As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has created an emergency filing service, the details of which were published on 26 June 2020. Originally drafted in April 2020, the new regulations provide breathing space for companies who normally file accounts and reports with Companies House.
The changes to the filing requirements is only anticipated to be a temporary change, supporting businesses while they navigate a challenging and difficult period. The government hopes that by providing extra breathing space, companies will avoid being put under undue stress, and receive financial penalties, at a time they may be fighting for survival.
The New Modifications
The changes to the Companies Act 2006 extend a variety of deadlines which companies are normally obliged to abide by. In brief, the modifications are:
- The deadline for filing accounts and reports has been extended by three months. This allows public companies nine months to file, and private companies 12 months to file.
- The deadline for the annual confirmation statement has been increased from 14 days to 42 days.
- In the event of any changes which require notification, such as a change of director, the notification period is extended from 14 days to 42 days.
- The period to register a charge has been increased by 10 days, up to 31 days from 21 days.
There have also been a number of extensions for filing under other legislation, namely:
- The Companies Act 1985
- The European Public Limited-Liability Company Regulations 2004
- Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2000
- Limited Partnerships Act 1907
- Scottish Partnerships (Register of People with Significant Control) Regulations 2017
- Overseas Companies Regulations 2009
All of these extensions apply to deadlines which will fall due between 27 June 2020 and 5 April 2021.
Strike Off Process
Earlier in the year, Companies House advised that it would temporarily be pausing the strike off process which would stop companies being dissolved. This pausing of the voluntary process has been reviewed monthly since it was first implemented in March 2020 and in July, Companies House announced that this temporary measure would be lifted with effect from 10 September 2020.
Recommencing this procedure will apply to companies who have already made their application. Any company who applied for voluntary strike off after 10 July 2020 will go through the normal procedure without any amendments or delay. This process includes the publication of a notice in the Gazette and providing no objections are received, the strike off will be completed two months later.
Easing the Pressure
With companies expected to continue to endure a torrid time for the foreseeable future, the news that Companies House filing dates have been extended will undoubted come as a welcome relief to many.