A company’s Annual Return Date (ARD) can be changed by either bringing the date forward to an earlier date or by extending it to a later date.

Companies Act 2014 allows a company to extend its ARD by up to six months by filing a Form B1B73 electronically with the CRO:

  • The Form B1B73 may only be filed once in every five years.
  • The form B1/B73 can only be accepted where it is filed on time and in line with the ARD. Therefore is must be submitted within 56 days of the ARD or the return made up to date if submitting it early. A B1/B73 cannot be accepted when the 56 days from the ARD have passed.
  • The form B1/B73 is one submission and can be filed on CORE.
  • The change in ARD arising from filing a Form B1B73 should not result in there being more than nine months between the end of the previous financial year and the ARD.
  • Form B1B73 cannot be filed with the company’s first annual return after incorporation (the six-month return) as this would only shorten the time available to file the first full annual return with Financial Statements.
  • After filing a form B1B73 with the CRO, the company should check that it has been registered and the ARD moved on. Otherwise the company could miss its filing deadline resulting in late filing penalties and loss of audit exemption. It is a statutory requirement that Form B1B73 be delivered to the CRO within 56 days from the company’s existing ARD. As a matter of law, a Form B1B73 is ineffective and cannot be accepted by the CRO if it is filed more than 56 days after the company’s existing ARD.

Form B1B73 should not be filed with the company’s first annual return

  • A company’s first annual return is made up to the date which is 6 months post-incorporation, no financial statements attached. (Section 349 Companies Act 2014).
  • Filing the Form B1B73 shortens the timescale within which financial statements have to be filed by the company
  • For example a company incorporated on 10 February 2019 is due to make its first annual return (without accounts) up to 10 August 2019. On filing this return, its next annual return date becomes 10 August 2020. If the company files a B1B73 with its first return, however, it creates a new ARD, being the date nominated by it on the B1B73, and financial statements will have to be attached to its second return which can be made up to 10 February 2020 at the latest.

New companies are due to file financial statements with their second annual return, which return is required to be made up to a date not later than 18 months post-incorporation, unless the company alters its ARD. Such companies may extend their ARD using Form B1B73 procedure outlined above. (The company can opt to extend its annual return date (ARD) by a maximum of up to six months from its current ARD).

Requirements that still need to followed by company – Please Note: The company and its officers ought to ensure that the company does not breach other requirements of the Companies Acts – such as the requirement to hold its first AGM within 18 months of incorporation (section 175 Companies Act 2014) and the requirement to present financial statements to its AGM within 9 months of the balance sheet date  (section 341 Companies 2014)

These obligations are entirely independent of the annual return filing obligation with the CRO. It is a criminal offence to breach section 175/341 Companies Act 2014.