Covid-19 update: Companies House to allow extension for filing accounts

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Companies House has announced that from today (Wednesday 25 March 2020), businesses can apply for a 3-month extension for filing their accounts with them. The decision follows a range of government measures to assist UK businesses through these turbulent times.

Under UK law, all companies must submit their accounts and reports annually to Companies House, the registrar of companies in the UK. Under normal circumstances, companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty.

As part of the agreed measures, it was announced that, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension, those citing issues around Covid-19 will be granted it immediately. However, it’s important to note that companies that have already extended their filing deadline or shortened their accounting reference period may be ineligible for an extension.

Applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system which, as stated, should take 15 minutes to complete. More information and guidance on how to make the application can be found here.

If a company fails to apply for an extension and the accounts are filed late, a penalty may be imposed, even if the reason for the delay is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Accounts are usually prepared and filed by the company’s accountants. Therefore, companies that foresee difficulties and the need for extension due to impact of the coronavirus crisis, should discuss the situation with their accountants and submit their applications for extension sooner than later.

Companies House reported that this policy will be kept under review and amended as necessary in light of the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We will keep monitoring the situation and report on any further updates.