Although the onus remains on company officers to comply with their filing duties notwithstanding the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis, Companies House have made a number of procedural changes to help keep their services running as smoothly as possible.
Below is a summary of the key service alterations adopted by Companies House:
Companies House – Offices
The London, Edinburgh and Belfast Companies House offices are currently closed to the public, with the London office also not receiving post. The Cardiff office remain open 24 hours a day for the receipt of documents.
All same-day services have been suspended until further notice.
Additionally, Companies House telephone contact centre is closed. All enquiries should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accounts – Late Filing
If you expect that your accounts will be filed late due to your business being affected by COVID-19 and your filing deadline has not yet passed, you can apply for a 3-month extension here: companieshouse.gov.uk/extensions
The application process is said to be fast-tracked and applicants should give “COVID-19” as grounds for the application and be prepared to provide some more detail on the reasons the pandemic has resulted in late filings of their company accounts.
Applications must be made before a company’s filings deadline. Companies that have already extended their filing deadline or have shortened their accounting reference period may not be eligible for an extension.
If a company’s accounts are filed late and an extension has not been requested an automatic penalty will be imposed. Appeals to this based on COVID-19 complications will be considered under existing Companies House policies.
Processing Speeds & webfiling
Companies House has made it clear that it is currently not able to process paper filings as quickly as it has done previously and that delays are likely. Where possible it is advising companies to use the online filing facilities.
Company’s that do not already have an online filing account can register for one here: companieshouse.gov.uk/webfilingRegister&signUpPage
It is important to note that the authentication code generated at the end of the online registration process is sent to the relevant company in the post to its registered address. It is not possible to receive the authentication code by email.
If you have any queries about this post please do not hesitate to contact Thomas Rainey or another member of the Duane Morris London office.