Business Technology

Streamlined, Paperless Filing On The New CORE System

By October 2020November 18th, 2020No Comments
Streamlined, Paperless Filing On The New CORE System - Beyond Accounting Dublin

If you run a business in Ireland, you will have dealt with Companies Registration Office (CRO), the statutory authority for registering new companies and business names in the Republic of Ireland. CRO is where you go to register, for example, your shareholders and company directors, as well as where you file your annual returns. They are also the registrar for Friendly Societies.

Companies Online Registration Environment (CORE)

When it comes time to file these obligations, you can use the Companies Online Registration Environment, or CORE. It’s a fairly clunky system now and CRO has been working on a big update of this online platform as part of its digital transformation process. The new platform was due earlier this year but is now likely to be launched in December as CRO accommodates the disruption to normal working patterns.

The existing CORE system is 22 years old. Although it has evolved over the years, the time has come to make a real change. We are fans of CRO progressing with technology as it will make us far more efficient and productive. When I was a trainee, you had to physically visit the CRO offices to file something and trawl through microfiche records if you wanted to see a set of accounts. Getting a copy of anything was a huge operation. Now you can access a set of accounts for any company in the country in just a few seconds and for the modest sum of €2.50.

The new platform will centralise all your online interactions with CRO, acting as a one-stop-shop with an increased number of forms and self-service features available. Some of the new benefits they list are:

  • Faster form processing times
  • A streamlined experience
  • Better search capability
  • Integrated document ordering
  • Top-up credit facility

Some features of the new system

Multiple users

As an account administrator, you will be able to set up users on your account and see any forms that they file. This will be very useful for visibility over your obligations, as you cannot currently see the workspace of other people with access to your account.

Online forms

The number of forms available online is being increased – to 95% of all forms – and it will become much faster to file as integrated errors and warnings will notify you of any issues as you go, which will reduce the instances of your filings being rejected and you having to go back to redo and refile.

Paperless filing

The new system will be paperless, too. You will be able to sign documents using your Revenue Online Service (ROS) certificate for a 100% paperless online filing. Or, if you want, you can print the signature sheet, sign it, and then upload a scan of it back into CORE. It will be a welcome change that they will no longer require a signed paper form to be sent by post, especially for businesses that have multiple signatories in multiple locations.

Filing deadlines

With this new online environment come a few legislative changes you should know about. Firstly, it will become mandatory to file the A1 online. Secondly, the B1 and A1 28-day periods are being merged into one 56-day deadline for both. Getting rid of the two-step process for annual returns makes meeting deadlines a lot more straightforward.

User interface

You will be pleased to know that you can expect a far more modern, intuitive user interface on the new system. A simple menu down the left-hand side will give you access to the main services you need, and you can visualise the status of your various submissions on the new Dashboard. Altogether, it feels much more like the kind of streamlined, user-friendly platform that users have come to expect these days.

Making payments

Payments are another thing that you will have more control over. You can choose to pay by card each time you make a submission or add money to your account so that any payments can come out of that. It also means that accountants can file on your behalf, but the payment can still come from you instead of your accountant recharging the fee. This is optional, of course, but where bills are substantial it makes a lot more sense for the client to pay the bill themselves.

Secretarial software

CRO has worked with company secretary software providers since last year to ensure continued integration for users of such platforms. There has been testing of their connectivity since January. If you want to make sure the co-sec software you use will continue to work with the new system, you should check with your provider.

Top benefits I particularly like

  • We’ll be able to preview PDFs of the financial statements being uploaded and delete and replace any as necessary.
  • Reducing the potential for errors is great because it is a huge deal to rectify them (you have to go to court in such situations).
  • We are getting to the point where wet signatures will be a thing of the past. No more posting or hand-delivering forms, which is better because uploading PDFs saves everyone time, hassle, and money while reducing the risk of errors or missed deadlines.

When is switchover to the new CORE?

Switchover is currently expected in December 2020. When it happens, the existing CORE system will be offline for a week as everything is moved across. You will not be able to make any online filings during that period. Your existing account will be migrated but not your password, so when you first log into the new system you can expect it to issue a new temporary password via whichever email address you currently use.

You can keep up to date with all announcements made by CRO here.

CRO held a webinar back in August about the new system and published the extensive Q&A that came from that, which we have copied below.

Questions & Answers from the CRO webinar

Source: Companies Registration Office (CRO), published 27th August 2020

B1 – Annual Return

Key Change: Legislative changes to allow filings of B1 Annual Return up to 56 days after the Annual Return Date

Q: Will B1 have to be filed on ARD Date?

