Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Regulatory Response



Regulatory bodies are recognising the strain COVID-19 is causing, including on the ability to meet ongoing obligations. Widespread responses from many regulators – such as the ATO, ASIC and the FMA – are addressing the pain points and providing much-needed support and relief to members and their clients. CPA Australia has collated the latest updates from regulators.

Continue to explore our vast resources, advice and guidance on COVID-19 for other key topics.


Australia


Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB)


Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB)
  • COVID-19 FAQs for auditors – the AUASB’s joint publication with the AASB provides high-level guidance for financial report preparers and auditors


Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)

Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA)
  • Temporary legislative changes
    1. Debt threshold for creditors to apply for a bankruptcy notice against a debtor has increased from $5000 to $20,000.
    2. The time frame for a debtor to respond to a bankruptcy notice before a creditor can commence bankruptcy proceedings has increased from 21 days to up to six months.
    3. Temporary protection period available for debtors to prevent recovery action by unsecured creditors has increased from 21 days to six months.

For more information about the legislative changes, see the Australian government fact sheet: Economic response to the COVID-19: Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses.

  • Personal insolvency options for debtors – While noting that seeking hardship relief from creditors should always be considered before formal insolvency options, AFSA’s website discusses the various options for dealing with personal insolvency and provides information about the consequences of the various options under the Bankruptcy Act 1966.
  • Information for creditors – The reduced values of personal assets and incomes resulting from COVID-19 means that creditors in many personal insolvency administrations are less likely to receive dividends and may wait longer for them when they do arise. Creditors should contact the respective trustee or administrator in the first instance. If they remain dissatisfied, creditors should raise their concerns with AFSA by using AFSA’s online feedback form.
  • Untrustworthy advisors – With increased levels of debt for Australians, there is an added risk that they may turn to untrustworthy advisors who prey around the edges of the insolvency system, often exploiting vulnerable people in financial crisis. You can confidentially raise your concerns about untrustworthy advisors, wrongdoing, criminal misconduct or fraud.
  • Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) – If your clients are lending money, offering trade credit, leasing goods or taking security over personal property, it’s crucial they’re correctly registering their security interests on the PPSR. Businesses have only 20 days to register their security agreement (even less for some transactions) when dealing with another business. Encourage your clients to register as soon as possible to maximise their protection. For information on PPSR, including how to make a registration and the rules around timing visit the PPSR website.

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

APRA's news and publications on COVID-19 – latest posts:


Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

Australian Tax Office (ATO)

Business.gov.au

Information hub for business, with information for sole traders, employers and companies.


Department of Home Affairs

Tax Practitioners Board (TPB)
  • The TPB and the ATO have called upon the profession to ensure the government measures are applied in accordance with their intent. CPA Australia supports this message and reinforces the importance of tax professionals exercising due care in their advice to clients, considering the legislated integrity measures and the potential consequences.
  • Support to practitioners affected by COVID-19, including temporarily removing the 25 per cent reading cap for CPE until Wednesday 30 September and waiving the requirement to complete annual declarations due before 31 December 2020.

Treasury

State and territory regulators

International


Global Public Policy Committee (GPPC)

International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)

International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB)
  • The IPSASB has released COVID-19: Relevant IPSASB accounting guidance to provide information on the guidance that is currently available, as well as the financial reporting issues associated with government responses to COVID-19.

International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
  • IOSCO statement on application of accounting standards during the COVID-19 outbreak

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

Hong Kong


Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)

SFC and the Hong Kong Exchange (HKEX)

Further guidance on the joint statement in relation to results announcements – 16 March 2020. Further guidance is being released for listed issuers with 31 December financial year end. There will be up to 60 days’ relief on the publication of annual reports if their preliminary results have been published.

Japan


Financial Services Agency (FSA)

Japan Exchange Group (JPX)

Mainland China


China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)

Issuers with difficulty in meeting their 2019 annual report and 2020 Q1 reporting deadlines can apply to stock exchanges for extensions. CSRC audit firms that experience difficulties in completing the audit on time may also apply for extensions. 

New Zealand


Charities

Department of Internal Affairs

Financial Markets Authority (FMA)
  • FMA to extend deadline for financial reporting – 3 April 2020. The FMA is providing regulatory relief to market participants – all Financial Markets Conduct Act reporting entities with balance dates up to and including 31 July have a further two months to provide audited financial statements, if their ability to produce financial statements is legitimately impacted by COVID19.
  • FMA update on COVID-19 – 19 March 2020. The FMA is closely monitoring the impact of the coronavirus situation on New Zealand’s financial markets and considering all available options to ensure markets continue to function well and to support participants, customers and investors.
  • COVID-19 FMA guidance on managing impacts on FMC reporting entity annual reporting and audits.
  • COVID-19 guidance – 19 March 2020. The FMA is managing impacts on FMC reporting entity annual reporting and audits.

Inland Revenue

Guidance on tax relief and income assistance is available for people affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19 novel coronavirus.


New Zealand government

Singapore


Singapore Stock Exchange

Affected companies can apply for an extension of two months to convene their annual general meetings for approval of their audited FY December 2019 financial results.

United Kingdom


UK Financial Reporting Council (FRC)