On 16th April 2020, further alterations were made by Companies House in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Companies House had previously announced that companies due to file their annual accounts could apply for a three month extension and now it has revised its policies for company strike offs and penalties for late filing of documents. It is important to note that Companies House have stressed that these changes in policy are temporary and will be reviewed during the course of the pandemic.
Companies House have confirmed that for the time being, they shall ‘ease strike off activity’. In practise, this means that upon the company registering an application for strike off, Companies House will follow their usual procedure and publish a notice of the proposed strike off in the Gazette, namely a publically available list of companies due to be struck off. However, what differs in the current circumstances is that no further action shall be taken by Companies House to strike off and dissolve the company. This is to protect those who may wish to object to the company being struck off (i.e. creditors).
Separately, Companies House has the power to strike off a company should it fail to file its annual accounts and/or confirmation statement on time. Typically at this stage, Companies House would publish a strike off notice in the Gazette. However, due to the pandemic, Companies House will not publish the notice but will continue to send reminders to the company that its filings are overdue.
Companies House have confirmed that they shall ‘provide a break’ for companies to pay late filing penalties and shall ‘provide additional support including payment plans’ for those companies struggling to pay their penalties too. No further guidance has been given as to what this shall mean in practise, although it is likely that whilst each case will be individually assessed Companies House will take a sympathetic stance, therefore mirroring their approach to applications requesting an extension for the filing of annual accounts.
For more information about the temporary modifications to policies at Companies House or if you require any assistance as a result of changes to your business as a result of COVID-19, please contact a member of our Corporate team on 02392 981 000 or email us email@example.com
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