You’ve just got an email from the Companies Registration Office (CRO) saying your first annual return is due in 6 weeks’ time.
Or worse again, you receive an email from one of your company directors they got 4 weeks ago from the CRO. Leaving you in a situation where you now have only 2 weeks left to meet the deadline! Your instant reaction is to panic – who wouldn’t…. How will you ever get the paperwork ready in time?
We know all too well what a struggle it can be to get a new business off the ground. The reams of documentation, the rules and regulations…and then you have to actually run the business too – delivering your services or products to your clients.
Just when you think you have your head above water, the annual return demand comes in. Some startup owners become overwhelmed at this point, but there’s really no need…. It’s simply part of the process of compliance which every business must make undertake.
So take a deep breath and relax – submitting your first B1 Annual Returns form doesn not involve too much and we’ll take you through it.
Filing your first Annual Return (B1) form
You must submit your first Annual Return form within 6 months of the formation of your new company. The CRO normally sends a reminder out by email or letter 6 weeks in advance of your Annual Return Date (ARD). That gives you plenty of time to submit your return by your deadline. For your first annual return, you need to supply information on the status of your company including:
- Company Directors
- Company Secretary
- How many Shares they own
The good news is that accounts are not needed for this first annual return, so it is really just a question of updating the information you already supplied in your company formation documentation. We can do this for you.
The bad news is that failure to file your Annual Return in time comes with penalties. First of all, there is a fine of €100 for missing your deadline and a further €3/day until you submit it. More serious and costly than these fines is the fact that there is an audit on your accounts for the next 2 years. Courts may offer an exemption from this penalty if you can demonstrate that you had a good reason for missing the deadline e.g. illness or family crisis. Saying you forgot or that you didn’t get the email DOES NOT constitute a good reason! Plus, going to court is an extra cost you will want to avoid.
Unfortunately, for some company owners, that CRO email doesn’t always come to them and may go to a company director or company secretary who has been put down as the contact person. Or it could go to an agency you have used to set your company up. That’s fine if they pass it on right away. However, a director who is not involved in the day to day running of the business could easily be forgiven for assuming you have received this email too and may not appreciate the urgency of passing it on…leaving you with a very tight deadline indeed. The key lesson here? Make sure this kind of information comes straight to you or an employee you can rely on. Or let us look after your CRO deadlines if you are too busy and don’t have sufficient staff support at this stage of your company’s growth.
Filing your Annual Return in subsequent years
Your second annual return is due 12 months later and then annually by this same date. The difference this time is that you do need to supply as “abridged accounts”. These abridged accounts are simply a summary of your Financial Statement – covering e.g. profit/loss, assets, income and expenditure – and we can do these for you.
Although they don’t represent a full set of accounts, please remember that after you file them with the CRO, they are available to anyone who wishes to view them on the CRO website. This means it is important to get them right.
Get organised to avoid panic deadlines in the future
If you want to avoid facing panic at rapidly approaching deadlines in the future, take a little time out now to plan ahead and look over all your deadlines. Here’s our advice:
- Once you have submitted your first B1 form, then you know the date for your subsequent annual returns. For example, if you form your company on 1st January 2016, then your B1 was due in by 1st July 2016. Subsequently, your financial year end is then due by 31st December. Your second and subsequent CRO annual returns are due by 1st July every year, so start working towards them from the time of your year end. At the very least, put a reminder on your phone and get relevant staff or directors to do the same at least 3 months ahead of your Annual Return Date, so you have plenty of time to get your accounts in order by the deadline.
- Now might be the perfect time to do a quick review of your financial procedures and systems. The better these are, the easier it will be to manage your business well. Check out our blog on how to get finance right from the start.
- Don’t forget that you may not just need access to your current or previous year’s financial records – you are obliged to keep records going back at least 6 years. This makes it even more important that you well maintain your records and ensure they are easy to access.
- If you find it hard to keep on top of the paperwork, why not consider online accounts? Using online financial and accounting systems means you can have easy access to your records at any time, and it may make your financial records easier to manage. This is incredibly useful if you are on the move a lot. To see some examples of online systems we recommend, check out our blog on accounting software packages for small business.
- Using an online accountant also saves you time and money. Check out our packages for small businesses.
Other deadlines to plan for: Tax, VAT, & P30/35
- Your Tax deadline – Filing your annual Tax Returns: make sure you have all your accounts information into your accountant as early as possible before your Revenue tax deadline. The sooner this information goes to your accountant, the earlier you will receive an estimate of your tax liabilities. It also pays to plan ahead for your financial year end.
- If you are a private company, your tax returns are generally due nine months from the end of your accounting year
- If you are a startup company, you may be eligible for exemption from corporation tax.
VAT returns: these are now quarterly and you may face stiff penalties if you don’t file VAT correctly.
- Employers/PAYE Registration form – P30 and P35: The P30 is a monthly or quarterly return. Registered employers complete the form and would send on to the Collector General. This return gives details for everyone you employed at any time during the specific tax month or quarter. These details include Pay As You
- Earn (PAYE), Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), Universal Social Charge (USC) and Local Property Tax (LPT). To find out more about P30 returns, click here.
- A P35 is the Revenue form for filing your End of Year employer return. Read more here.
If you haven’t registered your company yet, we offer a company formation package. We cover everything from company name checks to your Certificate of Incorporation. If you’re not ready to take that step yet these blog posts will help guide you through the process;
- Will I pay less tax if I’m a Limited Company?
- Best Business Bank Account for Startups in Ireland?
- Sole Trader or Limited Company?
At Accountant Online, we can set up your limited company within a week! Our company formation service is fast, secure and given by trusted, qualified accountants.