Companies House has announced temporary changes to its strike off policy and approach to late filing penalties to support companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in meeting their legal responsibilities.
The new measures include:
Pausing the strike off process to prevent companies from being dissolved
When a company makes a voluntary application for strike off, Companies House usually publishes a notice in the Gazette, but at present, any further actions to dissolve the company will be suspended to protect those who may wish to object to the company being struck off. The changes do not apply to businesses being dissolved under an insolvency procedure, such as administration or liquidation.
Suspending Gazette notice publications
While Companies House will continue to write to companies that have failed to file their annual accounts or confirmation statement, it has stated that a Gazette notice indicating its intention to strike off the company will not be published during this time.
Treating late filing penalty appeals sympathetically
Where a late delivery was caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Companies House also states that it will provide a break for companies to pay late filing penalties, as well as offering additional support with payment plans for late filing penalties. These changes build on the previous measures announced in March, under which companies can apply for an immediate and automatic three-month extension for filing their annual accounts where they are affected by COVID-19 issues.
Companies House highlights that these strike off policy changes are temporary, and will be kept under review from 1 May 2020 and amended as necessary in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.