A: B1 can be filed on any date up to 56 days after the ARD to deem it on time

Q: If you file early before the ARD and miss 56 days from filing date, is return deemed late or just lapse?

A: All elements of a B1 can be started and filed at any time, they just need to be completed by 56 days after the ARD

Q: Can you still file early?

A: Yes

Q: 56 from ARD Date yes?

A: Yes

Q: Will rejected submissions being returned be given a 14day period still?

A: If a B1 is returned, there will be 14 days to amend and re-submit

Q: Can you now file a b1b and B1X now be online or are they still paper?

A: You will be able to file all B1 types online, including the B1B and B1X

Q: How are rejected B1’s dealt with, is it by post, email or through the website?

A: All electronically filed submissions will be dealt with through electronic means

Q: Will we be able to re-file a B1 within the 56-day period without making the B1 late? Currently not possible to amend a return once e-filed

A: Once a B1 is submitted it cannot be amended, for data integrity reasons, however, if you are still within the 56 days, another B1 can be filed, alternatively, a B1B can be filed after the 56 days to replace the one that is incorrect

Q: Are there any changes to the format of the B1? Is it the B1 first and then the accounts?

A: All elements of a B1 can be started and filed at any time, they just need to be completed by 56 days after the ARD

Q: When will be the 56-day become operational?

A: Once we are live with the new system

Annual Returns and Financial Statements

Key change: All elements of the B1 will need to be complete within 56-day period for Annual Returns. This means that financial statements must be uploaded as part of this process within 56 days.

Q: Will be possible to preview financial statements when uploading. At present you don’t get to preview the PDF you upload, and this gives room for uploading the wrong file.

A: Yes, and they can be deleted and re-uploaded if necessary

Q: Can you please confirm if it will be possible to preview financial statements when uploading? At present you don’t get to preview the PDF you upload, and this gives room for uploading the wrong file.

A: Yes, and they can be deleted and re-uploaded if necessary

Q: Will we still need to upload certifications for accounts?

A: If the B1 is signed by an EFA then a certification will have to be uploaded to certify the accounts

Q: Do you have to upload the financial statement before submitting the annual return to stop penalty fees form increasing the 56 days?

A: No penalties will be incurred during the 56 days, the B1 and all attachments and fees need to be completed by day 56

Q: Will there be an option for EFA’s to upload pre-signed accounts certifications pages or is it only the signature pages that generate after the financial statements are uploaded that will be accepted?

A: The accounts certification that needs to be signed if an EFA signs the B1 can be created at any time, independent of the CRO, so any version can be uploaded to the new system, irrelevant of when it was created

Q: Can accounts be uploaded [after] the signature page is downloaded?

A: No, all elements of the form must be complete before the signature page is available for download.

Q: Do the accounts need to be uploaded when filing the B1 or can the accounts be uploaded after the B1 is filled?

A: All elements of the form must be complete before the signature page is available for download.

Q: When will late fees incur if return is late? After 56 days from ARD?

A: Yes, fees will apply after 56 days

Annual Returns and Signatures/Signature Pages

Key changes: It will be possible to upload signature pages or electronically sign via Revenue’s ROS Signature. The questions below relate to the Annual Return, however upload of signature pages will apply to all electronic filings.

Q: Can the signature page be downloaded at any time during the 56-day window or must the financials statement be uploaded first?

A: All elements must be complete before signature page

Q: Are “wet signatures” still required on B1 or will e-signed documents be accepted?

A: B1s can be electronically signed using ROS or signed signature pages can be uploaded

Q: Can the signatory of the b1 preview the annual return?

A: Yes, a link to the B1 itself is sent with the email link to download and sign the signature page

Q: Is the signature page just a scan uploaded, or must it be a ROS signature or an e-signature?

A: It is just a scanned upload of the signed signature page

Q: Is it possible to opt out of sending a link to the B1 signatory i.e. we as the filer send them the link instead?

A: The presenter/filer can choose the email address for the signatories

Q: Are wet signatures still needed?

A: Signature pages still need to be signed, however, we will now accept them in scanned format rather then originals, so this removes the need for posting the signature pages and provides certainty around their delivery to the CRO

Q: Will DocuSign or e-sign signatures be accepted or is it still “wet signatures”?

A: No, as above

Q: Does the Signature Page upload need to be in PDF or will IMG format suffice?

A: It will need to be in pdf format

Q: Will the signature page be available for download before uploading the FS? If not, if you only get the FS on the 56th day you only have that day to get the signature page signed?

A: The FS have to be uploaded before the signature page is available to download, so if it day 56 then the signatures would have to be uploaded on the same day. This is doable, however, as they can be emailed to the signatories and they can upload them directly

Q: So “wet signatures” are still needed? Defeats the point of online filling if manual signatures are still required to be hand delivered to the CRO.

