Company ownership registration debacle - Just one week to registration deadline - only 23% of Irish companies compliant with new law

Dublin, 14 November 2019 - Only 23% of the 234,510 companies that are legally obliged to register their ownership details with the Companies Registration Office by 22nd November 2019 had done so by yesterday, Wednesday 13th November. This, despite the possibility of fines of up to €500,000 in the worst-case scenario.

The Chartered Governance Institute, the body representing governance professionals such as company secretaries who are helping companies to navigate the process, says that due to a litany of problems since the registration requirements were announced, it’s highly unlikely that there will be anything close to full compliance by the approaching deadline.

Commenting on the lack of compliance, John Burns, Regional Development Manager, Ireland, for The Chartered Governance Institute said, “By law, every company must register their beneficial owners within the next ten days. But IT glitches and delays have meant that a six-month period to have these owners registered has been seriously affected. An issue originally highlighted by the Institute in a submission made earlier in the year regarding foreign domiciled company owners who did not have the required Irish PPS number was one reason for the delay. This issue was finally sorted by mid-October but caused a four-month long backlog for that category of owner.

“There are still ongoing problems with one in four registrations being rejected due to inconsistencies in the information where, as an example, a PJ Murphy may be the owner of a company, however his official name is Patrick Murphy and unless he uses Patrick the application is liable to be rejected. A rejection is then sent to the owner and the advisor will be informed that the submission was rejected, however neither will know the exact reason for the rejection. This can lead to frustrations on the side of the owners and advisors and multiple attempts at filing.

“It may well be the case of too many cooks spoiling the broth because there are different stakeholders, including the Departments of Justice, Finance and Enterprise. The Companies Registration Office is endeavouring to deal with issues and queries that arise while they would appear to have had no input into the actual legislation or timelines imposed. Even the choice of closing date, the 22nd of November, is curious, as this is easily the busiest time for a company’s annual returns being filed. That, coupled with personal tax deadlines, has put huge pressure on advisors and their clients in trying to meet all the various deadlines.

“Meanwhile our members are faced with the ire of company owners who are frustrated with the process. Worse, it’s still not clear, despite this being a problem created by the authorities, that there will be an extension date given to register ownership or whether fines or other penalties for late or non-registration will be imposed. Members need clarity on these serious issues immediately.”

- Ends -

For further information, please contact:

John Burns, Regional Development Manager, Irish Region
+353 (0)86 8888949


Notes to Editors:

  1. The Chartered Governance Institute is the qualifying and membership body for governance with over 125 years’ experience of educating and supporting governance professionals. With a Royal Charter purpose of leading ‘effective and efficient governance and administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’, we provide professional development, guidance and thought leadership, and work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards. Website: 
  2. The Irish region of The Chartered Governance Institute is governed by its own Council and sub-committees representing all areas of business in which the members in the Republic of Ireland work. It has approximately 600 members and 200 students with many of its members working in the corporate and professional services sectors.
    Through its Council and sub-committees it provides a range of services to members and students, including the organisation of educational and social events. Council also makes representations and submissions to Government Departments and Governance Forums on behalf of the Institute’s members. Website: 

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