Please note: The information below is correct as of 25/03/2020. As the situation continues to develop, we expect guidance to be updated. We are doing all we can to ensure our information is up to date but would always advise speaking with a solicitor for specific advice.

Companies House has today announced a 3-month extension for businesses to file their accounts and avoid penalties, acknowledging the ongoing disruption and uncertainty for businesses caused by the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Every year, all 4.3 million businesses on the Companies House register must submit their accounts to Companies House within 9 months of their financial year end. Normally, any accounts issued late will be subject to an automatic penalty. There has always been an ability to apply for a extension, but that is only usually granted in exceptional circumstances and evidence has to be produced to back up the application. As of today, businesses can apply for the 3-month extension on filing their accounts which will automatically be granted without the need for evidence. You can find more details on applying for an extension here.

While this news will relieve some of the burden on businesses, allowing them to focus more on the COVID-19 relief effort, I feel it doesn’t go far enough. At present it still appears that all other normal filing deadlines other than those for filing accounts still have to be adhered to. This is fine if the documents can be signed and scanned back by clients and filed electronically, but as Companies House still don’t offer electronic filing on all documents, it is disappointing in terms of documents that have to be filed in paper form and therefore by post.

With most of the country working from home and access to original signed documents being received from clients being more difficult, we hope to see more measures being put in place in the coming days to address this.

Our corporate team are working hard to assist businesses during these challenging times. For advice on any legal concerns you have please get in touch on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email and a member of the team will be in touch.