This week, Deloitte Ireland LLP (Deloitte), filed a form H4 with the Companies Registration Office (CRO) in their capacity as acting auditors for the FAI.
What is a form H4?
A form H4 is a notification to the CRO filed by the company’s auditors that proper books of account have not been kept by a company.
Pursuant to section 392 of the Companies Act 2014 (the Act), if at any time the statutory auditors of a company form the opinion that a company has failed or is failing to keep proper books of account they are obliged to:-
• as soon as may be, by recorded delivery, serve a notice in writing on the company stating their opinion; and
• not later than 7 days after the date of service of such notice on the company, notify the CRO by filing a form H4.
The CRO is obliged to forward a copy of the form H4 to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (the ODCE). On receipt of a form H4, the ODCE is entitled to request from the auditors of the company:-
• such information, including an explanation of the reasons for their opinion that the company is failing or has failed to keep proper books of account; and
• give to the ODCE such access to documents, including facilities for inspecting and taking copies,
being information or documents in their possession or control and relating to the matter the subject of the notification, as the ODCE may require.
In this particular case, Deloitte noted on the form H4 that the FAI had contravened section 281 and 282 of Act. Section 281 outlines a company's obligation to keep adequate accounting records and section 282 states the basic requirements that such accounting records must meet.
The form H4 is a rarely used form. According to CRO records, only 429 forms H4 have been filed with the CRO ever, with this particular form being the first such form H4 to be filed in 2019. The seldom use of the form H4 highlights the significance and the seriousness of this filing by Deloitte.