Company Secretarial

Annual Return for Companies – Ireland

 

 

Filing an annual return is a legal obligation for every company registered in Ireland.  This is a requirement even if the company hasn’t generated a profit or hasn’t started trading.

 

There is an obligation on the company officers, being the Directors and Secretaries, to ensure that the annual return is correctly filed with the Companies Registration office.

 

Failure to comply with this regulation can have serious implications including:

 

  1. Late filing fees
  2. loss of audit exemption for two years.
  3. Strike off and dissolution of the company
  4. Prosecution of the Company and/or its Director

 

For further information, please click link: CRO – Annual Return – Missed Deadlines

 

 

An annual return, also known as Form B1, is a document that every company registered in Ireland must file with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) every year.

 

 

An Irish company’s first Annual Return is due within six months of incorporation. No accounts are required with the first Annual Return.

 

 

All subsequent Annual Returns must be filed every twelve months.

 

 

For second and subsequent annual returns, companies are required to file their annual return or B1, along with their financial statements, within 56 days of the ARD.

 

 

An Annual Return Date (ARD) of a company is the latest date to which an annual return must be made up.

 

 

An Annual Return Date (ARD) must be filed no more than nine months from the financial year end. For example, if the Irish company has a 31st December year end, their latest annual return date would be 30th September.

 

 

The Annual Return date can be changed from the second Annual Return onwards but no more than once every five years.  A company cannot, however, extend the ARD more than six months from the original ARD and no more than nine months from the financial year end.  The ARD can be set to a later date by filing Form B1B73.  For further information, please click: https://www.cro.ie/en-ie/Annual-Return/Financial-Year-End-Date

 

 

The annual return must accurately reflect the company’s details as of the Annual Return Date and include information about the company directors, secretary, registered office, share capital, shareholder details as well as confirmation that the financial statements are attached.  Since 11th June 2023 Directors are required to disclose their PPS numbers when filing the B1 form and if they do not have a PPSN, RBO numbers and/or VINs can be used.

 

 

It is the responsibility of the Board to approve the financial statements for a company. Therefore, it is advisable that a meeting should be held before the financial statements are filed in the CRO.

 

 

To file an Annual Return:

 

  1. Complete the B1 Form through CORE or an approved software package.
  2. Upload the signed financial statements and/or other required documents in PDF.
  3. Download a signature page or request signature page by email.
  4. It’s important to keep in mind that the signed financial statements must be uploaded before the signature page is generated.
  5. The signature page must be signed by two company officers e.g. one Director and one Secretary. In other words, it cannot be the same person.
  6. The signature page cannot be digitally signed.
  7. There is an option for an Electronic Filing Agent to sign on behalf of the company. To do this, a Form B77 must be filed.
  8. There is an online filing fee of €20.

 

For further information, please click: https://www.cro.ie/en-ie/Annual-Return/Filing-Electronically

 

 

 

 

Central Register of Beneficial Ownership

 

All Irish companies now have a statutory obligation to file their Beneficial Ownership information with the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership within five months from the date of incorporation.

 

For existing companies, if there is any change in the beneficial ownership details, the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership must be updated within fourteen days of the change.

 

Unlike the B1 Annual Return above, there is no requirement to make an annual filing with the RBO.

 

 

 

Please be aware that the information contained in this article is of a general nature.  It is not intended to address specific circumstances in relation to any individual or entity. All reasonable efforts have been made by Accounts Advice Centre to provide accurate and up-to-date information, however, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate on the date it is received or that it will continue to remain so.. This information should not be acted upon without full and comprehensive, specialist professional advice.

CRO mandatory requirement for company directors to provide PPSNs from 11th June 2023

 

The Companies Registration Office (CRO), under Section 35 of The Companies Corporate Enforcement Act (2021), will require Company Directors to provide their personal public service numbers (PPSNs) when filing the following forms. This will be a mandatory requirement from Sunday, 11th June 2023:

 

  1. Form A1- Company incorporation,
  2. Form B1 – Annual return,
  3. Form B10 – Change of director and, or in their particulars,
  4. Form B69 – Notification by the individual that he/she/they has/have ceased to be a director or secretary.

