In our blog post Annual Return Compliance Obligations In Ireland - What Are They?, we considered the compliance requirements of an Irish company including the filing of its annual return and financial statements. Many Irish companies change their annual return date if it is not appropriate and in some instances companies alter their financial year end as it is no longer suitable. In this blog, we will consider the circumstances in which an Irish company can make these alterations.
Rules Regarding The Annual Return Date & Financial Statements
In Ireland, generally companies must file their statutory financial statements together with their annual return. The exception being the company’s first annual return which is due 6 months from the date of incorporation and there is no requirement to file financial statements with same. The annual return date in subsequent years will fall on the anniversary of the first annual return date unless the date is extended or shortened.
Shortening The Annual Return Date
In all cases the annual return of a company cannot be made up to a date which is more than 9 months after its financial year end. The most common reason to shorten the annual return date is if the allocated date falls more than 9 months after the financial year end. In such scenarios, the annual return must be made up to an earlier date. When an annual return is filed in advance of its deadline, the company must tick a box to confirm that they either wish to retain their annual return date for next year or change it to the earlier date at which the current return is made up to. If the company wishes to shorten the annual return date for any reason, they could do so by ticking the box to change the date.
Extending The Annual Return Date
As the financial statements are generally filed together with the annual return, most companies prefer to have an annual return date which is 9 months after the year end. This will give the company the maximum amount of time to produce, approve and file its financial statements. The annual return date of the company can be extended by simply filing the annual return together with a statutory form B73 to extend the annual return date. However, there are rules surrounding this:
- The form B73 should not be filed with the first 6 month annual return;
- The annual return date cannot be extended by more than 6 months at a time;
- The form B73 to extend the annual return date can only be filed once every 5 years;
- The form B73 must be delivered to the CRO within 28 days from the company's existing annual return date or it will be deemed ineffective.
Changing The Financial Year End
The first financial period for a company commences on its incorporation date and ends on a date no more than 18 months after incorporation. The financial period for each subsequent year must be 12 months, or such other period which the directors may determine on the condition that it is not 7 days shorter or longer than 12 months.
Companies might wish to alter their financial year end by more than 7 days for several reasons such as to coincide with their parent company’s year end or to coincide with other deadlines which require information from the financial statements. Companies can alter their financial period by more than 7 days by filing a statutory form B83 on the following conditions:
- The form B83 to extend the year end can only be filed once every 5 years unless exempted by section 288(10) of the Companies Act 2014;
- The form B83 cannot be filed later than the deadline for filing the financial statements in respect of the previous year end.