Dáil Éireann - Volume 454 - 15 June, 1995

Written Answers. - Statutory Audit Requirement.

9. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment whether he intends abolishing the requirement regarding statutory auditing of small companies for companies with an annual turnover of £100,000 or less in the Companies Act; whether he intends increasing the limit of £100,000 to £500,000 in the case of trading companies while leaving the limit at £100,000 for service companies and all other companies; whether he has consulted with the Department of Finance in order to ensure that the proposed changes will not be made ineffective by new or additional practice requirements from the Revenue Commissioners; and when he intends introducing the enabling legislation to give effect to the proposed changes. [7255/95]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): I have decided broadly to accept the company law review group's recommendations following a recommendation of the Task Force on Small Business on the exemption of private limited companies with an annual turnover of under £100,000, from the statutory audit requirement subject to certain restrictions and conditions also recommended by the group. Among the conditions listed by the group are the requirement on directors to make a signed statement acknowledging their statutory responsibilities in relation to accounts and certifying eligibility to avail of the exemption; the right of shareholders holding a minimum of 10 per cent of the voting rights to [1236] require an audit; and the exclusion of companies in regulated industries such as banking or insurance, and members of a group of companies from the proposed exemption. I may also have some additional conditions that I would wish to apply to an exemption scheme.

I do not propose at present to differentiate between trading, service, or other companies and no such proposal was included in the recommendations of the company law review group or the Task Force on Small Business.

There has been no indication that new or additional practice requirements from the Revenue Commissioners would be introduced by the Minister for Finance arising from the removal of the statutory audit. Both the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners were represented on the company law review group.

I intend to put proposals to Cabinet in the near future with a view to introducing the enabling legislation for removal of the statutory audit as soon as possible.