March 25, 2020 / 12:07 AM / 8 days ago

UK offers millions of companies extension on filing accounts due to coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) - More than four million British businesses will be able to apply for a three-month extension for filing their accounts so they can prioritise managing the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the government announced on Wednesday.

Companies House, which registers limited companies and provides company information to the public, requires businesses to submit their accounts and reports each year and any that do so late are usually issued with an automatic penalty.

The government has announced a huge package of support for businesses hard-hit by the spread of coronavirus, including paying a massive share of private sector wage bills to discourage bosses from firing staff and a new loan programme for small firms.

“We have outlined a business support package on an unprecedented scale, backing companies and their employees through these challenging times,” business minister Alok Sharma said in a statement.

“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 will have to apply for the extension, but those citing coronavirus will automatically and immediately be granted an extension, the government said, and applications should take around 15 minutes through an online system.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Stephen Addison

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