The Securities and Exchange Commission amended its rules to allow certain larger companies an additional year to comply with internal control requirements mandated by section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (www.sec.gov/rules/final/33-8507.htm). Such entities, known as “accelerated filers,” must begin to include in the annual report for their first fiscal year ending on or after November 15, 2004, both a management report and an auditor report on the effectiveness of their internal control over financial reporting.
Under the amended rules, for an additional year the deadline for accelerated filers will remain at 75 days after yearend for annual reports and 40 days after the quarter ends for quarterly reports. But, beginning with reports filed for fiscal years ending on or after December 15, 2005, accelerated filers will have to file their annual reports within 60 days after yearend and their quarterly reports within 35 days after the quarter ends. These deadlines will remain in place for all subsequent periods.
SEC rules define an “accelerated filer” as a company that has at least $75 million of its stock owned by retail investors, has been subject to the SEC’s periodic reporting requirements for at least 12 months, has filed one annual report and is not eligible to use the SEC’s small business reporting forms.