Businesses are to be given an extra three months to file their accounts with Companies House to let them prioritise responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced.
Under the measures, which come into force today, any company that applies for an extension to file their results citing Covid-19 will automatically and immediately be granted an additional three-months.
Typically, companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty, but the government and Companies House agreed to relax the rules to ease pressure on businesses as they struggle with the economic impact of the virus.
“We are determined to help businesses in any way we can, so that they can focus all their efforts on dealing with the impact of Coronavirus, and this new offer of a three month extension for filing accounts is a part of that,” said business secretary Alok Sharma.
“By easing the burden, we can help businesses through this period and enable them to thrive in the future,” said Companies House chief executive Louise Smyth.
“I would encourage companies who believe they would benefit from this new flexibility to make an application in good time,” he added.
The move comes after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) urged listed firms to delay the publication of their preliminary results for at least two weeks.
Announcing the measures, the FCA said firms need more time to accurately assess the impact of the pandemic on their business.
Roger Barker, head of governance at the Institute of Directors, said firms would welcome the Companies House extension.
“Our members will be pleased to see government taking proactive steps to support them through this difficult time,” he said.
“By easing the administrative burden that comes with running a business, the government is supporting businesses to focus on the fundamentals during this exceptional period”.