Around 4.3 million businesses in the UK can apply to Companies House for a three-month extension to file their accounts.

The joint initiative between the Government and Companies House aims to give firms time to focus on negating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Companies must submit their accounts and reports each year, with automatic penalties in place for non-compliance.

Firms that apply and cite coronavirus-related disruption will automatically be granted the three-month extension.

Applications can be made online and should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Alok Sharma, business secretary, said:

"We are determined to help businesses in any way we can, so that they can focus all their efforts on dealing with the impact of coronavirus, and this new offer of a three-month extension for filing accounts is part of that.

Louise Smyth, chief executive at Companies House, said:

"I would encourage companies who believe they would benefit from this new flexibility to make an application in good time."

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