By Angelos Anastasiou
MORE than half of companies registered in Cyprus have yet to pay the €350 annual company fee for the last three years, prompting the Registrar of Companies to issue an ultimatum, the office said yesterday.
According to Registrar Spyros Kokkinos, by mid-June less than half of approximately 268,000 companies registered in Cyprus had paid the obligatory €350 annual stipend for years 2012 and 2013, which has been budgeted for in the government’s calculations.
As a result, early in June the Registrar issued an announcement to all companies, warning them that failure to pay their dues would result in their removal from the registry – the cost of reinstating a deleted company is €500.
“The Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver announces that all companies registered with the department must, by 30 June 2014, pay the annual fee due for years 2012 and 2013, and submit all due annual reports with the corresponding financial results,” the announcement read.
“Failure to comply with the above will result in the deletion of the companies in accordance with article 327 of Companies’ Law.”
Data from the Registrar’s office showed that the 2012 fee was paid by 117,159 companies – or 43.72 per cent – while the 2013 stipend has been duly paid by only 112,142 companies – or 41.84 per cent.
Current legislation calls for companies to settle their dues within five months, otherwise they may be stricken off the registry.
However, deleting a company from the registry is no simple task due to an obsolete system that translates into three-month long lead times, and shortage of staff currently engaged on projects aimed at modernising its operations, according to Kokkinos. Nonetheless, the department is determined to “start removing non-compliant companies.”
“Companies have until the end of this month to settle their dues and pay the €350 stipend,” he said.
The €350 annual fee became obligatory for all Cyprus-registered companies in 2012 as a measure against fiscal hardships, but the government is now considering exempting dormant companies that have property in the Turkish-occupied areas.
The fee for 2014 is also applicable to companies registered since July 1, 2013.