Businesses in Ireland will be given more time to file annual returns this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yesterday (19 March), Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, announced a decision by the registrar of companies that all annual returns due for filing between now and 30 June 2020 will be treated as if they have been filed on time if all parts of the return are completed by that date.
The decision was made to give businesses and their financial advisers room to focus on more immediate and unexpected financial challenges arising from the Covid-19 outbreak and, if needed, the deadline may be pushed back further.
For companies due to complete annual return filings at any stage between now and the end of June, this means that their annual return will be marked as filed on time if they capture the B1 form, upload their financial statements, pay the fee, submit it online and deliver the signature page as normal to the companies registration office (CRO).
Businesses can also complete the filing as normal using Revenue Online Services signatures instead of a signatures page.
‘Minimise the worst impacts of this disruption’
Minister Humphreys highlighted the need for this decision given the current “difficult, worrying and upsetting time for many businesses”.
“We are doing everything we can to support them,” she said. “I am in constant contact with our business sectors and stakeholders and we are assessing the situation constantly.
“I have also written to all of our companies registered with the CRO outlining the many supports that are available from the Government. If practical and immediate action can be taken to assist business, then that will be done.
“Working together, we can make the decisions and take the actions which will ensure that we minimise the worst impacts of this disruption and that we are best placed to return to normality when it passes.”
The department has advised that companies in a position to file as normal during this time should do so, and that annual returns likely won’t be processed within the usual timeframes. It reassured businesses that “anything received will be queued and processed as soon as possible”.
Last week, the Government announced details of a support package for businesses affected by the coronavirus, including loans of up to €1.5m and a rescue and restructuring scheme.