How to file Annual Return?

Annual Returns (AKA “Form B1”) are submitted to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) once a year. It outlines the company’s information, such as the names of Directors, Company Secretary, and Shareholders.

All Annual Returns (except the first one) requires up to date financial statements to be filed with it. They’re 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 the loss 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. Talk to our Client Services Team now to receive a quotation.

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When should the Annual Return be filed?

Only Limited Companies have to file Annual Returns. So if you’re a Sole Trader, you don’t have to worry.

  • The first Annual Return is filed 6 months after your company’s date of incorporation.
  • All subsequent Annual Returns are filed every 12 months.
  • You can apply for an extension of your Annual Return Date, if necessary. This needs to be filed before your Annual Return deadline so talk to a professional if you need help.

Filing your first Annual Return

As mentioned, a company’s first Annual Return is due 6 months after incorporation. You can check the date your company was incorporated on your Certificate of Incorporation or check the CRO website.

The compliance requirements for new companies can be quite daunting at first, especially if you don’t know what’s involved. The CRO usually sends a reminder 6 weeks before your Next Annual Return Date (NARD) by email. This is a very important email because it reminds you of your obligation to file your B1 form.

You need to supply information on the status of your company. This will include details about the Company Directors, Company Secretary, Shareholders, and how many shares they own. Usually, this is the same information that you set the company up with. But if any changes occurred within the first six months from incorporation, this is the time to tell the CRO.

No accounts/financial statements are required to file your first Annual Return. So it can be a quick and easy submission, as long as you remember to do it.

Subsequent Annual Returns

Your second Annual Return is due 12 months later (i.e. 18 months after the date of incorporation). All subsequent Annual Returns will be every 12 months. The difference with this filing is that there are abridged accounts due.

Abridged accounts are a summary of your financial statements – covering profit/loss, assets, income and expenditure.

Although they don’t represent a full set of accounts, they are available to anyone who wishes to view them on the CRO website. This means it is important to get them right.

If you have an Annual Return deadline coming up, get in touch with us. We can take care of the accounts preparation and file your Annual Return.

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Do all companies need to file Annual Returns?

Filing your Annual Return is obligatory even if you are not trading yet or if your company is dormant.

Companies don’t have any turnover or profit still need to complete this filing and they face the same consequences if missed.

Check out the other compliance requirements for new companies in Ireland.

If you need help with your company’s compliance and accounting requirements, talk to us now.

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Consequences of missing your Annual Return deadline

Failure to file your Annual Return in time comes with penalties - even if you miss it by one day.

Fine of up to €1,200

Firstly, 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.

Loss of audit exemption

All Irish Limited Companies have an audit exemption and this may be removed if you miss your Annual Return.

It is a costly penalty because you lose your audit exemption for 2 years. An audit is an official inspection of your financial statements before they are submitted to the CRO.

Court option

You can choose to take a missed deadline case to the High Court to extend your ARD.

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. If you win the case, you’ll still need to file your Annual Return and prepare accounts as the Court only offers to an extension of the ARD.

4 tips on how to maintain your Annual Return Date (ARD)

Put it in your company calendar

Put your ARD in your company calendar even if you’re not directly involved with it’s filing. This means it will be on your radar and you can ensure that your whole team is aware of it. Here’s where you can find your Annual Return date.

It can also be easy to forget about your ARD if you have multiple companies. So keep all your important company dates on a company calendar to ensure it’s accessible anywhere and it will send you reminders.

Get your bank statements, invoices and receipts into your accountant early

Your accountant needs your books and records in order to prepare the abridged accounts for your company. So, we recommend all businesses move their accounts online using online accounting software

Once you use online accounting software, you can invite your accountant to view your records quicker and easier.

If you are late sending in your statements, it means your accountant less time to prepare the accounts. Getting them in early means you can usually trust your accountant to take care of your accounts in a timely manner.

Be aware of CRO 28 day rule

Every Irish Limited Company has a specific ARD and the CRO gives you 28 days after this date to electronically file your Annual Return online. You can do this via, via Company Secretarial software or you can outsource this task to a professional.

Once you electronically file your Annual Return you are given a PDF summary document and the form B1 signature document. The form B1 signature document needs to be printed and signed by one Director and the Company Secretary and delivered to the CRO for submission.

The CRO gives you a further 28 days to deliver the form B1, so you need to take postage time into consideration if you’re not in Ireland. That’s a total of 56 days to turnaround the Annual return process!

Choose a reliable postage service

The CRO also doesn’t accept digital signatures or any copies of the signed form B1 so you need to make sure you’re sending the original document.

If you don’t comply with these rules, the CRO is very likely to reject your submission, which could lead to serious consequences as outlined above.

Choose a reliable postage or courier service to ensure you can track your letters if necessary.

Need help?

If you’ve missed your Annual Return or if you’re interested in offloading the requirement to maintain your deadline, we offer a full range of Compliance and Accountancy services that can help!

Talk to our Client Services team now and we’ll find the best services for your needs.

Call us on +353 (0)1 905 9364, email, or chat online.

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