The COVID-19 pandemic may impact on a company's ability to file its accounts in time, with a resulting concern about late filing penalties.

Private companies, subject to some exceptions, have to produce and file their annual accounts within 9 months of their accounting reference date. The current COVID-19 situation may cause difficulties for companies which have financial year ends from June to December and who are therefore due to file accounts shortly and in the coming months. If a company is going to struggle to prepare or finalise its accounts, because of COVID-19's impact, it may fail to meet its filing deadline. Ordinarily, late filing of accounts at Companies House will involve financial penalties and possible fines for the company.

Companies House has introduced a scheme under which an extension can be applied for with regard to filing report and accounts. If, immediately before the filing deadline, it becomes apparent that a company's accounts will not be filed on time due to it being affected by coronavirus, the company may make an application to extend the period allowed for filing.

If a company doesn't apply for an extension and accounts have been filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. The registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty.

Each appeal is treated on a case-by-case basis, and Companies House already has policies in place to deal with appeals based upon unforeseen poor health. Appeals based upon COVID-19 will be considered under these policies.

To discuss the impact COVID-19 may have on filing your accounts, please get in touch with your usual Brodies contact.


Emma Greville Williams

Practice Development Lawyer

Derek Stroud