Section 343 District Court Application to Restore Lost Audit Exemption

The Companies Act 2014 introduced a District Court Application process under section 343 for companies who have missed or know that they may miss their filing deadline for their Companies Registration Office annual return. The Application can eliminate the need for a company to pay late filing penalties and also allows the company to retain its Audit Exemption which is otherwise lost for two years.

How does the process work?

The company cannot represent itself so it must have the appropriate legal representation in Court which Company Bureau can arrange. The main steps of the procedure can be summarised as follows:

    • An application for a Court date must be made to the District Court in which the company’s registered office is situated
    • A copy of the above notice of application and a copy of the Affidavit must be served on the CRO
    • The application and a declaration of service to the Registrar are then filed with the Court no later than four days before the date fixed for the hearing.
    • Upon completion of the hearing, if the Order is granted it should be filed at the CRO (usually within 28 days) and the B1, accounts and standard filing fee should be delivered to the CRO no later than the date to which the extension has been granted.

Which District Court should my application be made to?

The company must make the application at the District Court nearest to where the registered office is located. We make most of our applications to the Dublin District Court, as the Judges sitting here are becoming increasingly familiar with this new procedure and the issues which arise. As such, our legal team can anticipate the questions which the Judge will ask and prepare accordingly. We therefore recommend a temporary change of Registered Office to our address – which is included in our service, for this purpose. Upon completion of the hearing and the issuing of the Order, the registered office will be immediately changed back.
We can of course make applications to other District Courts around the country but this may increase the cost and timescale of the application.

What explanations will the Court accept for missing my Annual Return filing deadline?

There are no standard excuses and indeed Judges tend to react negatively when they hear the same explanation time after time. As such we ask that the facts of each case are given as comprehensively as possible. Our solicitors will then summarise this information down to the key points for presentation to the Court. If there is any independent third-party documentation such as a medical certificate, a doctor’s letter, a death certificate etc. in support of the reason for late filing, this will help considerably.

Is there a guarantee that the application will be successful?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to give a guarantee that any application which goes before the Courts will be successful. Whilst the making of the order is at the discretion of the District Court Judge on the day – So far, they have been receptive to valid explanations and the vast majority of orders have been granted thus far.

Will the extension of the time to file change my Annual Return Date?

No, the extension of time relates to the 28 days after the company’s ARD that it has to file with the CRO. The Court Order extends these days and not the ARD itself.

How long after the company has missed its deadline can it get an extension?

There is no limit to the timeframe for making the application as long as the company is still on the Register (i.e. it has not been struck off) and the Annual Return/s in question has not been filed.

My company is strike-off listed, will I still be able to make an application?

Yes – as long as the company is still on the Register then it can make an application. However, it is important to ensure that the Directors act quickly to guarantee that the application can be made before the Company is actually struck off. Where a strike-off is pending and the CRO has been formally served a copy of the notice of application to the Court for an extension, the strike-off will be temporarily deferred pending the application being heard.

My company is dissolved, can I still make an application to extend my time for filing?

If a company has been struck off the Register then they cannot make an application under this particular section of the legislation. Instead they will need to undertake either an H1 (Administrative Restoration) or High Court Restoration (depending on whether they have been struck off for more than 12 months). Under either of these processes, the Company will have to file audited financial statements and pay the relevant late filing penalties.

Can I include multiple years in the same application?

Yes – it is possible to include multiple years for which annual returns are outstanding in the same application. However, you can only apply once to the Court for any given outstanding year.

How long does it take?

As you can imagine this can vary from case to case. However, the majority of Orders will be issued within 3 months from receipt of the completed application form and payment of our fees.

How much does it cost and how can you assist?

Company Bureau ( has been in the company formation, company secretarial and compliance business in Ireland since 1997. We can offer you a friendly and professional service which will take you through every step of this process and arrange for legal representation to be engaged on your behalf.

Our fee for this service is just €995+VAT plus court fees of €150. Please note that if the case is adjourned for any reason, we reserve the right to make further charges for additional attendance at Court.

For more information on the Section 343 District Court Application or to proceed with an application, please do not hesitate to contact the experts at Company Bureau at +3531 646 1625 or you can also fill out the Contact Form on our website and an expert will be in touch as soon as possible.

Contact us now for further details