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How a Public Company Changes its Fiscal Year

Are you thinking of changing your fiscal year-end?  It can be expensive.  When a public company wants to change its fiscal year it is an event that needs to have an 8-k filed.  On the Form 8-K a change in fiscal year is under Item 5.03, which states the following:

Item 5.03 Amendments to Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws; Change in Fiscal Year.

(a) If a registrant with a class of equity securities registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act (15 U.S.C. 78l) amends its articles of incorporation or bylaws and a proposal for the amendment was not disclosed in a proxy statement or information statement filed by the registrant, disclose the following information:

(1) the effective date of the amendment; and

(2) a description of the provision adopted or changed by amendment and, if applicable, the previous provision.

(b) If the registrant determines to change the fiscal year from that used in its most recent filing with the Commission other than by means of:

(1) a submission to a vote of security holders through the solicitation of proxies or otherwise; or

(2) an amendment to its articles of incorporation or bylaws,

disclose the date of such determination, the date of the new fiscal year end and the form (for example, Form 10-K or Form 10-Q) on which the report covering the transition period will be filed.

Instructions to Item 5.03.

  1. Refer to Item 601(b)(3) of Regulation S-K (17 CFR 229.601(b)(3)[i] regarding the filing of exhibits to this Item 5.03.

  2. With respect to asset-backed securities, as defined in 17 CFR 229.1101, disclosure is required under this Item 5.03 regarding any amendment to the governing documents of the issuing entity, regardless of whether the class of asset-backed securities is reporting under Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

 

It is nice to know that companies need to file an 8-K, but if you look at 8-Ks on 10-K wizard or a similar site and start looking at 8-Ks filed regarding a change in fiscal year, they are all over the map.  For example, this one adequately discloses the impact of the fiscal year change, while this one does not.

So then we’ll look up 17 CFR 240.15d-10-Transition Reports,[ii] which states in pertinent part:

“(a) Every issuer that changes its fiscal closing date shall file a report covering the resulting transition period between the closing date of its most recent fiscal year and the opening date of its new fiscal year; Provided, however, that an issuer shall file an annual report for any fiscal year that ended before the date on which the issuer determined to change its fiscal year end.”

Subtext: you can’t just change your fiscal year to get out of an expensive audit.  Just to clear up any confusion, (b) states that “The financial statements for the transition period filed therewith shall be audited.”

Consequently, you will never save on auditing expenses when you change your fiscal year-end.  However, you can sort of avoid filing a formal 10-Q in some instances because you will have to file the transition report for the period with the annual report.  Subparagraph (J) states that if the transition period is up to 90 days (i.e., an entire quarter) then you can file the transition report with the 10-K.

Finally, for changes in fiscal year related to reverse mergers, see topic 12 of the Division of Corporate Finance “Financial Reporting Manual.”

Endnotes:

[i] “(3)(i) Articles of incorporation. The articles of incorporation of the registrant or instruments corresponding thereto as currently in effect and any amendments thereto. Whenever the registrant files an amendment to its articles of incorporation, it must file a complete copy of the articles as amended. However, if such amendment is being reported on Form 8-K (§249.308 of this chapter), the registrant is required to file only the text of the amendment as a Form 8-K exhibit. In such case, a complete copy of the articles of incorporation as amended must be filed as an exhibit to the next Securities Act registration statement or periodic report filed by the registrant to which this exhibit requirement applies. Where it is impracticable for the registrant to file a charter amendment authorizing new securities with the appropriate state authority prior to the effective date of the registration statement registering such securities, the registrant may file as an exhibit to the registration statement the form of amendment to be filed with the state authority. In such a case, if material changes are made after the copy is filed, the registrant must also file the changed copy.

“(ii) Bylaws. The bylaws of the registrant or instruments corresponding thereto as currently in effect and any amendments thereto. Whenever the registrant files an amendment to the bylaws, it must file a complete copy of the amended bylaws. However, if such amendment is being reported on Form 8-K (§249.308 of this chapter), the registrant is required to file only the text of the amendment as a Form 8-K exhibit. In such case, a complete copy of the bylaws as amended must be filed as an exhibit to the next Securities Act registration statement or periodic report filed by the registrant to which this exhibit requirement applies.”

[ii] §240.15d-10 Transition reports.

(a) Every issuer that changes its fiscal closing date shall file a report covering the resulting transition period between the closing date of its most recent fiscal year and the opening date of its new fiscal year; Provided, however, that an issuer shall file an annual report for any fiscal year that ended before the date on which the issuer determined to change its fiscal year end. In no event shall the transition report cover a period of 12 or more months.

