Annual Return – What is it?
A company whether trading or not, is obliged to deliver an annual return at least once every calendar year to Companies Registration Office (CRO). An annual return includes details of the company’s directors, secretary, its registered office and details of its shareholders and share capital.
The Annual Return Date (ARD) is a specific date in every year allocated by statute to every company that is obliged to file an annual return. New companies have an ARD of six months from their date of incorporation. Next ARD is 12 months after, unless the company has altered that ARD.
The requirement to attach accounts (please refer to www.cro.ie, for further information) to an annual return, which accounts predate the date to which the return has been made up to by no more than nine months (“the nine month rule”), may result in a company electing to alter the ARD. For example with the ARD 30th September 20xx, you file accounts year ended 31st December 20xx (previous year). If however the financial year end is:
- earlier than 31st December 20xx, the ARD has to be brought forward to an earlier date or,
- later than 31st December 20xx, the company may choose to extend the ARD to later date, within 9 months from financial year end, but not later than 6 months after the existing ARD (as long as the existing ARD has not been already missed)
The annual return must be filed with CRO within 28 days of the ARD (filing deadline). The late filing penalty of €100 becomes due in respect of an annual return on the day after the expiry of the filing deadline, with additional €3 per day for each late day thereafter, to the maximum of €1200.
Please be aware that, if the annual return is filed late or not at all, the company and its directors and secretary are liable to prosecution by the Registrar of Companies.