The Companies Act 2014, the largest piece of legislation lreland has ever seen, has come into effect.

It will affect all companies that are already registered with the Companies Registration Office.

The Small Firms Association has welcomed the commencement of the Companies Act 2014.

SFA Director Patricia Callan has said that the new Act represents a simplification and modernisation of company law in Ireland.

She said it has the potential to reduce red tape and make it easier to operate a business in Ireland.

Ms Callan has urged small businesses to decide whether their business should convert to one of the new company types introduced by the Act.

She said: "Companies have 18 months from today as a transition period to comply. It is important to be proactive and think about what is right for the future of your business before the deadline expires."

Some key provisions

  • New Company Law offences with fines up to €500,000 and or a maximum of 10 years in prison.
  • Directors will have to include a compliance statement with financial statements.
  • Requires that loans to directors be properly documented.
  • Company secretary will be required to have the requisite skills or resources needed for the role.
  • How a company is wound up.
  • Changes to how charges are registered.
  • Requirement to register individuals authorised to bind a company.
  • Mergers and divisions introduced to allow companies to merge without court approval.
  • Clearly defines a financial year end.

The Company's Registration Office requires all companies currently registered as the “Private Limited by Shares” company type must choose to convert to another company type.

The two new company types are Private Company limited by shares (LTD), or Designated Activity Company (DAC).

Guarantee companies and unlimited companies will be required to change their names under the new Act.

The new Act brings together 33 company law enactments into one Act and has over 1400 sections.