Insights 27.3.20 Author: Luke Metson

COVID-19: Three month Companies House filing extension given to help businesses

Insights 27.03.2020 Author: Luke Metson

Businesses will be given an additional three months to file their accounts with Companies House to help them prioritise their efforts and avoid penalties, as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.

From today, businesses will be able to apply for a three month extension for filing their accounts. We anticipate this mainly being those with a 30th June, 31st July, 31st August or 30th September 2019 year-end, however, any business can apply.

When to apply

If your accounts will be late because your business is affected by COVID-19, you can apply for an automatic and immediate three month extension to file your accounts.

Businesses must apply for the extension before their filing deadline. Businesses that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.

How to apply

Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system here.

You’ll need:

  • the registration number;
  • an email address; and
  • the reason for your extension request.

Businesses should simply cite COVID-19 or health matters as the grounds for their application.

What happens next

Companies House will review your application and decide upon your request. They will contact you by email within five working days to tell you if your application has been successful or not. They may also contact you if they need more information.

Other considerations

Whilst Companies House seeks to address businesses concerns, it remains fundamental for businesses to have sight of timely management information, in order to react timely in an ever-changing environment.

Many businesses will have entered commercial or financial agreements which require sight of accounts within an accelerated period in order to meet covenants. Businesses may wish to consult with their financiers to negotiate an extended period, given the current climate.

Regulated businesses will be required to consider the needs of their regulators. For example, the FCA has issued guidance for delayed preliminary announcements however, they have yet to extend annual corporate reporting deadlines. It is anticipated further guidance will be announced by the likes of the FCA in due course however, at the time of writing, there have been no announcements.

Likewise, larger businesses who are subject to group audit, especially those that are transnational, will be required to consider the needs of their parent auditors who generally require accelerated reporting. Consideration will need to be given to overseas regulators as well as those in the UK, where relevant.

What next?

Through our general practice and outsourcing teams, we are well placed to offer timely support in order to mitigate any delays in the filing of accounts. If you require assistance, please contact your engagement partner, Luke Metson or Dan Rose, who would be delighted to assist.