 

Directors’ PPSNs will be required for validation purposes only.  PPS numbers, RBO numbers and VINs will not be accessible on the public register.

 

The purpose of the new disclosure requirement is to reduce the risk of identity theft by introducing additional identity validation checks.  This will affect individuals who may, wrongly, hold more than twenty five active directorships under different name variations.

 

It is important to note that non-compliance will constitute a Category 4 offence.

 

Please be aware that if the PPS Number does not match the PPS Number held by the Department of Employment and Social Protection, this may result in the submission being rejected.  Therefore, to avoid any discrepancies and delays with filings, Directors should act now to make sure that the information held by the DEASP is consistent with that held by the CRO.  It’s important to keep in mind that CRO rejections could lead to late filing penalties and delays in meeting annual return filing dates.

 

 

In circumstances, where a director does not have a PPS Number, but has been issued with an RBO number in connection with filings with the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership, this RBO number can be used for the relevant CRO filings.

 

In situations where a director does not have either a PPS number or an RBO transaction number, they must apply to the CRO for an “Identified Person Number” by means of a Form VIF i.e. Declaration as to Verification of Identity.

 

The VIF requires the name, address, date of birth and nationality of the individual. It must be declared as true by the director and verified by a notary.

 

 

TO DO

 

  • Directors should check that their personal details are consistent with those on record with the Department of Social Protection.  Where DSP records need to be checked or amended, please be aware that Directors must do so themselves, as filing agents are unable to do so on their behalf

 

  • Directors without a PPSN or RBO number should take steps to obtain a VIN.

 

 

 

For further information, please click the link below:

https://www.cro.ie/en-ie/About-CRO/Whats-New/PPSN-FAQ?_cldee=6g_4nKxbwJzYd6gOdHH3WoVFU8RM7T2gir_xOhjUaYHBA2OGEzy3hGo7s18ZbYuP&recipientid=contact-7f5d2b33fbf9e71180fb3863bb358f88-9a94001c46624edb84969e8300fbbb53&esid=6bd3fe70-e006-ee11-8f6e-6045bd905fa8

 

 

Please be aware that the information contained in this article is of a general nature.  It is not intended to address specific circumstances in relation to any individual or entity. All reasonable efforts have been made by Accounts Advice Centre to provide accurate and up-to-date information, however, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate on the date it is received or that it will continue to remain so.. This information should not be acted upon without full and comprehensive, specialist professional advice.

CRO – Central Register of Beneficial Ownership – Ireland

 

On 29th July 2019 the Central Register of Beneficial Ownership was launched in Ireland.  This new legal requirement forms part of Ireland’s implementation of the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

 

 

The new Central Register of Beneficial Ownership requires that all companies file details of their Ultimate Beneficial Owners with the Companies Registrations Office.

 

 

Under the Regulations, the commencement date for the obligation to file on the Central Register was 22nd June 2019 and companies must deliver their beneficial ownership information to the CRO by 22nd November 2019.

 

 

Going forward, newly incorporated companies will have five months from the date of incorporation to register their information.

 

 

It is considered a breach of statutory duty not to file within the deadline date.

 

 

This is a new filing requirement, in addition to the other usual requirements, for example, filing a B1 annual return.

 

 

A beneficial owner is defined an individual/natural person who owns or controls directly or indirectly:

  1. more than 25% of the equity
  2. more than 25% of the voting rights or
  3. has capacity to control the company by other means.

 

 

 

In situations where no beneficial owners can be identified, the names of the directors, senior managers or any other individual who exerts a dominant influence within the company must be entered in the register of beneficial owners.  In other words, where the beneficial owners are unknown, the company must take “all reasonable steps” to ensure the beneficial ownership information is gathered and recorded on the register.

 

 

 

The following information is required to be filed with the RBO in respect of each beneficial owner:

  1. The name,
  2. Date of Birth,
  3. Nationality,
  4. Residential Address,
  5. PPS Number, if applicable – The Registrar will not disclose any PPS Numbers and will only use them for verification purposes.
  6. A Statement of the nature and extent of the ownership interest held or extent of the control exercised,
  7. The date of entry on the register as a beneficial owner,
  8. The date of ceasing to be a beneficial owner.

