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Companies House gets tough on tardy company directors

by Ashley Deakin | Mar 31, 2016
  • Companies House has recently streamlined the process of striking companies off of the register for tardy submission of their annual returns. If you are a director, you must ensure that your company’s annual accounts are submitted on time to avoid any inconvenience resulting from a strike-off.

    What it means when a company is struck-off

    The Companies Act of 2006 stipulates that any UK company that does not file its annual returns on time may be struck from the Companies House register, and thus effectively cease to exist. 

    The concerns for directors who have inadvertently had their company struck off are mainly financial. Once the company is removed from the register, its assets belong to the Crown and the associated business bank account will be frozen.

    What has changed

    Before a company is removed from the register, Companies House will send two warning letters. If no reply is received, they will publish a notice in The Gazette stating that the company in question will be struck off in three months from the publication of that notice. 

    The two warning letters have, up until recently, been sent at monthly intervals. Now, however, that period has been cut down to 14 days. Since this streamlining, the striking off process has been reduced from six months to only four.

    Accountants and directors have been warned that, should they not respond to three reminders over a two month period, they will run the risk of having their company struck off.

    Our accountants can ensure you don’t get struck-off

    Most strike-offs occur because a company is not up to date with filing requirements at Companies House. Many directors who have their company struck off are not normally aware that it’s about to happen. 

    For example: If a client changes their address and has not changed their registered office, they may miss reminders from Companies House to file returns. Now that the strike-off procedure has been streamlined, it is easy for four months to slip by before a director knows that their company is not up to date with its annual returns.

    To avoid this, directors can ask Companies House for email reminders or, better yet, they can use our accounting team’s office address as their registered office and we will get reminders on their behalf.

    If you have any questions regarding your company’s annual returns, or if you’d like to ensure your filing with Companies House is up to date, give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7553.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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