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5 things you need to know about the Companies (Accounting) Act 2017

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The Companies (Accounting) Act 2017 (the “2017 Act”) is a substantial piece of legislation that made several amendments to the Companies Act 2014 – notably the form, content and filings of annual and consolidated financial statements.

We’ve summarised the top five things you need to know about the 2017 Act.

1: Accounting changes

The 2017 Act redefined the thresholds for what qualifies as a micro, small, medium and large company, which in turn dictate financial reporting requirements. It introduced less burdensome accounting compliance requirements for companies that fall into the “micro” bracket, while medium-sized businesses are now required to prepare financial reports in full.

2: Non-filing structures

The 2017 Act reduced the scope for unlimited companies to avoid filing financial statements with an amended and much broader definition of what constitutes a “Designated Unlimited Company”. It also required ULCs with a limited liability subsidiary to file financial statements for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2022.

3: Expanded branch definition

Previously, unlimited foreign companies could not register a branch in the State. Under the 2017 Act, the definition of what constitutes a branch was expanded to “EEA company” and “Non-EEA company”.

That meant an unlimited non-Irish entity that is a subsidiary of a limited liability corporate must register as a branch if it is operating in Ireland – bringing significantly more ULCs within the Companies Registration Office financial filing regime.

4: Unlimited companies’ names

The 2017 Act required that all unlimited companies must use the words “unlimited company” in their names, and can’t apply for exemption to the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Companies that have already been granted an exemption will retain it until the period specified in the exemption letter has elapsed.

5: Extractive industries and logging

The 2017 Act introduced mandatory reporting requirements for large companies, groups and “public interest entities” involved in oil and gas exploration or extraction, mining or the logging of primary forests.