ASIC has extended the relief under which it is offering entities an additional month to lodge their financial reports. Having previously allowed a one-month extension for 30 June year-ends, ASIC has now provided the same relief for all balance dates up to and including 7 January 2021.
This relief is available to all entities which lodge financial statements under the Corporations Act. It means that for entities with a 31 December year-end...
- The deadline for listed companies is extended until 30 April 2021 (but see below in respect of Appendix 4E)
- The deadline for unlisted disclosing entities and registered schemes is extended until 30 April 2021
- The deadline for Proprietary Companies and other non-disclosing entities is extended to 31 May 2021.
- 30 June year-end now have until 16 April 2021 to lodge their half-year reports for the period ended 31 December 2020.
- Lodgement deadlines for Australian Financial Services Licenses, and for Compliance Plans, are also extended by one month.
Similar to 30 June, the ASX has not extended the deadline for the lodgement of Appendix 4E under ASX Listing rules 4.3A and 4.3B. This means that non-exploration entities will still have to lodge unaudited financial statements by 28 February 2021. Where listed entities intend to rely on this extension, they must disclose this to the market before 31 March and state the reasons why they have used the extension.
ASIC has also confirmed that it will continue to adopt a “no action” position for entities which are not able to hold their AGM within five months of their year-end, as long as they do so within seven months, and that it continues to support the use of technology to hold digital AGMs where appropriate. ASIC’s “no action” position also covers instances where entities do not meet the requirement under the Corporations Act 2001 to hold an AGM in each calendar year as a result of this extension.
Commenting on the ASIC media release, Ralph Martin, National Technical Director of RSM Australia, said:
“The extension of this relief is a welcome and sensible response by ASIC to the challenges caused by COVID-19. While Australia has been less impacted than many other jurisdictions, the recent lockdown in Victoria, and the new outbreak in South Australia, show that disruption caused by COVID-19 remains an ongoing reality, and the extension of financial reporting deadlines will provide some relief to businesses which may be facing significant operational challenges.
In the longer term, RSM would support an extension of the financial reporting deadline for private companies to be made permanent. The current 4-month deadline for proprietary companies within the Corporations Act 2001 is unusually short by international standards, and our view is that a longer timeframe would enhance the quality of financial reporting in this segment.
We would also welcome legislative change or regulatory guidance to encourage the ongoing use of virtual AGMs while ensuring that they continue to be held in a manner which allows shareholders to participate meaningfully.”
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