Companies Office mandates online document filing

The Office no longer accepts core documents in hard-copy form

Just over ten years after the Companies Office provided online filing of company documents through its website, online filing has been made mandatory for most documents.

From July 1, the Office no longer, except in very unusual circumstances, accepts core documents in hard-copy form.

The documents affected are: approval of company name; annual return; change of company name or address; adoption or amendment of constitution; new incorporation; directors and shareholder consents for new incorporation; issue, purchase or acquisition of shares; shareholder consents; particulars of directors; and directors’ consents for a registered company.

Some more far-reaching changes, such as the revoking of a constitution, still require a paper form.

The Office gives sustainability and other environmental considerations as its chief reasons for discontinuing paper filing.

“The ultimate aim is to eliminate paper from offices and reduce the miles travelled for compliance,” says an explanatory bulletin provided in the form of a podcast on the Office's website www.companies.govt.nz.

Online filing is claimed to save time for companies, increase efficiency and reduce cost.

The Companies Office also says it has “always been in the forefront in provision of services online” and wants to keep up its innovative image.

A spokeswoman at the Office says the idea of mandatory online filing was first mooted in October last year and companies were warned in December that it would happen. So they have had plenty of chance to prepare. Very few would have a reason to insist on filing hard-copy documents, she says. Those who believe they are genuinely unable to file online can discuss other options with the Office’s contact centre. Online filing was first offered in late 1997, the spokeswoman says.

Gilbert Peterson, spokesman for the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association says this is “an occasion where companies should bite the bullet and go for it. It does have a lot of advantages for [the company and the Office] in saving rekeying. It’s a very small step.”

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