Filing accounts – a three-month extension

Businesses are being given an additional three months to file their accounts as they work to deal with the impact of COVID-19.

The joint initiative between the government and Companies House will mean businesses can prioritise managing the impact of the crisis and it will also help them avoid penalties.

There are approximately 4.3 million businesses on the Companies House register and they must submit their accounts and reports each year.

Under normal circumstances, companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty.

However, as part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the three-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension.

Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which the government says will take just 15 minutes to complete.

Full guidance on applying for an extension can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-more-time-to-file-your-companys-accounts

Companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period may be ineligible for an extension.

The government says the policy will be kept under review and “amended as necessary” in light of the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies House chief executive Louise Smyth said: “We recognise that these are uncertain times for businesses and that’s why we’re doing all we can to help.

“By easing the burden, we can help businesses through this period and enable them to thrive in the future. I would encourage companies who believe they would benefit from this new flexibility to make an application in good time.”

The government is also in close consultation with company representative bodies, legal practitioners and others, to look at solutions for the impact COVID-19 may have on companies’ ability to hold Annual General Meetings. And it says that updated guidance on this matter will be published in due course.

To discuss this filing extension and any issues that you are facing as a result of coronavirus and how you can access support please contact WNJ on 01772 430000.