The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2019 (the "Bill") has been published. It is a very short Bill, whose only purpose is to amend section 343 of the Companies Act 2014 (the "2014 Act") with respect to the time periods allowed for filing a company's annual return.
At present, a company must file its annual return together with its statutory financial statements (if applicable) with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) within 28 days of its annual return date. Where the annual return is filed electronically, section 344 of the 2014 Act grants companies an extra 28 days to deliver the accompanying financial statements to the CRO. Given that all annual returns (Form B1) must now be filed electronically, this section has become redundant and will be deleted.
In addition, companies will now have a straight 56 days after their annual return date to file both their annual return and financial statements.
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has described this as a technical amendment that aims to reduce the administrative burden on companies by simplifying the process for filing annual returns by turning it into a single-step process that can be carried out electronically. There will be no additional costs for companies that file their annual returns on time.
The Bill will now move through the Houses of the Oireachtas before it becomes law.