Companies House offers three-month extension to businesses hit by coronavirus
All 4.3 million registered businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Companies House.
The deal between the Government and the official register means anyone affected can remove the risk of facing an automatic fine for late filings.
Companies House said: “As part of the agreed measures, while companies will still have to apply for the three-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around Covid-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension,”.
Applications open from Wednesday, the organisation added.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “We have outlined a business support package on an unprecedented scale, backing companies and their employees through these challenging times.
“But it is important that our support is not limited to financial assistance. 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.”
Companies House chief executive, Louise Smyth, said: “We recognise that these are uncertain times for businesses and that’s why we’re doing all we can to help.
“By easing the burden, we can help businesses through this period and enable them to thrive in the future. I would encourage companies who believe they would benefit from this new flexibility to make an application in good time.”
Head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, Roger Barker, 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”.
The Government is also looking at changes to rules on annual shareholder meetings.
The regulations say there must be a certain number of shareholders present, but the rules could be relaxed.
Listing authorities for companies on stock exchanges have also told companies they do not need to report results and forward guidance due to the uncertainty.