AGM was required to be held.
Depreciation
The company law in India permits the use of depreciation rates according to the nature of the classes of assets. Assets can be depreciated either on the basis of straight-line method (based on the estimated life of the asset) or on the basis of reducing balance method. The law prescribes the minimum rates of depreciation. A company may, however, provide for a higher rate of depreciation, based on a bona-fide evaluation of the asset. Adequate disclosure in the annual accounts must be made in this regard.
Dividend
There is no limit on the rate of dividend but there are certain conditions prescribed with regard to computation of profits that can be distributed as dividend. Generally, no dividend can be paid for any financial year except out of the profits of that year after making an adequate provision for depreciation subject to certain conditions.
Dividends may also be distributed out of accumulated profits.
Repatriation of profits
A company has to retain a maximum of 10% of the profits as reserves before the declaration of dividends. These reserves, inter alia, can be subsequently converted into equity by way of issue of bonus shares. Dividends are freely repatriable once the investment approval is granted.
Imposition of taxes
Currently, domestic companies are taxable at the rate of 35.875% (inclusive of surcharge of 2.5%) on its taxable income. Foreign companies are taxed at a marginally higher rate of 41% (including surcharge of 2.5%). However, in case where the income tax liability of the company under the provisions of the domestic tax laws works out to less than 7.5% of the book profits (derived after making the necessary adjustments), a Minimum Alternate Tax of 7.6875% (including a surcharge of 2.5%) on the book profits, would be payable. Domestic companies are required to pay a dividend distribution tax of 12.8125% (including surcharge of 2.5%) on the dividends distributed during the year.
Companies are required to withhold tax under the domestic law from certain payments including salaries paid to employees, interest, professional fee, payments to contractors, commission, winnings from games / lottery / horse races etc. Moreover, taxes have to be withheld from all payments made to non-residents at the lower of rates specified under the domestic law or under the applicable tax treaty, if any.

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