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Company Secretarial

S.343 Annual Return Date Extension

District Court Application to Extend the Filing Date for an Annual Return

Annual return extension may be necessary although as an accountant, you do your utmost to help your clients file their annual returns on time. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, some companies will inevitably miss their deadline and, as a result, face penalties and, where relevant, the loss of their audit exemption for two years. This is something that you will particularly want to avoid, as auditing small and micro entities can be especially challenging, and if your client is reluctant to pay, you may be left facing the financial burden of the audit.

Since removal of the CRO’s late-filing waiver scheme, companies late filing their statutory returns and financial statements with the CRO must avail of Section 343(5) of the Companies Act 2014 to avoid the penalties and audit-exemption loss. Where extenuating circumstances contributed to the annual return not being filed on time, Section 343(5) permits the company to make an application before a District Court Judge for an order extending the time for filing the return.

Companies must be represented in this Court process and good advice, from affidavit drafting to representation in Court, is key to achieving a successful outcome for the company, directors and accountant.

Discover how a Section 343 application can help your client navigate these circumstances and secure additional time. Click here to find out more about how they can avoid penalties and audit-exemption loss.

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How We Can Help

At OmniPro, we can help by managing this process from start to finish on behalf of your client.

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The application to extend the annual return date is generally straightforward. However, it is important that all the relevant steps are followed (as outlined below) and the appropriate professionals are engaged. Although it is possible for directors to represent their own companies in court, experience indicates that engaging legal representation from the outset is the most efficient way to make a successful application.

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A court date can generally be obtained within four to five weeks (this can vary) of making the application in Dublin. (Certain courts around the country will allocate specific dates, e.g. the third Wednesday of every month.) The appeal must be heard in the District Court of the registered office of the company. However, there is no prohibition on the company changing registered office in the weeks preceding the appeal.

From start to finish, the process can be completed within eight weeks.

Step-By-Step Section 343 Application Process to Extend an Annual Return Date

In a normal ‘S 343 appeal’, the process is as follows:

  • The company has missed its annual return date.
  • The directors engage a service provider to prepare the Notice of Application and Affidavit. The CRO has stated that it will object if the affidavit does not clearly demonstrate why it was not possible for the company to deliver its annual return on time.
  • The affidavit must be sworn in front of a practicing solicitor.
  • The Notice of Application is lodged with the District Court and the Affidavit is lodged with the CRO. It must be lodged with the CRO 21 days before the appeal is set to be heard, and the CRO has the right to object within this timeframe.
  • The appeal is heard by a District Court judge, and it can either be granted or rejected.
  • If granted, the company is given an extension that allows it to file the annual return that otherwise would have been late. All late filing fees and any audit requirements that were imposed due to late filing of that annual return are also waived. If the previous annual return was filed late, then the audit requirement will still apply.
  • When the order has been granted, it must be lodged with the CRO as soon as possible, and in advance of the annual return. This order grants an extension to file the annual return and sets out the date by which the financial statements must be filed.
  • Once the order is filed, the accounts and form B1 must be filed within the specified timeframe. This can be as much as eight weeks after the court date, but the applicant should check as each order can be different. A B1 form must be filed with a filing fee of €20.

Discover how a Section 343 application can help your client navigate these circumstances and secure additional time. Click here to find out more about how they can avoid penalties and audit-exemption loss.

Find out more

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