A: The signature pages are uploaded online, there is no paper delivered to the CRO

Q: Do the signature pages need to have wet ink signatures when uploaded or can e-signatures from Docusign/Adobe Sign be acceptable?

A: Signature pages will need to be uploaded or if you have a ROS signature that can be used. No other e-signatures will be accepted.

Q: You can draft the return before accounts are uploaded, I assume and just not upload signature pages until accs available?

A: Yes, this is possible, you can stop and start the various stages at any time

Q: Can B1s be filed in counterparts with the new system?

A: Yes, multiple signature pages can be uploaded, individually signed by each signatory

Q: Can we only obtain a B1 signature page by uploading the accounts?

A: Uploading the accounts is part of filing the B1 form, this must be done before a signature page is generated (worth noting that this can be done at any stage up to 56 days after the ARD)

Q: So, the annual return can be signed before accounts are uploaded?

A: The accounts certification that needs to be signed if an EFA signs the B1 can be created at any time, independent of the CRO, so any version can be uploaded to the new system, irrelevant of when it was created

Q: Where EFA signs the B1 will the account cert have to be generated on the new system and arranged to be signed or can the old certificates be uploaded?

A: The accounts certification that needs to be signed if an EFA signs the B1 can be created at any time, independent of the CRO, so any version can be uploaded to the new system, irrelevant of when it was created

Transition period

Key Message: In order to transition from the old to the new system CRO will need to suspend filings for one week in September. Key dates and implications for different filing types will follow next week

Q: When will cut off be and when will date of go live be made available?

A: Dates will be published soon

Q: Did you just say CRO will be closed for a week?

A: Yes

Q: Will incorporations be possible during the week of closure?

A: It will not be possible to file any electronic documents with the CRO while we are closed

Q: So, if we have a signature page generated from old site out with the client for signature will this not be accepted by CRO once new system goes live?

A: No, signature pages from the old system will have to be delivered to the CRO before the cut off date to ensure that they are received to the old system and then migrated to the new system

Q: Does that mean we will have to refile all existing signature pages if they are not filed in the cut off period, even if they have till 31 October

A: Yes, so the choice is to have existing signature pages delivered by the cut off date, or wait to file under the new system.

Q: Will SAP filing still be processed during closure

A: No, they can be delivered to the CRO, but will not be processed until we are live with the new system

Q: Sorry just on the cut off from the old to new system. Any B1s filed before the new system is in place that have not been returned will have to be refiled? Is that correct?

A: Yes, so the choice is to have existing signature pages delivered by the cut off date, or wait to file under the new system.

Q: When is cut off for old system?

A: Dates will be announced next week

Q: Where B1 signature document is in transit will this be accepted if accounts filed and detailed return filed with you before shut down?

A: If it is received in the office by the cut off date then it will be accepted. Anything received after the cut-off point will need to be filed again on the new system.

Q: Will I lose any of my records on CORE when the changeover happens? Does it make sense to allow a longer cut-off date due to this being the biggest filing period

A: Your records on CORE will still be available to view

Q: How long will the cut off last for to get the old forms in? particularly for company formations

A: We will announce dates next week.

Q: Will CORE become obsolete?

A: It will be upgraded and replaced

Q: How much notice will be given before changeover period commences, on week, two weeks ?

A: We hope to give 2 to 3 weeks’ notice

Q: If you have submitted a B1 already but don’t get the accounts uploaded by the new changeover date do you do a new B1 on the new system

A: Yes

Q: How quick can we generate new forms from when the old system is closed? And do we have 2-3 weeks to get the old forms filed?

A: Once the new system is live, it will be possible to file all forms. You will have 2-3 weeks from now to file forms

Q: What about B1s that were sent back on the old system, can they still be resubmitted under the new system or how will that work?

A: They will have to be re-submitted and signature pages delivered before the cut-off point

Q: Is go live expected before 31/10?

A: Yes, go-live will be September, dates to be announced next week

Q: I assume that the new system will ensure that any return that needs to be refiled if all elements are not completed before cut-off date will not have late fees applied until after 31st October of all elements are received by then.

A: Correct, with the extension of time to file until 31 Oct, it gives leeway, as no B1s need to be filed during this time

Q: If a company has already e-filed a B1 but the accounts may not be ready until after the new system goes live, will that B1 need to be refiled and will there be any late filing fees if the ARD was more than 56 days ago

A: With the extension of time to file until 31 Oct, it gives leeway, as no B1s need to be filed during this time. However, accounts should have been prepared already

Q: Do I understand correctly 1. Will the system shut down be announced next week? Is the system down expected to be a week?

