Filing Accounts Electronically
Since the 10 March 2014, accounts can be filed electronically with the Companies Registration Office (“CRO”) with signatures in a typed format as the requirement for accounts to contain original handwritten signatures of directors and auditors has now been removed.
Accounts delivered to the Registrar with typed names only are required to be certified by a director and secretary, in either written or electronic form, to affirm the originality of the annexed account documents.
Electronically Filing An Annual Return Through CORE
When filing a Form B1 (Annual Return) through Companies Online Registration Environment (“CORE”), the presenter must first select the company type and accounts type and then indicate the format of the accounts they wish to file. Typically, if the accounts being filed were not originals, an overall certification page signed by the director and secretary would accompany the accounts stating they were a true reflection of the original. With CORE’s updated system a certification statement appears on the B1 signature page allowing the director and secretary to sign for both the e-filed B1 and accounts on a single page. An electronic filing agent cannot sign the accounts certification.
The new CORE system allows the presenter to upload the accounts in pdf format and send the single signed page to the CRO. This page represents both the B1 annual return and the accounts which have been uploaded in pdf. This replaces the previous system whereby presenters were required to send the accounts in paper form to the CRO. Where presenters have the authority to sign the signature page using Revenue On Line Services (“ROS”) signatures, no paper documents need to be sent to the CRO.
Electronically Filing A B1 Through A Software Package
Suppliers of specialised software packages are currently updating their software to include the account types in the list of attachments and accommodate the number of corresponding certificates which will be electronically added to the signature pages. While these updates are being made B1s should be filed as normal, accounts should contain typed signatures and the overall accounts certification should be signed by the director and secretary.
Filing A Paper B1 & Accounts
Should you wish to file a paper B1 with accounts containing typed signatures, a signed certificate by a director and secretary must be attached to either, each individual document, or on an overall certificate on the front of the first page of the accounts stating each is a true copy of the original.
The CRO provide specific wording for certifications to be used on an overall certificate depending on the company status and type of accounts being submitted. Further to this, the CRO have suggested a number of scenarios that may arise when filing a B1 electronically and have suggested a course of action for each.
Paperless Filing System
The new procedure aligns with the CRO’s commitment towards a completely paperless filing system. In 2013, 66% of all documents submitted to the CRO were filed electronically, either through the CRO’s own E-filing system or using CRO-approved company secretarial software packages.