Application to Court for an Order Extending Time to File an Annual Return
Following the commencement of the 2014 Companies Act on 1 June 2015, a company which has missed, or knows that it will miss the deadline for filing its annual return with the CRO, may make an application to the District Court for an Order to extend the time for delivery of its annual return. The Application can eliminate the need for a company to pay late filing penalties and also allows the company to retain their Audit Exemption which is otherwise lost for 2 years.
The company must put the Registrar of Companies on notice that it is applying to the court and must deliver the applicable Court Forms to the CRO at least 21 days before the Court hearing. The CRO will issue a Letter of Acknowledgement which the Applicant must provide to the Court.
Under section 343 of the 2014 Act, applications for an extension of time to file an Annual Return may be made to the District Court (or to the High Court). 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 of the company, may be delivered to the Registrar of Companies. An application to the Court can only be made in respect of an annual return which has not already been delivered to the CRO. Only one Order may be made in respect of a particular year. The Order may, at the discretion of the Court, be granted to include multiple years for which returns are outstanding.
The extension of time to file an Annual Return does not alter the Annual Return Date (ARD) of the company.
If the company delivers the annual return for the year in question to the CRO within the extended time period specified by the Court, the annual return will have been delivered on time and company will not have to pay late filing penalties or lose its audit exemption (if applicable).
In other words, the annual return will be treated by the CRO as having been delivered on time and the consequences of late filing will not apply to that annual return.
How does the process work?
The company cannot represent itself so it must have the appropriate legal representation in Court. The main steps of the procedure can be summarised as follows:
- An application for a Court date must be made to the District Court in which the company’s registered office is situated.
- A copy of the above notice of application and a copy of the Affidavit must be served on the CRO.
- The application and a declaration of service to the Registrar are then filed with the Court no later than four days before the date fixed for the hearing.
- Upon completion of the hearing, if the Order is granted it should be filed at the CRO (usually within 28 days) and the B1, accounts and standard filing fee should be delivered to the CRO no later than the date to which the extension has been granted.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Please contact Richard Windrum, in our Corporate Compliance team, who would be happy to assist you further.