CRO policy on documents lost or delayed in the post
CRO receives regular requests from companies to treat annual returns lost or delayed in the post as received on time.
Section 343(2), Companies Act 2014, places the responsibility on the company itself for ensuring prompt delivery of annual returns to the Registrar. Therefore, where a document is delivered to the CRO after its filing deadline as a result of being lost or delayed in the postal system, the law leaves the CRO with no option but to treat it as being late.
The only circumstance where CRO will consider making an exception to this rule is where the company has sent the document using a time guaranteed service on a date which, under the guarantee, should have resulted in on-time delivery to the CRO and where the service provides proof of delivery or tracks the document to its destination. In such circumstances, CRO will require independent documentary evidence of the date of despatch of the document and proof of delivery.
There are a number of service providers offering this type of time guaranteed delivery service. For example, An Post has confirmed to CRO that EXPRESS POST offers a guaranteed next day delivery service with tracking facilities within the State.
However, An Post makes it clear that REGISTERED POST DOES NOT GUARANTEE NEXT DAY DELIVERY. Therefore, if a document is sent to the CRO by Registered Post and is delivered after the filing deadline, CRO has no option but to treat it as being late.
If a company finds itself in this situation, it can apply to the District Court for extra time to file its annual return under Section 343(5), Companies Act 2014. The Court may, if it is satisfied that it would be just to do so, make an Order extending the time in which the annual return may be delivered to the Registrar. Where the Court makes such an Order, and the company delivers the annual return to the CRO in accordance with the Order, that annual return will be deemed by the CRO to have been received on time and the consequences of late filing (late filing penalties / loss of audit exemption) will not apply to that annual return. Please note however, that the Registrar reserves her right to object to the application, as a statutory notice party, depending on the circumstances of the case presented. The CRO is a notice party under section 343(5) of the Companies Act 2014 to any application.
For further information on the District Court process, see CRO Information Leaflet No.39 or CRO website - Missed Deadlines page.
If you are a member of the DX mail network you can ensure next day delivery by using DX’s Express Registered Post. The DX number for the CRO is: DX 271004, Carlow 2 for O’Brien Road, Carlow.
Alternatively, presenters can hand deliver to the CRO's Public Office at Bloom House, Gloucester Place Lower, Dublin 1 where you will be provided with a receipt for your documents. The Public Office is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm and is less busy in the morning time.
Electronic filing reduces the risk of late filing of your annual return. You have an extra 28 days in which to submit the signature page and accounts and the filing fee is only €20. For more information on e-filing, please see Online Services.
Fully electronic filing of an annual return is possible - the documents can be signed and certified by means of ROS online signing certificates, paid for by CRO Customer Account or Credit/Debit card and financial statements uploaded to the B1 as a PDF attachment. This removes the risk associated with posting entirely as these documents do not need to be posted but will be listed for processing as soon as the accounts are uploaded.
However, in light of the very serious consequences of late filing (ie penalties and loss of audit exemption), CRO exhorts companies not to leave it to the last day to submit your B1 on-line as there is a risk that a temporary issue with your PC, your broadband service, web browser or server could prevent you from completing the filing on time.
Practical steps in delivering documents to the CRO:
- Use a delivery service which guarantees next working day delivery and provides proof of delivery.
- When filing electronically, avoid photocopying or faxing the signature pages as this can result in a deterioration of the barcode and it may not be possible to scan it in the CRO.
- Avoid long covering letters - if there is something important that needs be noted by the CRO, highlight it in in large bold letters, eg if company is close to being struck off the Register, mark the covering letter "ON STRIKE-OFF LIST".
- Staple documents together, especially cheques - do not use paper clips.
- Letters posted to the CRO must have the correct value stamp or frank on the envelope. If not, it will delay delivery of your document. There is no Freepost facility in operation in relation to items posted to CRO.