(b) The report pursuant to this section shall be filed for the transition period not more than the number of days specified in paragraph (j) of this section after either the close of the transition period or the date of the determination to change the fiscal closing date, whichever is later. The report shall be filed on the form appropriate for annual reports of the issuer, shall cover the period from the close of the last fiscal year end and shall indicate clearly the period covered. The financial statements for the transition period filed therewith shall be audited. Financial statements, which may be unaudited, shall be filed for the comparable period of the prior year, or a footnote, which may be unaudited, shall state for the comparable period of the prior year, revenues, gross profits, income taxes, income or loss from continuing operations before extraordinary items and cumulative effect of a change in accounting principles and net income or loss. The effects of any discontinued operations and/or extraordinary items as classified under the provisions of generally accepted accounting principles also shall be shown, if applicable. Per share data based upon such income or loss and net income or loss shall be presented in conformity with applicable accounting standards. Where called for by the time span to be covered, the comparable period financial statements or footnote shall be included in subsequent filings.

(c) If the transition period covers a period of less than six months, in lieu of the report required by paragraph (b) of this section, a report may be filed for the transition period on Form 10-Q (§249.308 of this chapter) not more than the number of days specified in paragraph (j) of this section after either the close of the transition period or the date of the determination to change the fiscal closing date, whichever is later. The report on Form 10-Q shall cover the period from the close of the last fiscal year end and shall indicate clearly the period covered. The financial statements filed therewith need not be audited but, if they are not audited, the issuer shall file with the first annual report for the newly adopted fiscal year separate audited statements of income and cash flows covering the transition period. The notes to financial statements for the transition period included in such first annual report may be integrated with the notes to financial statements for the full fiscal period. A separate audited balance sheet as of the end of the transition period shall be filed in the annual report only if the audited balance sheet as of the end of the fiscal year before the transition period is not filed. Schedules need not be filed in transition reports on Form 10-Q.

(d) Notwithstanding the foregoing in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, if the transition period covers a period of one month or less, the issuerneed not file a separate transition report if either:

(1) The first report required to be filed by the issuer for the newly adopted fiscal year after the date of the determination to change the fiscal year end is an annual report, and that report covers the transition period as well as the fiscal year; or

(2)

(i) The issuer files with the first annual report for the newly adopted fiscal year separate audited statements of income and cash flows covering the transition period; and

(ii) The first report required to be filed by the issuer for the newly adopted fiscal year after the date of the determination to change the fiscal year end is a quarterly report on Form 10-Q; and

(iii) Information on the transition period is included in the issuer‘s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the first quarterly period (except the fourth quarter) of the newly adopted fiscal year that ends after the date of the determination to change the fiscal year. The information covering the transition period required by Part II and Item 2 of Part I may be combined with the information regarding the quarter. However, the financial statements required by Part I, which may be unaudited, shall be furnished separately for the transition period.

(e) Every issuer required to file quarterly reports on Form 10-Q pursuant to §240.15d-13 that changes its fiscal year end shall:

(1) File a quarterly report on Form 10-Q within the time period specified in General Instruction A.1. to that form for any quarterly period (except the fourth quarter) of the old fiscal year that ends before the date on which the issuer determined to change its fiscal year end, except that the issuer need not file such quarterly report if the date on which the quarterly period ends also is the date on which the transition period ends;

(2) File a quarterly report on Form 10-Q within the time specified in General Instruction A.1 to that form for each quarterly period of the old fiscal year within the transition period. In lieu of a quarterly report for any quarter of the old fiscal year within the transition period, the issuer may file a quarterly report on Form 10-Q for any period of three months within the transition period that coincides with a quarter of the newly adopted fiscal year if the quarterly report is filed within the number of days specified in paragraph (j) of this section after the end of such three month period, provided the issuer thereafter continues filing quarterly reports on the basis of the quarters of the newly adopted fiscal year;

(3) Commence filing quarterly reports for the quarters of the new fiscal year no later than the quarterly report for the first quarter of the new fiscal year that ends after the date on which the issuer determined to change the fiscal year end; and

(4) Unless such information is or will be included in the transition report, or the first annual report on Form 10-K for the newly adopted fiscal year, include in the initial quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the newly adopted fiscal year information on any period beginning on the first day after the period covered by the issuer‘s final quarterly report on Form 10-Q or annual report on Form 10-K for the old fiscal year. The information covering such period required by Part II and Item 2 of Part I may be combined with the information regarding the quarter. However, the financial statements required by Part I, which may be unaudited, shall be furnished separately for such period.

Note to paragraphs (c) and (e):

If it is not practicable or cannot be cost-justified to furnish in a transition report on Form 10-Q or a quarterly report for the newly adopted fiscal year financial statements for corresponding periods of the prior year where required, financial statements may be furnished for the quarters of the preceding fiscal year that most nearly are comparable if the issuer furnishes an adequate discussion of seasonal and other factors that could affect the comparability of information or trends reflected, an assessment of the comparability of the data, and a representation as to the reason recasting has not been undertaken.

(f) Every successor issuer that has a different fiscal year from that of its predecessor(s) shall file a transition report pursuant to this section, containing the required information about each predecessor, for the transition period, if any, between the close of the fiscal year covered by the last annual report of each predecessor and the date of succession. The report shall be filed for the transition period on the form appropriate for annual reports of the issuer not more than the number of days specified in paragraph (j) of this section after the date of the succession, with financial statements in conformity with the requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. If the transition period covers a period of less than six months, in lieu of a transition report on the form appropriate for the issuer‘s annual reports, the report may be filed for the transition period on Form 10-Q not more than the number of days specified in paragraph (j) of this section after the date of the succession, with financial statements in conformity with the requirements set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the transition period covers a period of one month or less, the successor issuer need not file a separate transition report if the information is reported by the successorissuer in conformity with the requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section.

