Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 – Simplified Process for Filing Annual Returns but commencement still awaited
The Companies (Amendment) Act 2019 (the “Act”) became law on 11 April 2019 but still awaits commencement. The primary amendment being introduced by the Act is to introduce a simplified process for filing a company’s annual return. The ultimate aim is to reduce the administrative burden on companies, turning annual return filing from 2 steps into a single-step electronic process, while allowing for the maximum filing period of 56 days to be preserved.
Currently a company must file its annual return and its statutory financial statements (if applicable) with the Companies Registration Office ( the “CRO”) within 28 days of its annual return date. Where the annual return is filed electronically, the Act allows companies to avail of an extra 28 days to deliver the relevant financial statements to the CRO. This gives rise to a 2 step procedure. Given that all annual returns must now be filed electronically, the relevant section in the Act required deletion and hence the requirement for this legislation. Companies will now have a maximum of 56 days after their annual return date to file both the annual return and financial statements.
Despite the Act having been signed into law by the President on 11 April 2019, we understand from government sources that it is expected to be towards the end of Quarter 4, 2019 before the Act is commenced. It appears that this delay is due to the systems upgrade which the CRO is currently undergoing and which is scheduled to continue over the next number of months.
This article was co-authored by Corporate partner Fergus Bolster and Corporate professional support lawyer Ursula McMahon