Even in the current situation, all actions must be taken in line with existing laws, rules, regulations and internal compliance programmes. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the challenges resulting from it do not negate the requirement to carry on business in the right way and without taking short cuts for the sake of speed and efficiency.
However, the government and regulatory bodies are likely to take a pragmatic approach and may make concessions in these unprecedented circumstances. For example:
The ICO has issued a statement to data controllers confirming that it recognises the unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. And it understands that resources, whether they are finances or people, might be diverted away from usual compliance or information governance work. The ICO will not penalise organisations that need to prioritise other areas or adapt their usual approach during this extraordinary period. It will not extend statutory timescales, for example in responding to an SAR, but it will tell people to expect understandable delays when making information rights requests during the pandemic.
Companies House Filings
If the absence of key personnel means that a business will miss Companies House filings deadlines, businesses can consider an appeal against any fines levied as a result of a pandemic or crisis.
Tax returns and payments
The position may be similar with regards to deadlines for submitting tax returns or paying tax and you should seek early advice from a tax or accounting specialist. HMRC may be willing to grant an extension and/or the business might be able to avoid late payment penalties where there is a reasonable excuse for failing to submit the return or pay tax on time.
If you are concerned about meeting your compliance responsibilities as a business, please contact Carys Thompson on firstname.lastname@example.org or call Carys on 0114 252 1485.