Companies House is granting a three-month extension for companies for filing company accounts, due to the current public health situation and the impact of coronavirus on staff who may be unwell or self-isolating, reports Pat Sweet
The law gives a three-month extension, but normally it is Companies House policy to not allow extensions unless there are extreme circumstances.
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 Companies House says will take just 15 minutes to complete.
However, its website makes clear that companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may not be eligible for an extension.
Companies that do not apply for an extension and file their accounts late will face an automatic penalty. The registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty.
A Companies House spokesperson said: ‘We are doing all we can to help our customers in these difficult circumstances.
‘We understand that some customers will find it difficult to file with us at the moment, and we are working with them to help them as quickly as we can.’
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.
Updated guidance on this matter will be published in due course.