By Gordon Deegan
Almost half of revenues generated by the Companies Registration Office last year came from penalties imposed on companies filing late annual accounts.
According to the 2017 annual report, the office generated more than €8.2m in revenue from late filing fees or 47% of its revenues of €17.48m for 2017.
However, the amount received through late filing fees last year fell 18.3% from the €10.08m in 2016.
The annual report said that the overall decline in revenue, to €17.48m, can be attributed to an introduction of mandatory electronic filing and the drop in late filing fees.
The cost of filing an annual return electronically is €20 while the cost of a manual filing is €40. The move towards e-filed documents has coincided with a sharp drop in the numbers employed at the office.
In 2007, the Companies Registration Office employed 150 and accepted 126,784 e-filed documents that year compared to 103 employed last year and the number of e-filed documents received more than tripling to 377,603.
The report said that the staff reductions “have not prevented the office from dealing with an increasing number of submissions as the registers of companies and business names have expanded through the last decade”.
Expenditure last year was €7.1m which represented a 6.5% rise 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 which is the highest number in recent years and a 6.4% increase on 2016 volumes.
The number of companies on the register at the end of 2017 totalled 215,020, according to the annual report.