From the commencement date of the Companies Act 2014 (1 June 2015), applications for an extension of time to file an annual return can be made through the District Court as per section 343(5) of the Act. The costs of making an application to the District Court are far less than the High Court (which is currently the court prescribed). The District Court will (on notice to the Registrar) hear applications for an extension of time to file the annual return and may make an Order extending the time to file. Where a company files such an Order with the CRO within 28 days of the Order being made, and subsequently files the annual return within the extra time specified by the District Court, the documents will be deemed by the CRO to have been received on time. As a result, the consequences of late filing (late filing penalties / loss of audit exemption) will not apply to that annual return. Further information on this process will be posted on www.cro.ie in due course.
Consequently, since 1 June 2015 CRO no longer engages in correspondence with companies appealing the application of penalties as a result of the late filing of an annual return. Instead, companies who need more time to file their annual return should make an application to the District Court in the district court area where their registered office is situated.
NB. Section 343(5) of the Act will not apply to an annual return which has already been delivered to the CRO at 1 June.
CRO receives regular requests from companies to treat annual returns lost or delayed in the post as received on time.
Section 343(2) of the Companies Act 2014 places the responsibility to prompt delivery of annual returns to the Registrar of Companies on the companies themselves. Therefore, under the law, the CRO cannot grant any concessions in respect of documents which are not delivered to the Registrar on time as a result of being lost or delayed in the ordinary post.
The only circumstances in which such an application will be considered is where the company can provide independent documentary evidence of having posted or dispatched the documents using a form of time guaranteed service on a date which, under the guarantee, should have resulted in on-time delivery to the CRO AND where the service requires the collection of a signature as proof of delivery.
There are a number of service providers offering time guaranteed delivery services with proof of delivery. For example, An Post's Express Post service offers a guarantee of next working day delivery and requires a signature to be contained on delivery at its destination.
Please note that "certificates of postage" do not meet the criteria of independent documentary evidence of using a time guaranteed service which provides proof of delivery.
Copyright 2015 Public Office Address: Companies Registration Office, Parnell House, 14 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 Phone: +(353 1) 8045200
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