It was good while it lasted but all good things come to an end at some stage and CRO have brought an end to the get out of jail card for filing late returns.
From 1st April 2018, B1’s will be automatically rejected where
- the B1 signature page or overall certificate is not signed; or
- the signatures are not original.
The Registrar will no longer use her discretion under Section 898 of the Companies Act 2014 in these cases and will not allow 14 days for the making the necessary amendments. No more error shopping!!
Instead a new annual return must be captured, financial statements uploaded and a new signed signature page delivered to the CRO. Where this new annual return is more than 28 days after the company’s Annual Return Date the B1 will be late which means late filing penalties will be incurred and audit financial statements be filed.
So if an annual return and the financial statements are not captured and filed completely then the annual return will be rejected without the 14 day grace period.
Annual Return Late If Financial Statements Uploaded Late
CRO also advised that if you upload your financial statements after the 28 day period allowed following the capture of the B1 online, then your full annual return is late and you will be charged a late filing penalty and, lose your audit exemption for the following two financial years.
Requests To Return An Annual Return
Where a company or a presenter rings the CRO and requests that an annual return be returned prior to the CRO receiving the signature page this request will not be facilitated if made within 3 days of the delivery date on the signature page.
Time for Change
What does this mean…? It means change… and that is something we are not good at!! Deadlines are there to be noted but there is always a way around it. But not anymore.
This means a culture change on how we deal with directors and the accounts departments. The CRO view is that companies have 10 months to file an annual return and another 28 days to file the financial statements. If SME companies cannot do this on time then the question should be asked is there an adequate accounting records issue?
We know it’s not as simple as that and genuine reasons for being close to the deadline can happen and companies can often feel aggrieved that they have missed the deadline. However it appears to be the same companies or presenters that are always on the deadline or the same manager or partner that lets things go to the last second. When we leave things to the very last moment then there is no room for error or something getting missed.
So now the Annual Return Date List is the most important list in the office. This list should be used to plan when financial should be prepared. A procedures manual should be prepared setting out who is responsible for each step in the filing process.
- Annual Returns that can be filed early should be filed once the financial statements are approved
- Annual Returns should be scheduled to be filed 3 days before the ARD so that the deadline is not missed and if there is still time to get it filed
- Express post should be used to send signatures pages to CRO as it’s the only An Post time delivery system that CRO stand over
- The procedure manual should include a process for saving the correct version of financial statements to be uploaded to the CORE website. The new system for uploading PDF financial statements has seen situations where the full financial statements have been uploaded instead of abridged or where the wrong financial statements are uploaded for the wrong company.
How Can CLS Help
CLS can assist in reviewing your annual compliance procedures to ensure they help the firm or the company manage its CRO filing obligations efficiently. For more information please contact Conor on 059 9186776
Our CLS Insights aims to bring you practical information and news on Company Law and Company Secretarial. We cover the topics that matter to your business and give practical tips and also the benefit our experiences. Please remember this article is a guide and legal advice should always be obtained. If you have any queries please contact one of the team and we would be happy to help.