Companies House has confirmed that it will, with immediate effect, automatically give companies a 3-month extension to file accounts without being penalised if they cite COVID-19 or health matters as reasons for their application.
The decision is an attempt to help companies prioritise managing the impact of COVID-19 without facing penalties. Usually, companies who file their accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty. Companies are encouraged to apply for the extension as soon as practicable if they believe COVID-19 will affect filing of their accounts.
In order to receive the extension, companies can make their applications through a fast-tracked online system, taking just 15 minutes to complete. Full guidance on applying can be found here and the link to apply to extend a company’s filing deadline can be found here.
Companies House will inform a company by email within 5 working days to confirm whether its application has been successful (or should they need further information). If a company then fails to meet the extended deadline, the company will get a late filing penalty. Please note that companies who have already extended their filing deadline or shortened their accounting reference period may not be eligible for an extension.
Companies and legal advisors should also note that Companies House has closed its call centre and so any queries should be directed to [email protected]. Companies are also able to sign up for email alerts as soon as Companies House update their guidance by clicking here. We also expect to see further guidance issued by Companies House in relation to a companies’ ability to hold Annual General Meetings due to COVID-19 and will provide an update on that in due course.