The Law on Annual Financial Statements and Consolidated Financial Statements requires all companies in Latvia to file an annual report approved by the shareholders’ meeting with the Latvian State Revenue Service (SRS), no later than one month after approval and no later than four months after the end of the reporting year. This means that if a company’s reporting year is the same as the calendar year, the deadline is 30 April. An exception is made for:
- medium and large companies that comply with the criteria set by the Law on Annual Financial Statements and Consolidated Financial Statements; and
- parent companies of a group that prepare a consolidated annual group report.
These must file an annual report and consolidated annual report (if prepared) with the SRS within seven months of the end of a company’s reporting year.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, also this year the general deadline for preparing and filing annual reports for 2021 can be prolonged to 31 July 2022 (i.e. three months later than under the ordinary procedure and this principle of prolonging the deadline for three months also applies to the companies relying on above mentioned seven months period). There is no need to arrange this prolongation with the SRS.
Requirements in addition to the annual report
In addition to the annual report and auditor’s statement on the annual report (for companies that meet the criteria listed in the Law on Annual Financial Statements and Consolidated Financial Statements, as well as companies whose articles of association or shareholders’ meeting require the annual report to be reviewed by an auditor), the Commercial Law requires a board proposal to be prepared before approval of the annual report on distribution of profit (or in the case of losses: a proposal on improving the company’s financial status) and, if the company has a council, a report from the council on the annual report. Moreover, under the Law on Groups of Companies, dependent companies must prepare a statement of dependence to be filed with the Commercial Register, unless a group agreement has been concluded.
The annual meeting of shareholders to approve the annual report must be held no later than 31 July. A notice convening the meeting must be sent to shareholders of private limited liability companies at least two weeks before the meeting, while for joint-stock companies the deadline is at least 30 days before the meeting. Along with the notice convening the meeting, the following must be sent to shareholders:
- the annual report,
- a statement of dependence,
- an auditor’s statement,
- a report from the council and
- a board proposal.
Joint-stock companies need not append these documents to the notice convening the meeting as long as the notice contains information about the place and time where the shareholder may access them at the registered address of the company. However, considering that at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic Latvia is encouraging social distancing, it would be advisable to post (mail) the documents to shareholders.
Please note that the Commercial Law allows the board to convene a shareholders’ meeting, enabling the shareholders to participate and vote at the meeting by electronic means of communication.
The annual report must be filed only with the SRS, along with the details of the approval of the annual report by the shareholders’ meeting.
The annual report must be signed not only by the board or an authorised member of the board but also by the company’s in-house or outsourced accountant (criteria are listed in the Law on Annual Financial Statements and Consolidated Financial Statements and the co-signing duty of the accountant applies to the financial statements and consolidated financial statements).
Noncompliance with the requirement to draft a statement of dependence under the Law on Groups of Companies formally exposes the board members to the risk that their liability is evaluated. This is especially important for companies which are entering into agreements with related parties and which have several shareholders.
What to consider when convening a shareholders’ meeting
By sending invitations to shareholders’ meetings, it is important to indicate a procedure whereby the shareholder can use his/her statutory rights, as well as deadlines:
- to vote before the shareholders’ meeting
- to participate and vote at the shareholders’ meeting by electronic means of communication
It is advisable supplementing the invitation with a voting ballot, accompanied by instructions on how to sign and return it to the company. In this case, it is important to clearly state the requirements for identification of the shareholders. The shareholder sends the vote to the company, keeping in mind the shipment time: the company should receive the voting ballot at least one day before the meeting.
To ensure shareholders’ ability to participate and vote at the meeting with the help of electronic means of communication, the board has to stipulate how it intends to identify the shareholders.
If you would like to know more about the annual report or other obligations companies need to meet in Latvia, please visit the homepage of Sorainen, the exclusive partner of WTS Global in Latvia.