Please note: The information in this article is correct as of 14/04/2020. Due to the developing nature of the coronavirus situation, advice is subject to change and we would advise anyone looking for specific advice to speak with a solicitor.

NB: Companies House released an update to their guidance on 28/04/20. An updated blog detailing this can be found here.

Companies House recently announced a 3 month extension for businesses filing their accounts to avoid penalties for late filing during the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Companies House has now provided further information on this and a number of other new measures in place as businesses adapt to the new norm of moving services online during the UK lockdown.

Late Filing of Accounts – Late Filing Notices will still be given

The announcement from Companies House on the 25th March allowed businesses to apply for an extension to their deadline for filing accounts where COVID-19 had impacted their ability to file them on time.

It has now been clarified that those businesses that do not apply for an extension and miss the deadline will still be issued with a late filing penalty notice and will need to appeal the late filing notice online. COVID-19 will be treated as an exceptional circumstance but a company will still need to formally appeal and each appeal will be decided on a case by case basis and it cannot be guaranteed that all appeals will be upheld.

For those that need to pay a late filing penalty, new payment methods are detailed here.

Electronic Service to Replace Stamp Duty Process for Repurchase of Shares (SH03) and Schemes of Arrangement

HMRC has introduced an electronic service to temporarily replace their usual stamp duty process. Rather than stamping Repurchase of Shares (SH03) forms, HMRC will be issuing letters, on receipt of the form, confirming that the correct duty has been paid. This letter will be accepted when submitted to Companies House alongside the unstamped SH03 form. Schemes of Arrangement will also be accepted in this method.

Electronic Filing and Payment Update

Many documents can already be filed electronically with Companies House using their existing online services including Accounts, Confirmation Statements, making changes to your company, and closing your company. Companies House are continuing to encourage all to use these systems where possible.

Where there is currently no online system for filing documents, Companies House say they are working on a service to upload documents and make payments where necessary so watch this space. In the meantime; however, our advice to businesses is without any extension being granted by Companies House that documents should continue to be filed in paper form within the usual filing period which is 15 days for the vast majority of documents.

Farleys’ corporate team is working with clients to ensure they remain compliant. For advice on company law and procedure, including the filing of documents during COVID-19, please get in touch by calling 0845 287 0939 or you can contact us by email.