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COVID-19: Companies House - compulsory strike off process to resume

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By Shanice Golder

In recognising the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses, Companies House introduced easement measures in April 2020 to relieve companies of filing and administrative burdens. One of the temporary measures suspended the compulsory strike off process.

However, from 10 October 2020, Companies House will resume the compulsory strike off process where they believe a company is no longer carrying on a business nor in operation and it is therefore important to ensure your company’s filing is up to date.

What constitutes “no longer carrying on a business”?

Neither “no longer carrying on a business” nor “in operation” are defined in the Companies Act 2006. However, it is likely to be the case that Companies House will initiate the strike off process where the following circumstances exist:

  • No filing of a confirmation statement

  • No filing of annual returns or accounts

  • No registered directors

  • If letters have been sent to the company by Companies House and received no response

Compulsory strike off process

Where Companies House considers a company to be no longer carrying on a business nor in operation, they will write to the company (usually twice) and where no response is received within 14 days of the date of the second letter, a notice is then published in the Gazette to tell the public that the Companies House registrar intends to strike off the company.

Can you object?

You can object to the compulsory strike off by responding to Companies House setting out why there has been a delay in complying with filing requirements and, where appropriate, requesting extensions to filing deadlines.

Companies House will advise whether the objection has been accepted and will issue a deadline, for example to file annual accounts. To avoid the registrar proceeding with the strike off process, you should ensure that their request is satisfied and any outstanding documents are filed imminently.

Proceeding with the strike off

If no objections are received, deadlines on accepted objections are not met, or outstanding documents are still not filed, on the expiration of 2 months from the date of publication in the Gazette, the company will be struck off the register and will cease to exist. 

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