Financial reports

Although all companies should keep financial records to ensure they understand how their operations are faring, there are some types of companies that will need to keep these records for the purposes of preparing and lodging financial reports with us.

Financial reports prepared in accordance with the Corporations Act generally must comply with accounting standards (see s 296). Australian Accounting Standards meet the requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as Australia adopted IFRS in 2005, with application for financial periods beginning on or after 1 January 2005.

What companies have to lodge financial reports?

Generally, companies are required to lodge reports where:

Section 292 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Corporations Act) requires the following entities to prepare financial reports:

Section 601CK of Corporations Act requires registered foreign companies to lodge balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow statements and other documents with ASIC. You should seek professional advice if you are unsure of your company's financial reporting obligations.

AFS licensees must also lodge financial statements under section 989B of Corporations Act.

Are there any exemptions from having to lodge financial reports?

In limited circumstances, some companies are exempt from the requirement to lodge financial reports.

For instance:

  • if the company is foreign-controlled but the foreign company that is in control is registered with ASIC as a foreign company and lodges consolidated financial reports that include the activities of the Australian company
  • if the small proprietary company is controlled by foreign companies which are not part of a large group, then you are not required to appoint auditors or prepare or lodge financial reports if the directors resolve to apply relief provided by [CO 98/0098]

    and lodge notice of that resolution within the time requirements under that class order. The directors must resolve to apply the relief and lodge Form 384 within the deadlines set out in [CO 98/0098].

Don’t assume that your company would qualify for any exemption. Generally, it is the minority of cases that qualify for some form of relief.

In most cases, relief is not granted for financial reports that were due in the past.

Applying for relief from financial reporting obligations

I know I have to lodge reports—how do I go about it?

What documents must I lodge?

A Form 388 Copy of financial statements and reports should always be completed and lodged with the documents listed in the table below unless the company or entity lodges its financial statements and reports with the ASX or the entity is a registered foreign company (Form 405). If your company holds an Australian Financial Services Licence you must also lodge a profit and loss statement and balance sheet together with an auditor's report with a Form FS70 Australian financial services licensee profit and loss statement and balance sheet and Form FS71 Australian financial services licensee audit report . See AFS Licensees: Lodging your annual accounts and audit report using Form FS70 and FS71.

A disclosing entity's half year financial report is lodged with ASIC using a Form 7051 unless the disclosing entity lodges with the ASX.

The table below lists the components of the annual financial report:

DocumentSection of the Corporations Act

Statement of financial position as at the end of the year (if consolidated accounts are not required by Accounting Standards)

295(2) & 296(1)

Statement of comprehensive income for the year (if consolidated accounts are not required by Accounting Standards)

295(2) & 296(1)

Statement of cash flows for the year (if consolidated accounts are not required by Accounting Standards)

295(2) & 296(1)

Statement of changes in equity if consolidated accounts are not required by Accounting Standards)

295(2) & 296(1)

Consolidated financial statements, if required by accounting standards– which may include parent entity financial information where [CO10/654] conditions are met.

295(2) & 296(1)

Notes to financial statements (disclosure required by the regulations, notes required by the accounting standards, and any other information necessary to give a true and fair view)


Directors' declaration that the financial statements comply with accounting standards, give a true and fair view, there are reasonable grounds to believe the company/scheme/entity will be able to pay its debts, the financial statements have been made in accordance with the Corporations Act


Directors' report, including the auditor's independence declaration


Auditor's report

301 & 308

When must I lodge?

Section 319 of the Corporations Act requires a disclosing entity or registered scheme to lodge the complete financial reports in accordance with the Corporations Act within three months after the end of the financial year. All other companies must lodge their financial reports within four months after the end of the financial year.

If the company has not made a profit or traded during the financial year, financial reports are still required even if it is necessary to show figures as ‘zero’ (e.g. Total assets = $0.00).

How can I lodge financial reports?

As noted above you lodge your company's financial reports with a copy of Form 388 Copy of financial statements and reports unless you lodge your financial reports with the ASX.

You can lodge online through the company officeholder, registered agent and auditor portals once you have registered for access.

You can lodge through the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) Program if your financial, accounting, or payroll software is SBR-enabled.

Otherwise you can lodge the reports on paper using Form 388 Copy of financial statements and reports in the link above.

Need more help?

Other information sheets that you may find useful include:

Important notice

Please note that this is a summary giving you the basic information you need.

Professional assistance - If you need further assistance you should consult an accountant or other relevant professional for advice on keeping and preparing financial statements for your company.

This is Information Sheet 31 (INFO 31), reissued in February 2014. Information sheets provide concise guidance on a specific process or compliance issue or an overview of detailed guidance.

Last updated: 23/03/2016 03:08