A: Yes, CRO systems will be down for approximately a week during the transition period. Details to be announced next week.

Q: If a signature page generated from the old system is not submitted before the new system goes live and subsequently needs to be re e-filed as a result will this then be deemed late even though submission was originally filed on time to generate 1st signature page?

A: With the extension of time to file until 31 Oct, it gives leeway, as no B1s need to be filed during this time

Q: Can paper Forms C1 be submitted while the system is shut down?

A: No, we will announce arrangements for deadline-based forms such as mortgages forms next week

Q: When is old system cut off?

A: Dates to be announced next week

Q: Will the old portal stay available for a few weeks after the migration?

A: No, the old portal will be unavailable

Q: On the covid extension that does not impact for the December 2019 and September 2020 filings – so we are getting less time for this volume of work – will there be a further Covid extension?

A: There are no plans at present of any plans to extend the deadline further.

Q: Do you think that closing the system during the busiest season is not really ideal for the users?

A: The extension of time to file until 31 Oct, it gives leeway, as no B1s need to be filed during this time and we will be announcing next week dates and implications for other filings.

Q: I have efiled on 30/06, so have signature pages and uploads due by 31/10 (with extension), I presume old system cut off won’t happen before 31/10?

A: If it is received in the office by the cut-off date then it will be accepted. Anything received after the cut-off point will need to be filed on the new system.

Q: Will any particular arrangements be put in place for Forms C1/F8 (or other similar time-senstive forms) where date of submission for registration is relevant for priority of the charge holder?

A: We will be announcing next week dates and implications for these filings

Q: for SAP filings with strict deadline will those filings be accepted in the week that the CRO is closed?

A: We will be announcing next week dates and implications for these filings

Q: I am concerned about Sept / Oct go live, this is the busiest time of year for practitioners, esp this year with Covid backlog and extension of deadline to 31 Oct

A: That is a valid concern, however, with the extension of time to file until 31 Oct, it gives leeway, as no B1s need to be filed during this time

Other

These questions cover more general topics including impact on software packages, fees and form types

Q: Will the new system interact with co-sec software?

A: Yes, we have been working with co-sec software suppliers since last year and they have been testing since January, you should contact your supplier if you have questions or concerns.

Q: Is there an open API available?

A: The existing web services will be available when we go live

Q: Have you been Liaising with 3rd party software providers?

A: As above

Q: How will our CRO agent ID be affected?

A: It will not be affected

Q: Will current systems be linked as they have been previously? for example Blueprint?

A: As above

Q: Will the CRO accept uploaded documents via third party software in a similar manner to the CORE portal?

A: Yes

Q: Is the new system being integrated with the Register of Beneficial Owners (RBO)?

A: No, this is a different Statutory Body and separate in law to the CRO

Q: You mentioned the processing times will be quicker? After submitting a signature page from a software provider, how soon can users expect to see a registered status for each of the forms?

A: It is hard to say at the moment; however, it is expected that error free forms would register within a couple of days, this will be monitored once we are live

Q: Do you have to set up a new account? or use existing account?

A: Existing accounts will be migrated to the new system

Q: Can you do a search by officer / director or just by company

A: No, just by company, this is a policy decision

Q: Will branch filings be available also?

A: It is possible to file change of address and mortgages online for Branches, other forms will remain manual

Q: Will the LP register, and filings finally be online with the new system?

A: No online forms, but possible to search the LPs online

Q: Where payment is differed to a 3rd party, will the submission be registered as submitted only when payment is received?

A: Yes, irrelevant of how the form is being paid for, it will not be deemed filed until the payment is complete.

Q: Will document search facility on CRO normal website be removed and all document searches completed through core going forward?

A: Yes, all searches will be done on CORE

Q: Will the fees be increasing due to update of the system?

A: No, fees will remain the same. For new online forms fees will be the same as the manual forms.

Q: Re the new e-forms, will paper versions of these forms be accepted after the change to the new system

A: Yes, both paper and online forms will be accepted for all new e-forms

Q: What will the new setup for the filing of Forms C1 look like?

A: The overall process for filing of C1 forms has not changed

Q: Will paper filings still be accepted post new system launch? Thanks

A: Yes, paper filings will still be accepted.

Q: Will it be the same accounts as the existing ones or do we need to create a new one?

A: Existing accounts will be migrated to the new system

We can take care of your annual filing obligations, including filing Form 11s for the company directors, either as a standalone package or as part of a tailored outsourced service. Get in touch to find out more.
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