Statutory Instrument 308 of 2012 increased the audit exemption criteria for Companies. Under the new legislation a company can now avail of the audit exemption provided the turnover of the Company does not exceed €8,800,000 and the balance sheet total does not exceed €4,400,000.
This represents an increase in the turnover criteria by €1,500,000 from €7,300,000 to €8,800,000 and an increase in the balance sheet total criteria of €750,000 from €3,650,000 to €4,400,000. S.I. 308 updates S.32 of the Companies Act 1999 which sets the criteria for availing of the audit exemption.
Now under Section 32 of Companies (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 1999 (“the Act”) a private limited company may avail of an exemption from a requirement to have financial statements audited if it meets the following criteria.
- Is a company to which the Companies (Amendment) Act 1986 applies;
- The turnover of the Company does not exceed €8,800,000
- The balance sheet total does not exceed €4,400,000
- Average employees does not exceed 50
- The company is not one of the following: - A company limited by guarantee, a public limited company, Bank or Insurance Company, a group company (i.e. parent, holding or subsidiary company), an investment, stock broking, building society, credit institution, management or trustee company.
- The company must be up to date with its filing requirements at the Companies Registration Office.
- The company should satisfy all the conditions in respect of the financial year in which the company is to avail of the exemption and the previous financial year.
The increases in the audit exemption are unquestionably a welcome relief to SME businesses and their accountants alike.
The Companies Bill 2012, which is yet to be enacted, extends the audit exemption to small groups where a holding company and all of its subsidiary companies taken together meet the above criteria and also extends the audit exemption to companies limited by guarantee and dormant companies. Additionally the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has launched a consultation on whether companies should be allowed to avail of audit exemption when two of the three criteria required for eligibility are met. We await for this Bill to be enacted.
This is an area of change which we can advise and assist with.
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