By instrument dated 15 May 2020, ASIC has extended by one month the deadline for both listed and unlisted entities to lodge financial reports under Chapters 2M and 7 of the Corporations Act for balance dates up to and including 7 July 2020.
The extension recognises that reporting processes for some entities may need additional time as a result of remote working arrangements, travel restrictions and other impacts of COVID-19.
The extension applies to full year and half year financial reports, directors’ reports and auditor reports or review reports (as applicable). However, the extended deadline will only apply where the normal reporting deadline had not passed at the date of registration of the ASIC instrument of relief. The relief does not apply to registered foreign companies.
Consequential relief includes a corresponding extension in the date for sending reports to shareholders.
ASX subsequently agreed to provide complementary relief under the ASX Listing Rules for listed entities. On 16 June 2020, ASX published an amended class waiver decision which granted all listed entities that had the benefit of the ASIC relief the same extension, subject to certain conditions.
The class waiver conditions are that:
- required by Appendix 4D or 4E (as applicable) by the usual lodgement deadline so that the market has reasonably current financial information on which to base its trading decisions.
- The listed entity must announce to the market at the same time that it lodges its unaudited/unreviewed accounts with ASX that it is relying on the ASIC relief and that it will immediately make a further announcement to the market if there is a material difference between its unaudited/unreviewed accounts and its audited/reviewed accounts.
The ASX relief only applies to listed entities registered in Australia.