Apple today confirmed it has delayed filing its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) due to its ongoing investigation into stock option grants.

In a filing with the SEC, the company confirmed it must restate previous financial statements in order to account correctly for charges related to past grants.

The company had been required to file its form 10K for its 2006 fiscal year (ended 30 September) by 14 December. It will not be able to do so, as it reviews its findings and recent SEC guidelines.

"The Company and its independent auditors are reviewing the findings of the independent investigation and recent accounting guidance published by the SEC. As a result of these reviews, management has concluded, and the audit committee agrees, that Apple will need to restate its historical financial statements to record non-cash charges for compensation expense relating to past stock option grants," the filing explains.

The situation relates to previous revelations that some Apple stock options grants to management may have been mishandled, the company admitted to accounting irregularities. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was aware of some of these transactions, which took place between 1997 and 2002.

Some stocks were awarded retrospectively, (backdating), meaning they can be issued to benefit from changes in market value. Such transactions should be accounted for transparently, but in some cases at Apple they were not.

Apple "currently anticipates that the Form 10K will be filed on or before the 15th calendar day following the prescribed due date according to Rule 12b-25, together with its Form 10Q for the quarter ended July 1, 2006."