A company may seek to apply for an extension on its Annual Return if they have a reasonable and credible reason as to why the original Annual Return Date was missed.
What are the penalties for failing to file an Annual Return?
A missed or late Annual Return will result in an automatic penalty of late fees which increase daily, and loss of Audit Exemption no matter the size of the company or company turnover. An initial fee of €100 will be applied the day after the filing deadline, with an additional €3 fee for each day passed. The late fees are capped at €1,200.00 for each Annual Return. Under Statutory Audit Act 2018 which became effective on 21 September 2018, audit exemption will be lost for the following two ARDs.
Further to this, a company may be involuntarily struck off the Register if it has failed to file its Annual Returns with the CRO and other penalties may be applied to Directors who permit this.
What is the process of an ‘S 343 appeal’:
- The company has missed its annual return date.
- The directors or agent engage OmniPro to prepare the Notice of Application and Affidavit.
- The affidavit must be sworn in front of a practising solicitor.
- The Notice of Application is lodged with the District Court and the Affidavit is lodged with the CRO.
- The appeal is heard by a District Court judge, and it can either be granted or rejected.
- If granted, the company is given an extension that allows it to file the annual return that otherwise would have been late. All late filing fees and any audit requirements that were imposed due to late filing of that annual return are also waived.
- If the previous annual return was filed late, then the audit requirement will still apply.
- When the order has been granted, it will be lodged with the CRO as soon as possible, and in advance of the annual return. This 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 form B1 must be filed within the specified timeframe. This can be as many as eight weeks after the court date, but the applicant should check as each order can be different. A B1 form must be filed with a filing fee of €20.
- The company saves on late fees and two-year audit requirement.
How does a 343 Application benefit the Company?
If the extension is granted for the company, the late filing fees will be quashed, and the Audit Exemption status will be returned to the company. The company is usually given 28 days from the passing of the order to file the outstanding returns with the Companies Registration Office.
Common mistakes with the Application
In a situation where an audit is already required, an S.343 Application cannot prevent this audit. For example; If an audit is required under a shareholders agreement or if a company was late previously and filed the late return with the CRO and as a result under the Statutory Audit Act 2018 now requires an audit for the two following years, if that Company were then late in the next year and sought a section 343 application, the application cannot stop the audit in that year as in the prior year they filed late.
If you would like to discuss this further with a member of our team please contact a member of staff at 0539100000.