Annual return deadline - what to do next?
Every Irish Limited Company is required to submit an Annual Return (a form B1) to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) each year. The Annual Return outlines the company’s information, such as names of directors, company secretary and shareholders. All Annual Returns (except the first one) required up to date financial statements to be filed with it.
Annual Returns are very important because failure to file the form B1 on time will mean your company faces fines up to €1,200 per year as well as losing of your audit exemption. These are large additional costs that can easily be avoided!
But try not to panic, we can help you each step of the way. From capturing your Annual Return to helping with the preparation of accounts, our team of experts can make sure your company remains compliant.
What you need to know about your first annual return
You must submit your first Annual Return (a B1 form) 6 months after the incorporation of your company. The Companies Registration Office 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 Annual Return.
For your first Annual Return, you need to supply information on the status of your company including Company Directors, Company Secretary, Shareholders & how many shares they own.
Your first Annual Return is due six months after incorporation because the CRO need an up to date register of the company’s details. If any changes occurred within the first six months of incorporation, this is the time to tell the CRO.
The good news is that accounts are not needed for your first Annual Return, so it is really just a question of updating the information you already supplied in your company registration documentation.
Subsequent annual returns
Your second Annual Return is due 12 months later (i.e. 18 months after incorporation). All subsequent Annual Returns will be every 12 months. The difference with this deadline is that there will be “abridged accounts” due. These abridged accounts are simply a summary of your Financial Statement – covering e.g. profit/loss, assets, income and expenditure.
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.
If your second of subsequent Annual Return deadline is coming up, get in touch with us right away. We can prepare a set of accounts and file your Annual Return.
Consequences of missing your annual return deadline
Fine Up To €1,200
The bad news is that failure to file your Annual Return in time comes with penalties - even if you miss it by one day. First of all, there is a fine of €100 for missing your deadline and a further €3 per day, until you file it. The maximum fine per year is €1,200. This means if you've missed your ARD, get in touch with us straight away so we can help you stop the fine on your company.
Loss Of Audit Exemption
A more serious and costly penalty is the fact that you could lose your audit exemption on your accounts for 2 years. An audit is an official inspection of your financial statements before they are submitted to the Companies Registration Office. Audits take time and money from your company.
There is an option to take a missed deadline to the High Court to extend your Annual Return Date. The Court may offer an exemption from this loss of audit 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! Contact us if you think this may be an option for you.
How to prevent missed annual returns...
For some company owners, the CRO reminder email doesn’t always come to them. It 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 outsource it to a service you can trust. Let us look after your CRO and Revenue deadlines. Save yourself the stress and worry by handing over this task to a professional.