COVID-19: company accounts filing deadlines extended


12th November 2020

The deadlines for filing company accounts has been extended. On 27 June 2020 the Companies etc. (Filing Requirements) (Temporary Modifications) Regulations 2020 (the Regulations) came into effect. The Regulations introduced a number of measures to relieve the burden placed on businesses by the Coronavirus pandemic and to allow companies to focus their efforts on continuing to operate. This includes an extension to accounts filing deadlines, which we discuss here.

The general automatic extensions that apply

If your company’s accounts filing deadline falls between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021, then you may be eligible for an extension, the length of which depends upon the type of company:

  • For private companies and limited liability partnerships, the filing deadline has been extended from 9 months to 12 months;
  • *For public limited companies (PLCs) and Societas Europaeas companies (SEs), the filing deadline has been extended from 6 months to 9 months; and
  • For overseas companies who are required to prepare and disclose accounts under parent law, the filing deadline has been extended from 3 months to 6 months.

*The above extensions will not apply to PLCs and SEs whose original accounts filing deadline fell before the 30 June 2020 if it has already received an extension under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (the Act) (although, in such circumstances, an extension may be applied for in the usual way). For PLCs and SEs whose original deadlines fell on or after 30 June 2020, the Regulations will apply and supersede any extensions granted by the Act. No extension will be granted, though, where a PLC or SE has already had 12 months to file its accounts following its original accounting reference date.

What if my company's accounting reference period has changed?

If you have extended your company’s accounting reference period, you will still be eligible for an extension under the Regulations provided that your filing deadline falls on or before 5 April 2021.

If your company is a private company and you have shortened your accounting reference period, your accounts filing deadline will be extended to the later of:

  1. 12 months after your new accounting reference date; or
  2. 3 months after the date of the notice to shorten your accounting reference period.

If your company is a public company and you have shortened your accounting reference period, your accounts filing deadline will be extended to the later of:

  1. 9 months after your new accounting reference date; or
  2. 3 months after the date of the notice to shorten your accounting reference period.

What if my company is filing its first accounts?

If you are filing your company’s first accounts and those accounts cover a period of 12 months or less, then provided you have not already received an extension, your filing deadline will be extended from 9 months to 12 months for private companies, or from 6 months to 9 months for public companies.

For a private company filing its first accounts and which cover a period of more than 12 months, your filing deadline will be extended to the later of:

  1. 24 months from the date of incorporation; or
  2. 3 months from the accounting reference date.

For a public company filing its first accounts and which cover a period of more than 12 months, your filing deadline will be extended to the later of:

  1. 21 months from the date of incorporation; or
  2. 3 months from the accounting reference date.

What if my company's filing deadline falls on, or after, 6 April 2021?

The measures introduced by the Regulations are only temporary, meaning Companies House will not automatically extend any filing deadlines that fall on or after 6 April 2021.

If your filing deadline falls on or after this date, and you need more time to file your accounts, you must apply for an extension in the usual way.

You can check your new filing deadline on Companies House service.

If you need legal advice on anything in this article, please contact a member of our Corporate team.

This article has been co-written by Katie Newham and Sarah Carter.

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