Unfortunately some companies may miss their CRO deadline date for various good reasons and therefore incur late filing fees of up to €1,200 and the loss of audit exemption for two years.
And fines of up to €5,000 can also be imposed on a conviction for a breach of the annual return filing requirements.
So missing the CRO deadline date is something that you will particularly want to avoid as auditing small companies can be especially challenging and expensive besides the late filing fees.
Companies who have not filed their return and are late may be able to avail of Section 343(5) Companies Act 2014 to avoid the financial penalties and audit exemption loss. If the previous annual return was filed late, then the audit requirement will still apply.
Where extenuating circumstances contributed to the annual return not being filed on time, Section 343(5) permits the company to make an application to the District Court for an order extending the time for filing the return.
In a S 343 application the situation is usually:
- The company has missed the annual return date.
- The company engages an agent to prepare the Notice of Application and Affidavit.
- The Affidavit must be sworn in front of a practicing solicitor.
- The Notice of Application is lodged with the District Court and the Affidavit is lodged with the CRO.
- The appeal heard by the District Court may be granted or rejected.
- If granted the company is given an extension that allows it to file the annual return that otherwise was late. All late filing fees and any audit requirements that were imposed due to late filing of that annual return are also waived.
- When the order has been granted it should be lodged with the CRO asap and in advance of filing the late annual return. The order grants an extension to file the annual return and sets out the date by which the financial statements must be filed.
- Once the order is filed the accounts and annual return must be filed within the specified date. This can be as much as eight weeks after the court date but is usually 4 weeks.