Companies House launches discretionary extension scheme for struggling businesses

Companies House has urged businesses to seek help if they believe that they may miss their filing deadlines.

According to the regulator, businesses suffering from coronavirus disruption should make an application to extend the period allowed for filing to avoid an automatic penalty fine.

The measure forms part of a package of emergency support aiming to ensure no business becomes significantly disadvantaged as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to struggling businesses, Companies House said: “If, immediately before the filing deadline, it becomes apparent that accounts will not be filed on time due to your company being affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19), you may make an application to extend the period allowed for filing.”

It added, however, that companies should take appropriate measures to ensure accounts are filed on time, for example, by filing accounts online if they are able to do so.

“If you do not apply for an extension and your accounts have been filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. The registrar has very limited discretion not to collect a penalty,” said Companies House.

Elsewhere, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has also launched a discretionary extension scheme for businesses struggling to pay tax.

If this includes you, contact the new dedicated helpline (0800 0159 559) to set up an instalment arrangement, or ask the regulator to temporarily suspend enforcement action or cancel penalties and interest “where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately”.

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