CPA Ireland has welcomed the passing of amendments to the Companies (Statutory Audits) Bill 2017 which it says will benefit small to medium sized businesses. CPA Ireland had been strongly opposed to proposals which would have required small companies to apply to the High Court for an Audit Exemption if they missed the deadline for filing annual returns with the CRO.
Cormac Mohan, CPA Ireland President said that the changes were “a welcome and common-sense approach". Audit exemptions provide businesses in the state the opportunity to reduce their compliance costs. In force majeure circumstances such as a bereavement or illness it is appropriate that small companies can receive an extension to their deadline for annual filings. This should not come at the cost of losing audit exemption status. The Companies Act 2014 made allowances for such extension to be granted by the District Court. However, the original drafts of this legislation would have imposed prohibitive costs on small companies by requiring the High Court to grant extensions.
“In 2017 the CRO received 1,072 such notices of applications from companies and only 25 were refused. This demonstrates that when such cases were heard in the District Court the majority of decisions were for an extension to be granted. Therefore, requiring such applications to proceed to the High Court would have been a needless and costly step.”
CPA Ireland have been calling for changes on this issue since 2017 and encouraged its Members to take part in a grassroots campaign. Concluding, President Cormac Mohan said “Reversing these proposals demonstrate the capacity of our Oireachtas to objectively listen to and respond appropriately to the concerns of the people and business owners. We welcome this decision.”