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I am due to file accounts at Companies House, but have been unable to complete them due to Covid-19. What should I do?

Every company has to file accounts at Companies House every year. If they are filed late, a fine is automatically levied. If there is a long delay in filing them, the directors are at risk of prosecution and the Registrar of Companies might start a process which could ultimately lead to the company being struck from the register.

However, Companies House has recognised that businesses might currently face exceptional problems in preparing and filing their accounts on time and so have posted a notice on their website which says that if immediately before the filing deadline, it becomes apparent that accounts will not be filed on time due to coronavirus, you can make an application to extend the period allowed for filing.

Related FAQs

What should payroll look out for if the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is used?
  • It is important to have a clear paper trail for any agreed reduction in salary, and hence any reduction in the amount of contributions. However, the contribution rates (as opposed to the amounts) should be the same as normal, and hence all processes and software should function as per normal and, amongst other things, remain compliant with auto-enrolment employer duties.
  • However, if the period of affected contributions does not overlap precisely with the period of reduced salary, for example because of different cut-off dates, there may well be instances of non-compliance with auto-enrolment employer duties at the beginning as well as at the end of the period covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Accordingly, where an employer takes advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, good communication with the persons responsible for pensions administration and detailed record-keeping are essential to prevent non-compliances in the short-term and confusion in the long term.
What are my potential liabilities if a customer, supplier or other visitor contracts Covid-19 on my premises?

As an occupier of premises, you owe a duty of care to your visitors to take reasonable care to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using your premises.

It is therefore essential that you are taking reasonable steps and strictly adhering to up-to-date Government advice in all aspects of your business to avoid any potential liability.

Failure to follow Government advice could leave you vulnerable to claims for compensation for pain and suffering should a visitor on your premises contract Covid-19.

However, each case will be fact-specific and it would be very difficult for a visitor to establish that they contracted Covid-19 specifically from those premises (as opposed to being exposed to the virus anywhere else).

If someone suggests that they are going to make a claim make sure that you report matters to your insurer or insurance broker immediately.

Court proceedings haven’t yet been issued – what should I do?

Parties still need to comply with the various Protocols that apply and will be expected to exchange information in the usual way. Court proceedings can be issued electronically.

Preparing for April 2021 – what do you need to do?
  • Audit
    • Identify your off-payroll contractors
    • Determine the status of off-payroll contractors
      • CEST – HMRC employment status checker for tax purposes
  • Communication – liaise with affected workforce
  • Contracts – get them compliant
  • Consider the Ward Hadaway toolkit
How is an establishment defined?

The definition of a relevant establishment is a question of fact for an Employment Tribunal. Guidance from case law says that ‘establishment’ should be interpreted very broadly (so as to avoid employers escaping the need to collectively consult), and may consist of:

  • A distinct entity
  • With a certain degree of permanence and stability
  • Which is assigned to perform one or more tasks
  • Which has a workforce, technical means and a certain organisational structure to allow it to do so

However, there is no need for it to have the following:

  • Legal, economic, financial, administrative or technological autonomy
  • A management which can independently effect collective redundancies
  • Geographical separation from the other units and facilities of the undertaking