Coronavirus  

Companies House suspends strike-offs

Companies House suspends strike-offs

Companies House has temporarily paused its strike off process to prevent companies being compulsory dissolved amid the coronavirus crisis.

The government announced changes to Companies House’s enforcement action last week (April 16), which it said will help businesses avoid being struck off the register as they deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Currently, Companies House is able to dissolve a company through its strike off process if it fails to submit an annual confirmation statement form or file accounts on time. 

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A common cause of companies being struck off is due to a change of registered office address that is not notified to Companies House.

The government said suspending this power will give businesses “affected by the coronavirus outbreak the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register”.

For companies who make an application for voluntary dissolution, the application will be registered at Companies House but any further action to strike off the company will be suspended for the time being.

However, this does not apply to businesses which are being dissolved as the result of an insolvency procedure such as administration or liquidation.

Martin Swain, director of strategy, policy and communications at Companies House, said: “We know that many businesses are finding it difficult to keep up with their filing requirements at the moment.

“We’re committed to helping them meet their legal responsibilities while keeping the register as up to date as possible.

“We will continue to contact customers to remind them of their responsibilities, and we encourage all companies to file their statutory documents as soon as they’re able to do so.”

Meanwhile, companies issued with a late filing penalty due to Covid-19 will have appeals treated sympathetically.

Last month (March 20), Companies House allowed for a two-month extension to file accounts and then another month if companies can demonstrate extreme circumstances.

All companies must send their accounts, reports and confirmation statements to Companies House every year. If these are filed late the law imposes an automatic penalty.

amy.austin@ft.com

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