It makes no sense that Companies House have commenced proceedings to remove companies for failing to file accounts at Companies House in the middle of a pandemic.
Many companies will simply not be able to deal with this, with key staff on furlough and premises closed. Companies House must immediately put on hold all such actions during the period of lockdown.
With the second lockdown starting, it is imperative that Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) reconsider the filing deadlines they are imposing on companies and individuals at a time when many are concentrating on the survival of their businesses.
Companies House previously have granted three-month extensions for filing of accounts for all companies meaning that the filing deadline is 12 months from the year-end date as opposed to nine months. For companies with year-ends from 31 July 2020 onwards, this relief no longer exists. With companies closing down operations again, they simply need further time to get their affairs in order and this extension should be extended to cover all companies with year-ends up and until 31 March 2021.
Companies have 12 months from their year-end date to file a Corporation Tax return with HMRC. For a company with a December year-end, HMRC have said that will consider filing extensions by phone in December, where they will automatically offer a one-month extension.
They may consider a further extension of two months if a compelling written argument is made. Businesses need certainty and definitely do not need to incur additional professional fees in having to write to HMRC explaining their position.
Many owner-managed business owners will also be concerned about the looming Self-Assessment deadline of 31 January. In particular, many Limited Liability Partnerships with a 31 March 2020 year-end will have until 31 March 2021 to file their accounts at Companies House, but only 31 January to prepare the supporting partnership tax return which then feeds through their own personal tax return which has the same deadline of 31 January.
Urgent clarity is required for the relaxation of Self-Assessment deadlines for those who are unduly affected.