MHC Tech Law: Is your company website providing full disclosure?


30 May 20163 Shares

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Mason Hayes & Curran breaks down the disclosure requirements of the Irish Companies Act 2014 so you can be sure your compliance checklist is complete.

Disclosure requirements of the Irish Companies Act 2014 impact company websites and letterheads. Irish companies need to ensure they are compliant with this law.

Where to display the company name

Under the Companies Act 2014, every Irish incorporated company must display its full name in clear legible writing in a prominent place outside both its registered office and every other office or place at which any of its business activity is carried on. This is the case even where the company uses a serviced registered office address.

What to include on your websites

Every company must display the following information in a prominent or easily accessible place on its websites.

  • Name and type of the company
  • Place of registration of the company and its registered number
  • Registered office

In the case of a company exempt from the obligation to use the company type as part of its name, the relevant type of company should be included elsewhere.

In the case of a company that is being wound up, that fact must be included.

If share capital is mentioned it must be a reference to issued, fully paid-up share capital.

It is advisable for this information to be displayed prominently either on a company’s homepage or via a noticeable, easily accessible link on its homepage.

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What you need on your business letterhead

A company must include on its business letters:

  • The full name of the company, including the relevant suffix (the only permissible abbreviations are ‘Ltd’ for Limited, ‘Teo’ for Teoranta, ‘Plc’ for Public Limited Company, ‘DAC’ for Designated Activity Company, etc)
  • The forenames or initials, surnames and any former forenames and surnames of the directors, and their nationality, if not Irish

The following additional particulars must be shown on letters and on order forms, whether they are in paper or any other form, such as on the website, of all companies:

  • The type of the company (ie Private Limited Company, Designated Activity Company, Public Limited Company or Company Limited by Guarantee, etc)
  • The company number
  • The address of the registered office. (If this is already included on the document, because, for instance, it is the company’s main postal address, the fact that this address is the registered office address should be noted)
  • If the company is being wound up, reference must be included to this effect
  • If share capital is mentioned it must be a reference to issued, fully paid up share capital

In addition, where a Company Limited by Guarantee or a Designated Activity Company has received permission to dispense with the use of the company type as part of its name, the company must disclose its type on its letters and order forms.

These requirements apply only to letters and order forms. These details do not need to be included on, for instance, delivery notes or invoices.

What’s in a name?

Even if a company trades under a business name different from its corporate name, its full corporate name, together with the information required for companies and branches set out above, must be shown on all letters related to that business name.

What are the penalties?

Failure to comply with the requirements described above may lead to a defaulting company and its directors facing a fine of up to €5,000 and, in certain limited circumstances, the directors facing personal liability for their company’s obligations.

Keeping up to date

Directors and secretaries should continue to be aware of their companies’ ongoing disclosure obligations, not least in light of the re-registration deadline under the Companies Act 2014. Companies re-registering as DACs, for instance, will need to ensure that their stationery is updated to incorporate the new suffix ‘DAC’ or ‘Designated Activity Company’ in place of ‘Limited’.

Tech Law is a weekly series brought to you by Irish law firm Mason Hayes & Curran, whose legal tech team advises the world’s top social media organisations and emerging start-ups. Check out www.mhc.ie for more.

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Company website image via Shutterstock

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