On 11 November 2020, ASIC announced a further extension of the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports by one month for balance dates up to and including 7 January 2021, where the reporting deadline has not already passed. For listed entities, this means that they will have an additional month to report for audited full year and reviewed half-year financial reports for 21 February 2020 to 7 January 2021 balance dates.
ASX has also now announced that it will issue a further class waiver under Listing Rule 18.1 to give effect to the ASIC relief which will require listed entities to satisfy the following two conditions in order to rely on the extension:
- the entity must provide to the market unaudited/unreviewed accounts and other information required by Appendix 4D or 4E (as applicable) by the usual lodgement deadline (so the market has reasonable current financial information on which to base trading decisions); and
- at the same time as lodging these unaudited or unreviewed accounts, the entity must announce to the market that it is relying on the ASIC relief to extend the lodgement date and that it will make a further announcement to the market if there is a material difference between its unaudited or unreviewed accounts and its audited or reviewed accounts.
The extended deadlines for lodgement of financial reports will assist those entities whose reporting processes take additional time due to current remote work arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19. However, entities are encouraged , where possible, to continue to lodge within the normal statutory deadlines, having regard to the information needs of shareholders, creditors and other users of their financial reports, or to meet borrowing covenants or other obligations.
ASIC has also extended its ‘no action’ position for public companies which do not hold their AGMs within five months after the end of financial years that end from 31 December 20 to 7 January 2021, giving those entities up to seven months after their year-end. This allows additional time for distribution of financial reports to members prior to the AGM for those companies that have relied on ASIC’s extension of time for lodgement of financial reports.