 

 

For non-Irish residents who do not hold a PPS number, a Transaction Number must be requested from the Companies Registration Office.  This is done by completing and submitting a Form BEN2 and having it notarised in the relevant jurisdiction.

 

 

Failure to comply with the Regulations is an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a Class A fine, or conviction on indictment to a fine up to €500,000.

 

 

Going forward, any changes to a Company’s Internal Beneficial Ownership Register must be updated in the Central Register within fourteen days of the change having occurred.

 

 

Once a company has been dissolved the registrar will delete all information held in relation to that entity, after the expiration of ten years.

 

 

 

Who has access to this information?

 

As required by EU anti-money laundering laws, members of the public will have restricted access to the CRBO including:

  • The name, month/year of birth, country of residence and nationality of each beneficial owner.
  • The nature and extent of the interest held or the nature and extent of the control exercised by the beneficial owner.

 

 

The 2019 regulations provide for the following to have unrestricted access to the Central Register:

  • An Garda Síochána
  • The Revenue Commissioners
  • Members of the Financial Intelligence Unit Ireland
  • The Criminal Assets Bureau

 

 

The Companies Act 2014

 

 

The Companies Act 2014 (the “Act”) introduced the provision that a Company Limited by Shares (“LTD”) could just have a single director.

 

In other words, a single Director company can be a private company limited by Shares. It allows for one Director but there must be a separate company Secretary.

 

Starting from the 1st of June 2015, all new companies will have a choice of two different types of companies to setup:

 

Private Company Limited by Shares (Ltd.)

  • It allows for one Director but it must have a separate Company Secretary. A Company Secretary can be any other person or registered entity here or abroad.
  • It does not have a Memorandum of Association.
  • It has no objects stated in its constitution. Therefore, it can be flexible in terms of the activity it engages in.
  • A one document constitution replaces the Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • In the even of the company being wound up, the members’ liability is limited to the amount unpaid on the shares they hold, if any.
  • An LTD is not required to have an Authorised Share Capital.
  • The name of the company must end with the “Limited” or “Teoranta.
  • An LTD cannot be an insurance undertaking or a credit institution.

 

 

Designated activity company (DAC):

  • Is a private company limited by shares or by shares and guarantee.
  • It must have at least two directors and a Company Secretary.
  • At least one of the directors is required to be resident of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA). According to Section 137 of the Company Act states, if you do not have a Director living in the European Economic Area, then you must purchase a bond, in the prescribed bond otherwise, you can apply to the CRO to be granted a certificate confirming that your company has a real and continuous economic link with Ireland.
  • It has a two document constitution consisting of a memorandum and articles of association.
  • It must have a main objects clause included in its constitution.
  • It can pass majority written resolutions, where the constitution allows.
  • It is required to hold an AGM where there are two or more members.
  • The maximum number of members is 149.
  • It is required to have an Authorised Share Capital.
  • The name of the company must end with “Designated Activity Company” or “Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe” unless it is exempted.

 

 

Every Limited company in Ireland is required to have a Statutory registered office in the state.  The following Irish addresses are required:

  1. The registered office address which is where CRO correspondence and formal legal notifications should be sent.
  2. The address where the company’s activity is carried out.

 

The address where the central administration of the company is carried out can, however, be located outside Ireland.

 

 

Companies will only have to meet two of the following three criteria to qualify as a “small company” for the purposes of claiming an audit exemption.

  1. A turnover that does not exceed €12 million
  2. A balance sheet that does not exceed €6 million
  3. An average number of employees that does not exceed 50

 

If a company qualifies for exemption, it must annex a copy of its abridged financial statements (approved by the directors) to the annual return.

 

Guarantee and Group companies will be able to qualify for the audit exemption.

 

Audit exemption for Irish companies can be lost if their annual return is filed late. This will result in the company losing its audit exemption for the next two years.

 

 

This article is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute professional advice. No liability is accepted by Accounts Advice Centre for any action taken or not taken in reliance on the information set out in this article. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of this article. Any and all information is subject to change.