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At this time of global distress, Companies House is at your rescue!

The world today stands at a crisis. The virus outbreak that has already affected 200,000 people around the globe, has also left a crippling impact on businesses. Its spread has left companies around the world, counting each penny that goes towards costs. The extent of the virus’s impression in the UK, specifically, has been devastating. The UK government and Companies House have already been struggling with big shifts in the stock market, low economic morale in the country and the backlash for the recent announcement of a nation-wide lockdown extending for up to 6 months.

With all this and more in mind, the last thing that companies would want to worry about is sticking to account filing deadlines. Recognizing this, the government and Companies House have jointly announced a 3-month extension to file their end-of-year accounts. This announcement, made yesterday March 25th, comes as a blessing to most businesses as this is likely to ease the administrative burden on them, amidst the chaos.

Usually, companies are required to file their annual accounts with the Companies House within 9 months from when the company’s financial year ends. If filed late, a penalty is automatically added to their tab. With this new initiative, companies can extend the filing deadline by an additional 3 months i.e. 12 months in total.

How to benefit from the extension?

It is imperative to note that this extension does not apply automatically. One needs to apply for this through the Companies House website. If a company has been directly impacted by COVID-19, and cites the resulting issues clearly in the online form, an automatic and immediate granting pf the extension may take place. The online application is a fast-tracked system that takes only about 15 minutes to complete.

Companies will need the following to apply for the 3-month extension:

  • their company number;
  • information on why more time is needed (cite COVID-19 or health reasons); and
  • documents to support the application (optional).

Firms that have previously extended their filing deadline, or reduced their accounting period, however, may not be eligible for an extension. A potential way to delay the deadline date for filing accounts could be changing the year-end accounting date. This may also be an appropriate course of action for some companies in light of the current public health situation.

On this move, Companies House Chief Executive, Louise Smyth said:

“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.”

While this move helps allay a part of the issues faced by businesses, there are quite a few more aspects of running a business in these tumultuous times that need to be considered.  An updated guidance including other administrative reliefs can be expected in the weeks to come.

To be up-to-date with the latest developments in compliance and to ensure seamless functioning of your business during these uncertain times, follow our frequently updated blogs here or on our social media pages. Datatracks is doing everything in its capacity to further help you with your filing needs. Write to us at enquiry@datatracks.co.uk