On 23 April 2021, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced a one-month extension of financial report lodgement deadlines. Specifically, the extension applies to listed and unlisted entities required to lodge financial reports under Chapter 2M and Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act 2001 where their balance dates fall from 23 June to 7 July 2021 (inclusive).
In the announcement, ASIC acknowledges that audit firms are facing ongoing challenges as a result of COVID-19, particularly staff shortages due to travel restrictions and increased staff turnover. The one-month extension will hopefully alleviate some of the pressure being felt by audit firms in the current environment.
The latest reporting relief announced by ASIC builds on earlier relief made available for certain reporting periods ending up to 7 January 2021. Entities with balance dates from 8 January 2021 to 22 June 2021 do not have a one-month reporting extension available to them. However, such entities can individually apply to ASIC for relief where this is deemed necessary.
ASIC continues to remind directors that they should consider the information needs of relevant stakeholders when deciding whether to take advantage of the reporting relief. Where possible, entities should attempt to report within their usual statutory deadlines.
ASX-listed entities should take note that the ASX reporting deadlines for preliminary final reports remain unchanged, however these reports can be unaudited. Listed entities are required to inform the market when they rely on the ASIC lodgement extension and are encouraged to disclose the reasons for doing so.
ASIC has also adopted a ‘no action’ position where public companies do not hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs) within five months after the end of financial years that end up to 7 July 2021, but do so up to seven months after year end. This no action position allows for additional time to distribute financial reports to members prior to the AGM for those companies that have relied on the above financial reporting deadline extension.
For more information, please click here for ASIC’s full media announcement.