corporate reports, Covid-19, ASIC

Time extension for lodgement of corporate reports in impaired COVID-19 business environment

17 April 2020

  • ASIC has recently announced a one month extension for the lodgement of corporate reports
  • Extension is available to unlisted entities.

What was announced? corporate reports

On 9 April 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced that it will extend, by one month, the deadline for the lodgement of corporate reports by those unlisted entities having balance dates ending 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020 (provided the due date for lodgement has not already passed).

This extension is intended to ease the burdens of corporate reporting amid current remote work arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.

Who is eligible?

The extension is available to all unlisted entities under Chapter 2M of the Corporations Act 2001 (Act) including unlisted Australia Financial Services Licensees under Chapter 7 of the Act. It covers proprietary companies and other unlisted/non-disclosing entities and registered schemes. The applicable corporate reports include financial reports, directors’ reports, audit reports, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets.

Significantly, no similar time extension has been granted by ASIC to listed entities. Many listed companies with 31 December balance dates have already satisfied their reporting obligations and there has been no extension (as yet) for those who have 31 March balance dates. Listed entities can apply to ASIC for individual relief from their reporting obligations if they think they are unable to meet their normal deadlines and are encouraged by ASIC to do so as soon as possible.

ASIC has also advised that, where possible, any applications by listed entities should be made at least 14 days before the normal reporting deadline and should include sufficient information for ASIC to assess the impact of market conditions and COVID-19 developments.

Based on a recent Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) guidance note issued on 31 March 2020, listed entities will also need to seek ASX’s discretionary approval for relief which entails:

  • ASIC, or an equivalent corporate regulator for overseas companies, agreeing to grant an extension to the relevant reporting deadline under the Act or overseas equivalent legislation; and
  • the listed entity’s auditor confirming in writing to ASX that they will not be able to complete their audit or review of the company’s financial statements by the deadline.

On 26 March 2020, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) announced that it would be granting extensions – to 31 August 2020 – to all charities whose 2019 Annual Information Statement (AIS) is due between 12 March and 30 August 2020. Eligible charities will have their AIS due date updated on the ACNC Charity Register.

What should you do?

To the extent possible, entities should aim to finalise their corporate reports according to their usual schedule. The extensions do, however, provide valuable extra time for entities to meet their reporting obligations.

Rigby Cooke Lawyers have assisted many of our clients by implementing appropriate policies to meet their corporate governance obligations.

Please contact our Corporate & Commercial team if you would like advice about your financial reporting obligations under the Act.

Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional advice. No responsibility can be accepted by Rigby Cooke Lawyers or the authors for loss occasioned to any person doing anything as a result of any material in this publication.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

©2020 Rigby Cooke Lawyers