• United Kingdom
  • 03/26/2020
  • Morgan Lewis

On 25 March, the UK government announced that UK-registered businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension to the time period for filing their accounts. In order to benefit from the three-month extension, UK companies will need to make an application to Companies House. Those companies that cite issues around COVID-19 as the reason for the application “will be automatically and immediately granted an extension”. The application can be made online and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Companies that file accounts late without having applied for an extension will be issued with an automatic penalty in the normal manner. Not all companies will qualify for an extension; for example, companies that have already extended their filing deadline, or shortened their accounting reference period, may be ineligible.

The UK government may review and further amend this policy depending on how the pandemic progresses. The government also announced that it is in 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. Additional government guidance on this topic is expected to be published shortly.