Coronavirus: Companies House updates

Published on
4 min read

Companies House has issued a number of service updates around filing, late penalties and documentation. Our company secretarial team have summarised the most important updates.

  1. Account Filing Extensions

If, as a result COVID-19 outbreak, you are concerned about missing the filing deadline for your company accounts, you can apply for a three month filing extension. The application must be made before your filing deadline, otherwise it will be rejected and late filing penalties will be imposed.

  1. Appeal late filing penalties

A penalty will be automatically imposed when company accounts are filed after the deadline. Companies House is accepting COVID-19 as an exceptional circumstance but you will need to appeal the penalty formally and Companies House will consider the appeals on a case by case basis. Companies House has announced that it will approach appeals sympathetically and will also offer payment plans and breaks to assist with the payment of penalties.  We can assist you with your appeals.

  1. Temporary pause in company Dissolution process

On 16 April Companies House announced a temporary change to the voluntary strike off process for Companies.  Companies House will continue to publish a notice in the Gazette when a form DS01 is received but will not take any further action to dissolve the company.  Anyone who wishes to object to the dissolution of a company is advised to make their representations as soon as possible as the changes will be reviewed on a regular basis. This change does not apply to companies being dissolved as part of a liquidation or administration under the Insolvency Act

Under a further change, Companies House will not, for the time being, publish notices in the Gazette where companies are late filing accounts and confirmation statements.  Although the change recognises that many companies may be struggling to comply with their filing requirements given the current lockdown restrictions, we recommend that you continue to submit your filings in advance of the deadline wherever this is possible and to make use of the deadline extension covered above.

  1. E-filing and Authentication codes

A wide range of company forms and documents can be filed on line through the Companies House website. In order to access your online account you will need to be registered on the site and have the authentication code for each of your companies.  If you have not yet set up web filing or have forgotten your authentication code, you can request the code from Companies House. Please note that the authentication code will be sent by post to the company’s registered office. Should you wish us to assist with any filings to Companies House all we would require is the authentication code.

  1. Paper submissions

All paper forms for companies registered in England and Wales must be sent to Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff CF14 3UZ.  Companies registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland must submit forms to the Edinburgh and Belfast addresses respectively.  Please remember that delays in transit will not be accepted as a reason to waive penalties imposed for the late submission of documents.

  1. Stamped documentation

HMRC has introduced a temporary electronic service for the payment of stamp duty on both stock transfer forms and SH03s, full details can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-stamp-duty.  Once the stamp duty has been paid HMRC will send a letter confirming the payment.  The letter must be sent to Companies House alongside the SH03 in place of providing a stamped copy of the form.

  1. Same day services

Companies House is not currently able to provide any same day services, however, our experience shows that electronic submissions are currently being processed within a reasonable period of time.As a reminder, if you are going to change a company’s name, you must wait until the Certificate has been issued and if you are undertaking a reduction in capital, the monies released may not be used until the documentation reaches the public file.

Further changes

Annual General Meetings and Covid-19

It was announced on 28 March that legislation will be introduced to enable companies that are legally obliged to hold an AGM to do so in keeping with the Covid-19 restrictions.  Full details of these changes have yet to be released and we will update you further when more details are available but the legislation may not be enacted in time for some companies already in their AGM cycle. If you are due to hold your AGM imminently, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss potential options available to you.

Paper filing reminders

Companies House has already begun phasing out sending paper filing reminders to companies’ registered offices. We recommend that companies sign up to receive e-mail reminders for account and confirmation statement filing deadlines and can nominate up to four people, including an Agent, to receive these reminders.

Mills & Reeve Company Secretarial Team

If you would like any support with preparing and filing documents at Companies House, or if you have received correspondence from Companies House that you would like to discuss or would like to ask any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail Company.Secretarial@mills-reeve.com.and one of our Company Secretarial team will contact you.

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