From today, 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3 month extension for filing accounts during the Coronavirus outbreak.

This joint effort between the government and Companies house will allow businesses to prioritise managing the impact of Coronavirus.

Approximately, there are 4.3 million businesses on the Companies house register, with all companies submitting their accounts and reports each year. Usually, under normal circumstances, companies who submit their accounts late would be issued with an automatic penalty.

These agreed measured mean that although companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extention, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically granted the extension. Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which will take just 15 minutes to complete.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

“We have outlined a business support package on an unprecedented scale, backing companies and their employees through these challenging times.

But it is important that our support is not limited to financial assistance. We are determined to help businesses in any way we can, so that they can focus all their efforts on dealing with the impact of Coronavirus, and this new offer of a 3 month extension for filing accounts is part of that.”

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.”

Head of Corporate Governance, Institute of Directors, Roger Barker said:

“These measures will be welcomed by directors impacted by COVID-19. Our members will be pleased to see government taking proactive steps to support them through this difficult time. By easing the administrative burden that comes with running a business, the government is supporting businesses to focus on the fundamentals during this exceptional period.”

The government is also consulting with company representative bodies, legal practitioners etc. to look into solutions for the impact COVID-19 could have on a companies’ ability to hold Annual General Meetings.