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Moratorium on CRO Enforcement Comes To An End

  • Ireland
  • Corporate secretarial services

28-07-2022

In 2020, the Companies Registration Office provided an amnesty of sorts to companies in Ireland as regards their statutory filings in recognition of the difficulties arising out of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This included provisions for extending the filing deadline for annual returns and financial statements and there was also a moratorium on involuntary strike offs, meaning those companies that had persistently failed to make their statutory filings were given an opportunity to restore the company to good standing without having to go through the restoration process.

The Registrar of Companies, Maureen O’Sullivan (the “Registrar”) has now confirmed that no further extensions to filing deadlines will be provided to companies and the involuntary strike off regime has recommenced. The Registrar also estimates that currently there are approximately 10,000 companies due to be involuntarily struck off the registrar for failing to make their statutory filings and are at risk of imminent strike off.

Also confirmed by the Registrar is the recommencement of the regime of prosecuting company officers who continually default on filing obligations and the recommencing of this regime coincides with the establishment of the Corporate Enforcement Authority this year which will surely result in an increase in company related prosecutions going forward.

Whilst the amount of “live” companies on the Register is at an all-time high, the Registrar commented that this is due to the suspension of the involuntary strike off process and the reinstatement of this regime should have the effect of bringing the live company count down to a more realistic number.

Missing a statutory deadline can be very costly as, at the very least, it will give rise to monetary fines, and if a company has an audit exemption, that audit exemption will be lost for two subsequent financial years. In addition, an involuntary striking off ought to be avoided insofar as possible as restoration applications can be very expensive and time consuming. Should your company be at risk of being struck off involuntarily, we advise that you act now to bring your filings up to date. If however your company has already been struck off the Register, we can assist in getting it restored to the Register by preparing the outstanding annual returns, ancillaries and making a direct application to the CRO for restoration in the case of a company dissolved less than 12 months. If the company has been dissolved more than 12 months, an application to the High Court will be required and we can also advise and assist with this.

The easiest and most cost effective method of avoiding this is to put controls in place or outsource your company secretarial requirements to a suitably qualified provider. Our Company Secretarial Team can help your company avoid being involuntarily struck off by advising on your company’s compliance requirements and director training to help with good corporate governance and ensure statutory filings are not missed.

For further information, please get in touch with a member of the team.