It is a statutory requirement under the Companies Acts for companies to file an annual return and accounts with the Companies Registration Office, CRO. There is a statutory requirement where returns are filed late for a late filing penalty to be paid. It is the policy of the CRO that late filing penalties are waived only in exceptional circumstances, and for particular categories of company, such as charities, on a once-off basis only.
The company in question is the kind of company, which would be considered for a once-off waiver of late filing penalties, on the basis that its objectives and activities relate to the promotion of community welfare in its local area.
The company's 2002 annual return was due to be made up to a date no later than its annual return date of 12 June 2002, and had to be filed with CRO no later than 12 July 2002 in order to avoid late filing penalties. In the event, that return was not filed until 25 October 2002, thus incurring a late filing penalty of €418. This late filing penalty was waived, on the basis of the applicable criteria, on a once-off basis and the company was so informed.
The company's 2003 annual return was due to be made up to a date no later than 12 June 2003, and had to be filed no later than 12 July 2003 in order to avoid late filing penalties. That return was not filed until 25 January 2004, thus incurring a late filing penalty of €694. I understand that the late filing penalty has been paid.
The CRO never allows a second waiver of late filing penalties, having regard to what has been advertised and notified to beneficiary companies as the once-off nature of the waiver. The CRO is accordingly not prepared to refund the late filing penalty.
As regards its 2003 annual return, CRO records show that the company was notified, by a letter from the office dated 14 May 2003, of its upcoming annual return date, of 12 June 2003, and once the filing date had passed without the return being filed, the office issued a letter to the company dated 14 July 2003 to remind it that it was now incurring late filing penalties and should file without delay. I agree with the CRO's policy in this matter. I regret, therefore, that it is not possible to grant a second waiver in this case.