Changes introduced in the Companies (Statutory Audits) Act 2018 from 21 September 2018 mean that audit exemption is now lost for the following two years where an annual return is filed late and not in the current year. So an annual return that has been submitted late does not lose any potential audit exemption for that year but will not be eligible for audit exemption for the following two years. Any late filing penalties must be discharged as usual to the CRO.
This change will avoid a costly and time-consuming audit if the financial statements have been already completed.
Exemption loss does not apply to the first annual return but late filing penalties will.
However a District Court application can be made for companies that have missed the filing deadline which may eliminate the need to pay late filing penalties and retain audit exemption. If granted by the Court, the company must file the order with the CRO within 28 days and then file the annual return and the financial statements with the CRO within the extended time granted by the Court.