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There are approximately 4.3 million companies on the Companies House register, and all companies must submit their accounts and a confirmation statement each year. Companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty. Companies House also has powers to strike off a company from the register if these documents are not ultimately filed.
The Secretary of State for Business has now announced that Companies House will temporarily pause the automatic strike-off process to prevent companies being inadvertently dissolved if due to the coronavirus outbreak, they fail to update their records in time.
In addition, it has been announced that companies issued with a late filing penalties due to COVID-19, will have appeals treated sympathetically. As part of the measures, while companies will still have to apply for the 3-month extension to be granted, those citing issues around COVID-19 will be automatically and immediately granted an extension.
He also announced that the government will introduce legislation to ensure those companies required by law to hold Annual General Meetings (“AGMs”) will be able to do so safely, consistent with the restrictions on movement and gatherings introduced to address the spread of coronavirus. This will mean companies being extended greater flexibilities, including holding AGMs online or postponing the meetings.