Reporting deadlines for unlisted entities – ASIC gives one month COVID-19 extensions for balance dates ending 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020

On 9 April 2020, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced that it will extend the reporting deadlines for unlisted entities that are required to lodge financial statements under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act 2001.

The extension relates only to unlisted entities with balance dates ending 31 December 2019 to 31 March 2020 inclusive, in order to assist entities whose reporting processes may take additional time due to current remote work arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.

In its Media Release (MR 20-084), ASIC notes the following key points regarding the extensions:

  • Where possible, entities should continue to lodge within statutory deadlines
  • The extended deadlines will not apply for 31 December 2019 balance dates if the reporting deadline has already passed, and
  • ASIC will continue to assess the impact on financial reporting and AGM obligations for balance dates after 31 March 2020, particularly for 30 June 2020 year-ends.

The table below summarises the usual, and extended time periods for lodgement of annual reports under Chapter 2M.

Type of entity Chapter 2M deadlines Extended deadlines
Unlisted disclosing entity 3 months 4 months
Unlisted registered schemes 1 3 months 4 months
Other unlisted public companies 4 months 5 months
Proprietary companies 4 months 5 months
Note 1: Deadlines also extended for compliance plan audit reports

The usual and extended time periods for lodgement of half-year reports under Chapter 2M are as follows:

Type of entity Chapter 2M deadlines Extended deadlines
Unlisted disclosing entity 75 days 75 days plus 1 month

And the reporting deadlines for lodging profit and loss statements and balance sheets, and associated information, under Chapter 7 are set out below.

Type of entity Chapter 7 deadlines Extended deadlines
Unlisted AFS licensees – body corporates that are disclosing entities or registered schemes 3 months 4 months
Unlisted AFS licensees – body corporates - NOT disclosing entities or registered schemes 4 months 5 months
AFS licensees – NOT body corporates 2 months 3 months

Is there an extension for ‘grandfathered’ large proprietary companies that don’t lodge financial statements with ASIC?

Yes, there is an extension. Although ‘grandfathered’ large proprietary companies are not required to lodge financial statements with ASIC, they are still required to have an audit report completed by the deadline (i.e. 4 months after reporting date).

The Media Release confirms that such entities will have an additional month to complete the audit, but the directors’ report must disclose that the entity has applied the ASIC relief in order to report to members no later than one month after the normal reporting deadline.

Listed entities

ASIC is also closely monitoring how COVID-19 developments may impact the financial reporting responsibilities of listed entities, and notes that there do not appear to be  widespread implications for the small number of listed entities with 31 March 2020 annual and half-year balance dates. Therefore no across-the-board lodgement extensions will be provided for entities with 31 March 2020 balance dates, however, ASIC notes that it will consider applications to extend reporting deadlines for individual entities in appropriate circumstances. Where possible, application should be made at least 14 days before the normal reporting deadline, and should include sufficient information for ASIC to assess the impact of market conditions and COVID-19 developments.

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