Firms pay CRO €8.2m in late-filing penalties
Almost half of revenues generated by the Companies Registration Office (CRO) last year came from penalties imposed on companies filing late annual accounts.
According to the CRO's 2017 annual report, it received €8.234m of revenues from late filing fees last year - or 47pc of total revenues of €17.48m.
The amount was down 18.3pc on the late filing revenue income of €10.08m in 2016.
The annual report states that the decline in income to €17.48m can be attributed to an introduction of mandatory electronic filing and the drop in late-filing fees.
The report states that the cost of filing an annual return electronically is €20 while the cost of a manual filing was €40.
The move towards e-filed documents has coincided with a sharp drop in the numbers employed at the CRO.
In 2007, the CRO employed 150 and accepted 126,784 e-filed documents that year. This compares to 103 employed last year with the number of e-filed documents received more than tripling to 377,603. The report states that the staff reductions "have not prevented the CRO from dealing with an increasing number of submissions as both the registers of companies and business names have expanded through the last decade".
The report states that the development of electronic filings has greatly reduced the document backlog - in 2007, there was a 545,889 document backlog compared to 77,600 at the end of 2017.
The CRO's expenditure last year was €7.1m which represented a 6.5pc increase on the 2016 spend leaving a surplus of more than €10m.
The report also records that the number of new companies incorporated last year was 22,304 - the highest number in recent years which represented a 6.4pc increase on 2016 volumes.
The number of companies on the register at the end of 2017 totalled 215,020.
The figures show that the number of unlimited companies - where directors opt to put the financial affairs of their firms beyond public scrutiny - last year increased to 4,749, or 2.19pc of the total number of companies registered.
The number of public limited companies reduced by 10pc, going from 1,412 to 1,271.
The report shows that the number of companies that went into examinership last year totalled 21 - an increase of one on 2016.
The number of liquidations last year totalled 1,760 - down marginally on the 1,754 total for 2016.
The number of companies to be voluntary struck off the company register in 2017 stood at 5,494 - an increase of 7pc over 2016.
In addition, the number of companies involuntary struck off was 5,420 which represented a significant decrease over strike-off levels in 2016.