Whether you are a Sole Trader or Limited Company, there are important dates that you need to remember. These include statutory tax return filing dates from the Irish Revenue Commissioner, and Annual Return filing dates from the Companies Registration Office (CRO) if you are a Limited Company.
Most of your statutory deadlines will recur annually, like the Income Tax Return, and the Annual Return. But some can be more frequent, like bi-monthly VAT returns (check our post on VAT on services in Ireland), or monthly Employer Payroll Returns. Some of these dates are also specific to your business and may require some calculation to find your exact deadline date. If at any point you need help, reach out to our Client Services Team and we are happy to provide more support to your business.
In this guide, you will learn the different deadline dates that businesses in Ireland should be aware of. We will also provide some tips and advice on how to stay on top of your deadlines, what you need to prepare for each deadline, and what happens if you miss one.
Filing deadlines for registered businesses in Ireland
Once you are registered as a business, whether you’re self-employed or a Limited Company, you are obliged to meet your statutory deadlines, even if you have not begun trading. This means that you may not have invoiced any clients yet or made any sales, but you are still required to file the applicable paperwork with Revenue and the CRO.
Being aware of your obligations means that you are less likely to miss a deadline and risk being imposed with a fine or penalty. Keep this guide handy so you can refer to it if you have any doubts about your obligations.
1. Annual Return deadline for Limited Companies
When you set up a Limited Company in Ireland, the Annual Return filing will be one of your first encounters with statutory deadlines. This deadline is different for all companies because it is based on your company’s incorporation date.
It’s good to note that there are no financial statements/accounts due with your first Annual Return, but you should still keep a record of any tax-deductible expenses, invoices, and business transactions so you have all the proper bookkeeping records when it comes to doing your accounts later on (check out our Bookkeeping Services page for more information=.
Your second Annual Return is when you pick your financial year-end and this will determine the deadline for the Corporation Tax Return (discussed below).
You can file your Annual Return and accounts yourself or get an accountant to prepare and file them on your behalf. Talk to our Client Services Team if you need our advice on filing your Annual Return.
Formula for finding your Annual Return Date (ARD)
+ 6 Months
+ 12 months
Missing an Annual Return
The first thing to do if you think you have missed your Annual Return deadline is to talk to a professional. You can seek help from the CRO directly or chat to a professional firm, like Accountant Online. If you think you’ll be unable to meet your Annual Return Date, speak to us about requesting an extension.
Similar to all the statutory deadlines discussed in this guide, there are fines and penalties for failing to file your Annual Returns and accounts.
- A €100 late filing fee will be applied as soon as your return is late
- Penalties of €3 per day will apply up to a maximum of €1200
- You may have to prepare and file audited accounts for 2 financial years. This can be costly since you’ll have to hire an auditor
2. Corporation Tax Return for Limited Companies
Limited Companies in Ireland must file Corporation Tax Returns (Form CT1) with Revenue annually.
The deadline for this is usually 9 months after your financial year-end date. So, for example, many of our clients have a year-end date in December making their Corporation Tax Return due in September the following year.
Your financial year-end should not be confused with your Annual Return date. Your financial year-end date is chosen by the directors when the company files its second Annual Return with the CRO. An accountant will usually help you pick the most suitable financial year-end, so you can rely on them to offer support. Check out our post on the importance of having an accountant as well.
If you are unsure of what dates your company deadlines fall on, or want advice on choosing or changing a year-end date, talk to our Client Services Team – we’re always happy to offer guidance and support.
3. Preliminary Tax
Companies may have to pay Preliminary Corporation Tax which is effectively a payment of Corporation Tax in advance. Small companies, with a Corporation Tax liability of less than €200,000, must pay this either 31 days before their accounting year-end or no later than the 23rd of that month, whichever is earlier. For example, if your accounting year-end is December 31st, your Preliminary Corporation Tax will be due by November 23rd.
New companies usually don’t have to pay Preliminary Tax when they first start trading. Instead, they will pay their first Preliminary Tax liability along with their Corporation Tax Return. After this first return, you should pay your Preliminary Tax before the deadlines we’ve outlined.
Sole Traders are also required to pay Preliminary Tax which is a combination of the Income Tax, PRSI, and USC that you expect to pay for the tax year.
There are specific formulas your accountant can use to calculate your Preliminary Tax bill and if you are unsure of how to calculate it, feel free to reach out to our Client Services Team and we can discuss your options.
4. Personal Income Tax for directors and Sole Traders
Sole Traders and proprietary or controlling directors who own more than 15% of the ordinary share capital of a company must file and pay a Personal Income Tax Return every year. This declares your personal income, such as salary, dividends or income from pensions, financial bonuses or perks such as company cars, and rental income, for the year.
Paper returns must be made by October 31st, while the deadline for returns made through the Revenue Online System (ROS) is usually in mid-November.
You can file these yourself or have an accountant prepare and file them on your behalf. If you’re interested in having your Income Tax Return prepared by one of our professional accountants, reach out to a member of our Client Services team to discuss your business needs.
Late filing of tax return
It’s important that you file and pay the above taxes to Revenue on time. If you pay or file your tax returns late, you may face fines and penalties that are based on a percentage of your underpaid tax. For instance, you may have to pay interest as well as a surcharge of up to 10% of your tax liability. Late filing can also impact your ability to claim certain tax reliefs the next year.
