As recently disclosed by Companies House, for filing deadlines that fall after 5 April 2021, the automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA 2020) will come to an end. These automatic extensions applied to accounts, confirmation statements, event-driven filings and mortgage charges.
However, for accounts filing deadlines that do fall after this date, eligible companies will still be entitled to apply for an extension of three months.
What is the background of CIGA 2020?
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 June 2020, with nearly all its provisions taking effect from the following day.
The Act comprises eight measures divided between permanent changes to the UK insolvency regime, and temporary alterations to insolvency law and corporate governance, to help struggling businesses survive the coronavirus crisis. Most of the Act’s temporary measures for protecting businesses had retrospective effect from 1 March 2020.
On 24 September 2020, the Government confirmed that it would extend the duration of some of the temporary measures included in the Act. The intention was to keep on giving companies breathing space at a time when the UK remained subject to various restrictions to help minimise the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing requirements and regional lockdowns.
Several temporary changes made to corporate governance
Among the Act’s provisions were a number of temporary corporate governance measures, designed to minimise the burden on companies and other entities so that they could prioritise their efforts on continuing to trade amid coronavirus disruption.
One of those changes was companies and other bodies temporarily being given greater flexibility to hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs) and other meetings in a safe and practicable manner – for example, conducting meetings virtually – in light of the pandemic. This measure took retrospective effect from 26 March 2020 to 30 March 2021, and meant that directors were not exposed to liability for failing to hold an AGM in compliance with a company’s constitution.
Another temporary change made by the Act was the extension of Companies House filings deadlines. A temporary extension was provided for the period allowed for a public company’s directors to comply with their obligation under the Companies Act 2006, section 441, to deliver accounts and reports for a financial year to the Companies House Registrar.
That measure applied retrospectively from 26 March 2020, and expired on whichever was the earlier of 30 September 2020, and the last day of the 12-month period immediately following the end of the relevant accounting reference period.
Furthermore, CIGA 2020 handed the Secretary of State powers to make regulations to extend the deadline for certain other Companies House filings. This power, however, expired on 5 April 2021.
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23 April 2021