The impact of COVID-19 on incorporated societies

A message from the Companies Office

We appreciate that these are challenging times for everyone, and that circumstances related to COVID-19 may be affecting your ability to meet your legal and procedural obligations as an incorporated society over the coming months. If you are able to file your financial statement on time, we encourage you to do so. But, don’t worry, if you are unable to file on time, we won’t be taking any enforcement action or removing your incorporated society from the register.

If you need to cancel or postpone your AGM

Among those events affected could be the holding of your Annual General Meeting (AGM), making it difficult for you to present and approve your financial statements and meet the filing requirements under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908. The annual financial statements need to be filed with us following the AGM.

If your society is due to hold its AGM, check the society’s rules. This sets out procedures for holding your meeting, including the timing of the meeting, requirements to give notice to members, the number of people that need to attend (the ‘quorum’), and how voting can occur (whether in person and/or electronically). If you don’t have a copy of your rules to hand you can obtain a copy by searching for your incorporated society on the Incorporated Societies Register and clicking on the ‘Filings’ tab.

Your society’s rules may be flexible enough to allow you to postpone your AGM, or hold it remotely, through online platforms such as Skype or Zoom. You may be also able to present the society’s financial statements electronically for approval.

If you need more time to file your financial statements

We know that COVID-19 will present challenges for incorporated societies for some time. If, for example, you can’t hold an AGM, if your accountant or treasurer is sick, or you simply do not have the usual resources to complete your financial statements in time, don’t worry, we won’t be removing your incorporated society from the register.

What you can do now, if you have time

Review your rules document and see what procedures and policies you may have in place to deal with this kind of situation. You may want to start to think about how you can amend your rules to bring them up to date to protect your society from similar challenges in the future.

You can download a copy of your society's rules, free of charge, by searching the Incorporated Societies Register.

Published on , last updated on .