If you’ve just set up as a Sole Trader or Limited Company or recently switched from Sole Trader to Limited Company your tax obligations might have changed, which can be confusing. Talk to us about your obligations for peace of mind that you’re being fully compliant and your statutory deadlines are looked after, so you can focus on running your business instead of dealing with tax deadlines
5. VAT for Limited Companies and Sole Traders
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on consumer spending. You don’t have to register for VAT straight away. However, once you meet the criteria to register for VAT, you should do so as soon as possible to avoid penalties.
The default VAT periods are bi-monthly. You should file and pay VAT returns 23 days after the VAT period. For example, if a VAT period is January and February, the VAT return date would be March 23rd.
You must also file a Return of Trading Details (ROTD). This is a summary of your VAT returns for the year. The due date for this is 23 days after your financial year-end. For example, if your year-end is December 31st, the ROTD is required by January 23rd.
If you are thinking of registering for VAT, it’s important that you’re aware of the filing obligations, as these are on top of your existing statutory deadlines and why many of our clients choose to outsource their VAT requirements to us.
We take care of the whole VAT process, from helping you with VAT registration in Ireland, to providing guidance on how to charge VAT in Ireland, to filing your monthly returns. Get in touch for more information on our VAT services – we’re always happy to help!
Consequences of not filing VAT Returns
Since not all businesses have to register for VAT and some businesses may volunteer to register before they meet the VAT criteria, it can be difficult to know what applies in your situation.
Our professional VAT team can help you to avoid the consequences of not filing VAT Returns on time, such as:
- Paying interest on VAT due
- A delay in receiving tax refunds from Revenue if your ROTD filing is late
- A record of non-compliant behaviour might be recorded against your company
- Penalties of €4000 for not registering or registering incorrectly for VAT
If you think you might have missed a VAT payment or are worried you can’t keep up with VAT payments, talk to a member of our team today. We help clients with their VAT obligations regularly and can give you tailored advice on your business’ situation.
6. Employer Tax
If you’re a Sole Trader or Limited Company that employs staff, you are required to deduct taxes from your employee’s gross pay and on or before you make a payment to your employees, you must report the pay and deductions to Revenue.
Following that, you must file and pay monthly tax returns by the 23rd day of the following month. For example, Employer Taxes for January should be paid by February 23rd.
Sole Traders in Ireland may also have to pay Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT) if you are a principal contractor that operates in construction, forestry and meat-processing sectors. If this tax applies to you, talk to our Client Services Team and we are happy to talk to you about your additional requirements
Many Sole Traders and Limited Companies choose to outsource payroll services to our IPASS-qualified team for peace of mind that their employees are paid on time, accurately, and within payroll legislation. Talk to our Client Services Team today to discuss our Payroll Services – we are always here to help
Consequences of non-compliance - Employer Returns
The consequences of late Employer Tax filings can include interest on late payments of 10% per annum.
As your business grows, it’s likely you will start to hire employees and therefore, need to register your business as an employer, and pay Employer Income Tax. You can handle this in-house or outsource it to a professional company such as Accountant Online. By allowing us to take care of your Employer Taxes and payroll, you can focus on what’s important: running and growing your business.
What if I can’t pay my tax liability?
If you’re struggling to pay your taxes on time, don’t worry, there is help available from Revenue. For example, if you miss a statutory deadline, you can apply for a Phased Payment Arrangement (PPA) which allows you to pay your tax debts in instalments. A tax agent, such as Accountant Online, can apply for this on your behalf so feel free to reach out to us if you’re concerned about meeting your tax deadlines. We’re always happy to advise you on your options.
Tips for managing your deadlines
Statutory deadlines can seem overwhelming, but organisation is key. Use this article as a guide to remember your important statutory deadlines. Follow our tips to help manage your deadlines:
Mark key dates in a business calendar
Keep your business deadlines separate from important dates in your personal life, such as birthdays and anniversaries. Having an overview of important statutory deadline dates will keep them in your mind so you won’t forget them.
Avoid putting off your tax returns until the last minute
Keeping organised records during the year can make filing tax returns much easier when the time comes. We recommend using Xero accounting software to ensure that you have a good bookkeeping process in place while you’re busy running your business.
Outsource to a professional
Outsourcing to a tax professional can give you peace of mind that your deadlines will be met and allow you to focus on running your business. Online accountants are a great option for outsourcing. Our accountants are used to working to Revenue and CRO deadlines so we will have your filings done in a timely manner. You can always access your accountant with any questions and there’s no need for in-person meetings.
Ask for extensions early, if needed
You can request an extension for your Annual Returns if you need one. This is a far better option than having a late return. Talk to your accountant if you think you might need an extension and they can advise you. You should also note that the deadline for online filings is later for some taxes, such as Preliminary Tax. Again, your accountant can advise you on this.
Get in touch with Accountant Online for more support
Being organised and knowing what deadlines are coming up for your business can make managing them much easier. Keep this guide handy as an overview of your deadlines and follow our tips to help you meet them on time.
If you have any other questions about your specific circumstances, talk to a member of our Client Services team today- we’re always happy to advise you on your compliance obligations and help you find the services that best suit your business needs.
Kiera leads the Bookkeeping, VAT, and Payroll Teams at Accountant Online. Kiera has worked in the financial services industry for over 18 years. She is passionate about helping businesses to get their finances in order so they can get back to what’s important: running your business. Kiera holds a part-qualified accountant qualification from ACCA.