MORE THAN 23,000 Irish-registered companies are at least 30 days late filing their Annual Returns – and some are taking a ‘strategic’ move in not filing, despite the threat of a fine, says an expert.
In total, 17,000 of these companies are at least three months overdue, according to the Irish company Search4Less, which compiled the statistics.
Annual Returns are required to be made every year no later than a company’s Next Annual Return Date (NARD).
Barry Darmody, managing director of Search4Less, described it as “alarming” that 10 per cent of all Irish companies are overdue by more than 60 days.
Darmody said that “this is likely indicative of a more serious underlying issue and it’s notable that a large proportion of these companies are small to medium sized enterprises”.
He said that proposed new legislation enabling companies to register as single member companies would have a positive impact on these numbers, as it would ease the burden on directors and streamline the process.
When asked why companies file late, he said that in some cases they may be involved in commercially sensitive negotiations with banks and it “wouldn’t make sense for those companies to file them on time”.
But he said that others “might wait for Christmas time or big news to file so it doesn’t get picked up”. He said that some people would be “media shy” and prefer to file at such times.
Darmody noted that on some occasions, there may be companies with two directors who may not be able to get company accounts signed on time because there could be irreconcilable differences between them.
Those who don’t file on time face a €1200 maximum fine, but this would not be onerous on all businesses, said Darmody.
There might be a case of some businesses “not fully understanding their obligations”, he added.