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What Happens If You Miss the Annual Return Deadline?

Running a business in Ireland is a complex and responsible task requiring determination and attention. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who just started a business in Ireland, there are plenty of details that you have to keep in your head to make your business successful and transparent. Submitting annual returns is one of those necessary actions that you as a company owner have to complete according to the Company Act, 2014.

In today’s article, we have collected all the details to explain the question of missed annual return for Irish Ltd, and what should you do in case you have missed the annual return deadlines.

Does My Company Need to File Annual Return in Ireland?

Preparation and submission of annual returns is mandatory for all companies registered in the Republic of Ireland – even if a company didn’t hold any financial activities throughout the year or is dormant. The annual return is submitted in a form of B1 form to the CORE – Companies Online Registration Environment. This form contains such company details as the company’s registration address, names, and information on key persons of the company, as well as the accurate financial data from your income reports.

Who is Responsible for Filing Annual Return?

So, who is responsible for providing annual return form b1 to the CRO?

Company director: must control preparation and filing of annual returns and provide all the necessary details upon accountant’s request.

Company secretary: responsible for submitting the finished report to the CRO. Usually, the secretary leads the correspondence with the CRO and provides the additional information if it’s required by the registration office.

Find out more about the duties and responsibilities of a company secretary here!

Accountant: prepares the annual return and financial statements if required.

When is the Annual Return Deadline?

The deadline for the annual return companies registry is individual. That means that the company doesn’t have a particular deadline when the report has to be submitted to the CRO. Still, it doesn’t mean that you can provide the report according at your discretion. Firstly, the companies that are newly registered have to submit their first annual tax return report within the first six months from the moment of the company’s establishment. The next annual return due date is one year after the submission of the first annual report. See the example:

For instance, if your company was established on May 6, 2024

The deadline for the first annual return report falls on September 6, 2024

The next annual return has to be submitted on September 6, 2025.

After September 6, 2025, the CRO gives the additional company 56 days to provide the required documentation. Only after the expiration of the 56-day period will your annual return be considered MISSED.

If you know your company won’t be able to keep up with the deadlines, you have the legal right to postpone the date for providing the report once in 5 years. To do so, it’s necessary to fill in the form B1B73 Annual Return and Change of ARD (annual return date) before the initial date of the CRO submission.

What Happens When You Miss the Deadline for Annual Return

So, what happens if you miss the deadlines? First, don’t panic. The penalties incurred will depend on whether this is your first or subsequent annual return.

Missed Annual Return with No Financial Statements

  1. Late filing fee penalty: CRO will impose an initial late filing fee of €100 with a daily late fee amount of €3 accruing thereafter, up to a maximum late fee of €1,200 per return.
  2. Involuntary strike-off: if the report is not submitted, the CRO has the right to sue and the company will be closed by a court order. This also leads to the disqualification of company directors.

Missed Annual Return with Financial Statements

  1. Late filing fee penalty: The CRO applies a late filing fee under the same conditions as a missed annual return with no financial statements.
  2. Loss of audit exemption: loss of the right to be exempt from audit for the next 2 years. This means that for the next 2 years the company will have to spend money on an auditor and undergo a statutory audit of its financial statements. Firstly, the audit is expensive – about €5,000. Secondly, finding auditors in Ireland may be a real headache.
  3. Involuntary strike-off—similar to a missed annual return without financial statements—СRO has the right to sue, and the company will undergo an involuntary strike-off, and company directors will be disqualified.

What to Do if You Miss the CRO Deadline for Filing Annual Return

There are two scenarios for missing the annual report deadline that we will consider.

  1. If it is not the first report, prepare and submit an annual report with financial statements and pay a fine if charged. After that, the company will be obliged to conduct an audit for the next two years. It should also be understood that submitting the report late will not exempt you from paying the fine.
  2. Go to court to avoid the necessary audit and the headaches associated with it. To do this, you can contact Chern & Co to go to court on your behalf. BUT it is very important to note that if the client decides to follow the first option and has already paid the fine, then it will not be possible to go to court.

Wrapping Up

Filling out the annual return report to the Irish CRO is a simple yet crucial task that is required for your business to comply with the Companies Act 2014. Missed annual returns carry a range of severe consequences – from a €1,200 late filing fee to loss of audit exemption and company strike-off.

If you need help preparing and filing a B1 annual return to CRO, contact Chern & Co. We combine years of experience with a tailored approach to help you run a compliant Irish Ltd.

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