From today (25 March), all businesses will be able to apply for the three-month extension following a joint initiative between the government and Companies House.
The government said the move will allow businesses to prioritise their management of the impact of coronavirus without receiving penalties.
Companies House currently has 4.3 million businesses on its register, and all companies must submit their accounts and reports each year. Automatic penalties would typically be issued for late filing “under normal circumstances”.
Following the agreement, companies will still have to apply for the three-month extension to be granted, but those citing issues regarding Covid-19 will be “automatically and immediately granted an extension”.
All applications can be made through a fast-tracked online system.
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 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.”