Charities have until end of September to request Covid-19 filing extension

Charities have until the end of September to apply for an extension to file their accounts if they have been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

In March last year, the Charity Commission said it would consider granting an extension to any charity that was struggling to file its annual return because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The regulator said that, as coronavirus restrictions have been eased, it had reviewed its approach to filing extensions and published updated guidance. 

It said it would be contacting all charities that had a filing extension in place by 30 June to tell them they would need to meet their filing commitments by 30 September. 

The commission said it currently had 3,500 filing extensions in place. 

It said that until 30 September, any otherwise compliant charity with an imminent filing date that was unable to meet its filing commitment for a Covid-19-frelated reason could apply for a new filing extension.  

The commission said it would allow a fixed three-month extension to the filing date, from the date of the application. 

It also highlighted that its annual return service for 2021 was available for charities to complete.

It said it had published some other minor updates to the guidance on charity meetings and insolvency provisions to help charitable companies and charitable incorporated organisations.

The regulator said it would continue to review and update that guidance to ensure it helped trustees run their charities as the remaining lockdown restrictions are lifted in England and Wales.

This includes guidance on charity meetings to reflect the current restrictions on gatherings and on insolvency provisions that temporarily suspend the use of statutory demands and restrict winding-up petitions, where a company or charitable incorporated organisation cannot pay its bills due to the pandemic. 

These provisions have also been extended until 30 September this year. 

Paul Latham, director of communications and policy at the commission, said: “We’ve taken a flexible and supportive approach to regulation during the pandemic and have granted filing extensions where requested in most cases to support charities during this challenging time. 

“As we move forward, it’s right that we adapt our guidance to ensure that charities are gradually returning to meeting their normal filing requirements and are demonstrating the level of transparency that the public expects via their accounts.”

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