The Registrar Generals Department (RGD) has extended the deadline for filing annual returns, due to impacts from the outbreak of COVID-19 on businesses across the country.
The RGD in a statement said: “In the wake of the increasing number of coronavirus pandemic cases in the country, the Registrar-Generals Department (RGD) wishes to inform the business community and general public that it is extending the deadline for filing annual returns for companies limited by shares, limited by guarantee, external companies and renewal of partnerships from April 30, 2020 to July 31, 2020 for all companies whose financial year ended by December 31, 2019”.
The statement added: “All other companies whose financial year ended any time before June 30, 2020 are expected to file by December 31, 2020. The extension has become necessary due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country, which have resulted in the inability of most companies to hold their annual general meetings as scheduled.
“Companies are therefore expected to take advantage of the extended period to file their annual returns, as they will be required to pay an increased flat penalty rate of GH¢450 for non-compliance effective Monday, August 3, 2020.”
Per the laws, the filing of annual returns is mandatory as stated in Section 126 (1 & 2) of the Companies Act, 2019, (Act 992): “That a company shall at least once in every year deliver to the Registrar for registration an annual return including particulars of every year deliver to the Registrar for registration an Annual Return including particulars of every Member of the company and every beneficial owner of that company in the form and relating to matters prescribed in the Fifth Schedule.
“Under section 6(1) of the Incorporated Private Partnerships Act, 1962, once every year the partners shall deliver to the Registrar of Partnerships a statement in the prescribed Form renewing the Partnership.
“Furthermore, per section 5A (2) of Act 151, Sole Proprietorships are required to renew their business names once in every year or shall be deemed to have lapsed, whereupon the Registrar may take the business name off the register.”
The RGD cautioned businesses saying, “To be in good standing in our database and prevent being taken off the register, business names will have to pay for the number of years they have not renewed up to date, but are not expected to pay any penalty. All businesses which wish to be in good standing in our Register for Business purposes should make every effort to comply timeously with these directives”.
To prevent fraud, the department has announced that all payments should be made at the its on-site bank, Fidelity Bank Limited or any other branch of Fidelity, and not to any individual or any mobile money number. Online filing of annual renewals/returns can also be done via the RGD portal, but annual returns can only be done when the portal user is associated with the company.