Don’t Let Your Company Miss the CRO Deadline!

October 27, 2015

Tomorrow, 28 October 2015 is the deadline for Companies Office (CRO) B1 returns for companies with an accounts year-end date of 31 December 2014.

If your company has prepared (or has yet to prepare) 2014 accounts, you must ensure your return is filed by tomorrow – at the latest.

If you haven’t filed, and your company’s annual return date (ARD) is before 30 September 2015, sadly you have already missed the boat.

CRO Filing Deadline

The smart course of action is to file the return online using the CRO’s CORE web filing facility. This buys you a further 28 days (ie up to 25 November next) to submit the Annual Return signature page and accounts to the CRO.

You can use this four-week period to prepare your company accounts and bring its CRO affairs up to date.

Once prepared, you can submit your accounts in paper form, or upload a PDF copy via the CORE system.

If you need to file a return by tomorrow, and don’t have access to CORE, you should immediately get in touch with an accountant with CORE access, and authorise them to file on your behalf.

If you miss the deadline, your company will be faced with late filing fees (€100, plus €3 per day) and the (costly) loss of audit exemption for 2 years, unless you successfully apply to the District Court for an extension of time – which involves its own costs.

The Endless Red Tape of the New Companies Act

September 7, 2015

The Companies Act 2014 came into operation on 1 June 2015 and involves massive changes to Irish Company Law.

The Companies Office (CRO) have, in response, issued a mind-boggling total of 38 Information Leaflets, on a range of topics from Company Incorporations to Liquidations, Receiverships and Examinerships – everything from cradle to grave company-wise as it were.

Where should you start in coming to terms with your obligations under the new Act?

Companies Act 2014

If you’re a company director or secretary, I recommend you start with Information Leaflet No. 36, Requirements for Directors  and Information Leaflet No. 16 The Company Secretary respectively.

And if you’re responsible for preparing and filing CRO annual returns and accounts, you will need a detailed knowledge of Information Leaflet No. 23, Annual Return and Financial Statement Requirements including Audit Exemption.

Unfortunately, this latter document, in common with its title, is rather a mouthful, as it contains 41 pages of detailed content and some 22,300 words.

But it’s essential reading as it covers all the key rules governing:

  • annual returns – particularly the crucial Annual Return Date (ARD) filing deadline.
  • the essential disclosures required in annual accounts.
  • audit exemption
  • audit reports
  • procedures for correction of errors and revisions to accounts.
  • group companies.

There’s an awful lot here for anyone to get to grips with, and the task is all the more daunting for an already busy company director, secretary or manager.

I’ve noted previously noted how the new Act has clearly failed in its objective of simplifying company administration and cutting red tape.

The sad irony is that companies, along with their directors and secretaries, will now be more dependent on professional advisors than ever before.

Companies Office Annual Report 2010 now online

August 19, 2011

The Companies Registration Office (CRO) Annual Report for 2010 has just been published online. It is a treasure trove of interesting statistics about Irish companies last year, and a fascinating insight into the state of Irish company administration.

Companies Registration Office Annual ReturnThe following points caught my eye.

  • At the end of 2010, some 185,000 companies were in existence in Ireland.
  • At that date, 88.3% of companies had an up-to-date filing record.This means that the remaining 11.7% were in arrears, and are all ineligible for Audit  Exemption.
  • The CRO processed 170,000 annual returns in 2010. Their busiest month was November, when they registered 32,000, so it would appear that large numbers of CRO returns are not filed until the end of the annual Revenue tax filing season. The normal CRO monthly average is 12,000 per month.
  • The CRO registered 28,089 new business names in 2010. Despite the recession, 10% more business names were registered in 2010 compared to 2009.
  • The CRO earned a total of €11.31m in later filing penalties in 2010. They expect this income to fall in 2010, as more companies file on time.
  • 93 companies were prosecuted for non-filing last year, with 49 convicted. These 49 convictions yielded €63,000 in fines, an average of €1,285 each. In this context, its worth noting that a company filing an annual return a year late will pay a maximum penalty of €1,200, 93% of the average penalty imposed by the courts for non-filing.  This unfortunately represents a scant incentive for companies to regularise their affairs and bring their CRO filings up to date.
  • 28 companies went into examinership in 2010. By year end, 15 had returned to normal trading, two had entered court liquidation and receivership, a further two had gone into receivership while the remaining nine continued in examinership.
  • A total of 2,403 liquidations were notified to the CRO last year. Nearly half (1,158) of these were Members Voluntary Liquidations, a similar number (1,124) were Creditors Voluntary liquidations, while the remaining 121 were Court Liquidations.
  • It is perhaps sobering to note that an average of 10 companies went into liquidation every working day in 2010.
  • A total of 6,287 companies were in liquidation at the end of 2010, a grim epitaph for a grim year for Ireland’s economy.

Changing a Company’s CRO Annual Return Date

January 23, 2010

Every Irish-registered limited company must file an annual return with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) each year.

If you own or manage a company, your company will have been allocated an Annual Return Date (ARD). You must file the company Annual Return (together with accounts, if appropriate) within 28 days of  the nominated date.

In certain circumstances you can file an application to extend your Annual Return. You can do this by filing Form B73 with your B1 Annual Return.

If you are considering doing so, you should note the following points:

  • You can only extend your company’s Annual Return Date if its CRO filing record is up to date.  You cannot do this if there are any outstanding annual returns or accounts.
  • If the company’s filing position is up to date, you can extend the Annual Return Date by up to six months.
  • The option can only be exercised within 28 days of the existing annual return date (ARD).
  • If you apply early to extend it, ie before the current ARD passes, then the 6 months period is curtailed accordingly. For example if you apply on 20 January, you can only go to 20 July.
  • Your filing date cannot be longer than 9 months after the year end. You have a 28 days grace period after the actual filing date.

For example if your accounts year end is 30 September 2009, you must file within 28 days of 30 June 2010.  If your accounts year end is 31 December 2009, you must file within 28 days of 30 September. These rules still apply if your official ARD is on a later date.

  • An application to extend an ARD can only be filed once every 5 years. You cannot extend your ARD if you already have done this within the past 5 years.

In short, this is an option that must be used sparingly, and with care