If you have started or operated a company in Ireland, you are no doubt familiar with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). The CRO is the central repository of public statutory information on Irish companies and business names. The CRO’s core functions include the incorporation of companies, the registration of business names, the enforcement of filing obligations of companies and the dissemination of select company information to the public.
All Irish companies, and to a lesser extent business names, have an obligation to file appropriate documents with the CRO. These documents include any changes to registered office, changes to the roster of company officers such as directors or secretaries, and a number of other notable alterations in the companies’ makeup or financial station. The CRO also maintains records of mortgages and charges imposed on companies. In addition, all companies must file annual return reports with the CRO.
Failure to file an annual report may result in the company being removed from the register of companies, which, in turn, revokes the protection of limited liability, making individuals personally responsible for any debts incurred after their removal from the CRO list.
The CRO makes almost all of the information filed with it open and available for public inspection. Company names and the addresses of registered offices can be acquired free of charge using the CRO online web search feature. Individuals who require a more detailed synopsis of company information can obtain one from the CRO for a small fee by ordering a company printout or requesting a copy of any particular document on file.
As of June 2017, CRO has required that several of its most important filings be handled electronically. Those filings include:
Form B1 — Annual Return, including financial statements
Form B2 — Change of Registered Address Office
Form B10 — Change of Directory/Company Secretary or their details
Form B73 — Nomination of a New Annual Return Date
What do these changes mean for business owners and filers? Overwhelmingly, the shift to electronic filing has resulted in faster, more reliable service, which has produced lower costs and greater workplace efficiencies. Here’s how:
Ireland Companies Registration Office Offers Speed and Accessibility
Timing is essential when dealing with company registration or filing an annual return. In the past, this procedure could take ages. Aside from the time it took to gather all the necessary information, manually entering each file could be tortuously slow and costly.
Electronic filing has helped streamline the process dramatically through the use of online templates and e-form wizards that prompt users through the forms and complete their annual returns on time. In addition to the speed at which you can prepare your files, the CRO’s electronic filing systems allows you to bypass the hassle and wait times associated with the post. Electronic filing can help you avoid the penalties and damage to your professional reputation associated with late filing. You are also able to file electronically from anywhere that you have a secure online connection, any time of day or night. So, whether you are in the office or halfway around the world, you can rest assured that your filings are complete.
Still not convinced? Then consider this. Electronic filing with the CRO automatically grants you an additional 28 days to submit signature pages, accounts and fees. So, in addition to saving you time, electronic filing actually extends your deadline.
Ireland Companies Registration Office Helps Save Money
It is not hard to see how electronic filing can be a cost-savings change for your company. Consider the typical number of work hours it takes for you or your employees to compile and organize the materials needed to complete your file. Electronic filing allows you to dramatically reduce that time by providing you with the information you need to process your annual returns and company registration forms.
You’ll no longer be paying for postage or document delivery services, and you can strike the additional cost of stationary or other paper supplies from your budget. The CRO has even cut the annual report fee in half, reducing it from £40 for paper filing to £20 for online filing.
Ireland Companies Registration Office Improves Efficiency and Workflow
One of the downfalls of manually processing annual reports on paper is the likelihood of human error. If not caught in time, these errors can jeopardize the legitimacy of the report, and can cost the company time and money to amend. Electronic filing helps to reduce the likelihood of errors by using pre-filled annual returns containing the data from the previous annual return. You need only review the data and make any changes for the current year. Built-in check-ins help you to avoid omission errors that commonly delay the registration of paper filings. In addition, electronic filing systems in third-party software packages can alert you to upcoming deadlines through email notifications, helping you to avoid the hassle of late filing penalties.
Ireland Companies Registration Office Provides Security
In past years, paper filing meant that as soon as your annual report left your office, it was out of your control. Time lags in the post or delivery services, and the dangers of document tampering, were all distinctly possible. Electronic filing helps ease those concerns. CRO provides its users with a secure online filing system, the Companies Online Registration Environment (CORE).
Using CORE’s password-protected log-in system, you are able to file documents online, check the status of your companies, receive notifications for filings of companies in your portfolio, and obtain your CRO account balance, transactions records and statements. CORE also allows you to track the status of your annual report within the CRO, so you will know that your file has all the necessary documentation. The CRO makes every effort to safeguard your data from any sort of fraud or theft, protecting it to the fullest extent of the new GDPR mandates.
In an increasingly digital world, it only makes sense that your company registers its annual reports online. Electronic filing offers fast, cost-effective service while increasing your efficiency and securing your important financial data.
If you have further questions about completing your annual reports for CRO, contact a Blueprint representative.