A guide to changes to Companies House for small businesses

Companies House has implemented various changes to its services in recent months in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Steve Hanbury has created a helpful guide to the changes which you may find useful if you’re not a regular user of Companies House.

Uploading documents
Companies House has developed a service that permits a company to upload a document instead of sending a paper document by post. This service was created to enable paperless filing in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. It can be used to file certain documents online that would usually be sent to Companies House in a paper format. While this does not sound particularly revolutionary, the new service covers a much wider selection of documents than was otherwise covered before it was introduced. The documents covered include areas of insolvency, share capital, registrar’s powers as well as change of constitution. However, the service cannot be used to upload a resolution to change the name of a company. This must still be done by post.

Filing documents online
This is not a new service, however it is worth mentioning because Companies House is encouraging companies to use its online services as it is currently taking much longer than usual to process paper forms during the pandemic. Online filing can be used for a wide number of documents and forms such as the appointment and resignation of a director, filing of most types of company accounts as well as bank charges along with changes to the PSC register and the company’s registered address. To file online, the company must be registered for online filing and is required to use an online authentication code. The six-digit code is used to authorise information filed online and is the equivalent of a company officer’s signature. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, Companies House has introduced a temporary service to request to have the authentication code sent to an officer’s home address rather than the registered office of the company.

Filing accounts
Companies House has extended the filing deadline for the accounts of limited companies from 9 to 12 months if they fall any time from 27th June 2020 to 5th April 2021 (including these dates). However, this does not apply to any company that has had an extension or shortened their accounting reference period. If the company has already had an extension, the extension granted by this temporary relief will apply to the company’s original filing deadline. It will not be added to the filing extension already granted by Companies House. For a private company that has shortened its accounting reference period, Companies House has extended the deadline to the later of: (a) the new period of 12 months from the company’s accounting reference date, or (b) 3 months from the date of the notice to shorten the company’s accounting reference period. It is possible to check any company’s new filing deadline online at the Companies House service.

Confirmation statements
Limited companies have more time to file their confirmation statements. The current 14-day deadline (from the end of the period that the confirmation statement covers) has been extended to 42 days.

Filing certain company events, such as changes to directors
Companies have more time to file details of certain company events such as changes to directors, the PSC register or registered address. The period allowed to deliver details of the event has increased to 42 days.  It is important to emphasise that, like most of these changes, it is a temporary measure. The filing deadline extension will only apply if the event, such as a change to a company’s directors, happened on or before 5 April 2021.

Mortgage charges
The period allowed to deliver the particulars of a charge to Companies House has increased by 10 days. Previously, a person with an interest in the charge had 21 days to deliver their documentation to Companies House. For charges created on or after 6 June 2020, the period to deliver the particulars of a charge has automatically increased to 31 days. This 31 day-period will start the day after the date the charge was created. However, if the court has already extended the period to deliver the charge, this further extension will not apply. The person delivering the charge should comply with the deadline given by the court.

Same day services
Companies House has suspended all same day services. Such as the same day change of company name service. So no jumping the queue unfortunately.

If you would like more information or advice on these changes please email Steve Hanbury or call us on 01803 403403.

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