A Company’s Annual Return Date
Each company in Ireland is required to file an Annual Return with the Companies Registrar (CRO). Annual returns must be filed by a specific date. This date is referred to as the company’s Annual Return Date (ARD). A newly incorporated company must file its first annual return within 6 months of incorporation and thereafter at maximum intervals of 12 months.
In the event that a company fails to file its annual return within 28 days of its ARD there are a number of sanctions available to the CRO including financial penalties and ultimately strike-off from the Companies Register. However by far the most immediate and discommoding penalty is the loss of the Small company audit exemption i.e the accounts being filed with the late Annual Return must be audited otherwise the return will not be accepted.
Under the Companies Act 2014 a Small company is not required to have an annual audit. This can result in reduced accounts preparation fees from their accountants and should reduce the amount of time required for preparation and sign-off of the financial statements.
A Small company is one which has a Balance Sheet value of less than €4.4m, Turnover of less than €8.8m and less than 50 employees.
The CA 2014 introduced a new feature which allows companies who have or will miss their ARD to make an application to the District Court to have their ARD extended thereby avoiding loss of the small company audit exemption and avoidance of financial penalties.
Note that a successful application will only result in the extension of ARD for the returns outstanding. A company may as part of normal CRO procedures file a Form B73 to change its ARD to a later date.
Applications to the District Court can be a costly exercise and there is no guarantee that the application would be successful. Reasons no longer acceptable to support an application to the courts include oversight, lack of intent or breakdown in communication. Please refer to this link for further information ARD Extentions – District Court Application.