(g)

(1) Paragraphs (a) through (f) of this section shall not apply to foreign private issuers.

(2) Every foreign private issuer that changes its fiscal closing date shall file a report covering the resulting transition period between the closing date of its most recent year and the opening date of its new fiscal year. In no event shall a transition report cover a period longer than 12 months.

(3) The report for the transition period shall be filed on Form 20-F responding to all items to which such issuer is required to respond when Form 20-F is used as an annual report. The financial statements for the transition period filed therewith shall be audited. The report shall be filed within the following period:

(i) Within six months after either the close of the transition period or the date on which the issuer made the determination to change the fiscal closing date, whichever is later, for new fiscal years ending before December 15, 2011; and

(ii) Within four months after either the close of the transition period or the date on which the issuer made the determination to change the fiscal closing date, whichever is later, for new fiscal years ending on or after December 15, 2011.

(4) If the transition period covers a period of six or fewer months, in lieu of the report required by paragraph (g)(3) of this section, a report for the transition period may be filed on Form 20-F responding to Items 5, 8.A.7., 13, 14, and 17 or 18 within three months after either the close of the transition period or the date on which the issuer made the determination to change the fiscal closing date, whichever is later. The financial statements required by either Item 17 or Item 18 shall be furnished for the transition period. Such financial statements may be unaudited and condensed as permitted in Article 10 of Regulation S-X (§210.10-01 of this chapter), but if the financial statements are unaudited and condensed, the issuer shall file with the first annual report for the newly adopted fiscal year separate audited statements of income and cash flows covering the transition period.

(5) Notwithstanding the foregoing in paragraphs (g)(2), (g)(3), and (g)(4) of this section, if the transition period covers a period of one month or less, aforeign private issuer need not file a separate transition report if the first annual report for the newly adopted fiscal year covers the transition period as well as the fiscal year.

(h) The provisions of this rule shall not apply to investment companies required to file reports pursuant to Rule 30b1-1 (§270.30b1-1 of this chapter) under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1 et seq.).

(i) No filing fee shall be required for a transition report filed pursuant to this section.

(j)

(1) For transition reports to be filed on the form appropriate for annual reports of the issuer, the number of days shall be:

(i) 60 days (75 days for fiscal years ending before December 15, 2006) for large accelerated filers (as defined in §240.12b-2);

(ii) 75 days for accelerated filers (as defined in §240.12b-2); and

(iii) 90 days for all other issuers; and

(2) For transition reports to be filed on Form 10-Q (§249.308 of this chapter), the number of days shall be:

(i) 40 days for large accelerated filers and accelerated filers (as defined in §240.12b-2); and

(ii) 45 days for all other issuers.

(k)

(1) Paragraphs (a) through (g) of this section shall not apply to asset-backed issuers.

(2) Every asset-backed issuer that changes its fiscal closing date shall file a report covering the resulting transition period between the closing date of its most recent fiscal year and the opening date of its new fiscal year. In no event shall a transition report cover a period longer than 12 months.

(3) The report for the transition period shall be filed on Form 10-K (§249.310 of this chapter) responding to all items to which such asset-backed issuer is required to respond pursuant to General Instruction J. of Form 10-K. Such report shall be filed within 90 days after the later of either the close of the transition period or the date on which the issuer made the determination to change the fiscal closing date.

(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing in paragraphs (k)(2) and (k)(3) of this section, if the transition period covers a period of one month or less, an asset-backed issuer need not file a separate transition report if the first annual report for the newly adopted fiscal year covers the transition period as well as the fiscal year.

(5) Any obligation of the asset-backed issuer to file distribution reports pursuant to §240.15d-17 will continue to apply regardless of a change in the asset-backed issuer‘s fiscal closing date.

Note 1:

In addition to the report or reports required to be filed pursuant to this section, every issuer, except a foreign private issuer or an investment company required to file reports pursuant to §270.30b1-1 of this chapter, that changes its fiscal closing date is required to file a Form 8-K (§249.308 of this chapter) report that includes the information required by Item 5.03 of Form 8-K within the period specified in General Instruction B.1. to that form.

Note 2:

The report or reports to be filed pursuant to this section must include the certification required by §240.15d-14.

[54 FR 10318, Mar. 13, 1989, as amended at 56 FR 30075, July 1, 1991; 64 FR 53912, Oct. 5, 1999; 67 FR 57289, Sept. 9, 2002; 67 FR 58505, Sept. 16, 2002; 69 FR 15618, Mar. 25, 2004; 69 FR 68236, Nov. 23, 2004; 70 FR 1622, Jan. 7, 2005; 70 FR 76642, Dec. 27, 2005; 73 FR 978, Jan. 4, 2008; 73 FR 58324, Oct. 6, 2008]

 

 

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