The Charity Commission have announced that any charities affected by Covid-19 (whether this is through lack of staff/trustees or increased activity) can request a filing extension for their annual return and accounts, which are usually due to be filed within 10 months from the charity’s year end. This can be done by calling the Charity Commission on 0300 066 9197 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm). Please make sure that you have your charity number to hand.
Whilst this could be incredibly helpful for small charities, the position is not so clear for charities who are also companies. Companies House have said that companies who find themselves unable to file their accounts immediately before the deadline (9 months from the charity’s year end), due to Covid-19, may make an application to extend the period allowed for filing. This will be assessed against Companies House existing policies in place to deal with appeals based on unforeseen poor health. These policies only usually allow for extension where there is a sole director who has been ill which is not usually the case for charities.
Whilst the Charity Commission announcement appears to be both open and flexible, the position of Companies House is not so clear and we have yet to see how this will apply in practice, but charities are urged to consider any potential delay sooner rather than later to avoid late filing.