Guidance

Coronavirus guidance for Companies House customers

How we’ve adapted the way we work to maintain our services for the public and protect the welfare of our employees.

We’re closely following government guidance for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) and have reduced the number of colleagues in our offices. This has led to delays in processing correspondence, documents and paper forms.

Do not send us paper documents or correspondence unless it’s absolutely necessary.

To make sure your information is processed on time, use our online services to:

Watch our ‘How to’ videos for online filing guidance.

Upload a document to Companies House

We’ve developed a service to Upload a document to Companies House instead of sending a paper document by post.

It also includes features such as acknowledgments and online payment using GOV.UK Pay. We’re continually working to improve this service and include more document types.

Find out more about the Upload a document to Companies House service.

How to get the company authentication code

You can request to have your code sent to your home address or your registered office address.

Send to a home address

If you are unable to access your company’s registered office address, you can request to have your authentication code sent to your home address instead.

This is a temporary service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Send to a registered office address

Request your code now. It’s sent by post to your company’s registered office and can take up to 5 days to arrive.

Watch our video to see how easy it is to register and order your code.

If you’re new to the service, you’ll need to:

  1. Register your email address and password.

  2. Select ‘Request an authentication code’.

  3. Enter your company registration number.

  4. Select ‘Request code’.

For more information, see Company authentication codes for online filing.

More time to file accounts

The automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act have come to an end.

If you need more time to file your accounts

Some companies can still apply for a 3-month extension.

Companies that are eligible and cite issues around COVID-19 in their application will be granted an extension.

Companies that have already had their accounts deadline extended may not be eligible, as the law only allows a maximum filing period of 12 months.

It’s important to check if you’re eligible for an extension and to apply for an extension before your deadline. You must file your accounts on time or you’ll receive a late filing penalty.

Check your filing deadlines on Companies House service (CHS). The deadlines on CHS are up to date, so you do not need to contact us to find out when your filing deadline is.

Strike off (dissolution)

Following a temporary pause, we’ve resumed our strike off processes from 8 March 2021.

We’ll continue to write to companies who are late filing their annual accounts or confirmation statement and help them bring their record up to date.

We understand that this is a difficult time and we’re committed to supporting businesses who may be struggling with their filing requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late filing penalties

If you do not apply for an extension before your filing deadline, and your accounts have been filed late, an automatic penalty will be imposed. The registrar has very limited discretion to not collect a penalty.

For a temporary period, we will:

  • provide a break for companies to pay late filing penalties
  • provide additional support with payment plans for late filing penalties

Paying your penalty

You can pay your penalty by BACS.

We’re not able to take credit card payments over the telephone.

LFP appeals

Each appeal is treated on a case-by-case basis, and we already have policies in place to deal with appeals based upon unforeseen poor health. We’ll consider appeals based upon COVID-19 under these policies.

You can appeal your late filing penalty online.

See our guidance on late filing penalties and appeals for more information.

Contacting Companies House

You can contact Companies House as usual from Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm.

Do not send paper correspondence or documents by post unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Email enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk and we’ll answer as soon as possible.

Access to our offices

Our offices are closed to the public until further notice. The delivery of paper documents is restricted.

It’s taking much longer than usual to process paper forms. Use our online services to update your information as quickly as possible.

Repurchase of shares (SH03) and schemes of arrangement

HMRC has introduced an electronic service to temporarily replace their usual Stamp Duty process.

How to pay Stamp Duty and more information about Stamp Duty on shares.

Your SH03 form is normally sent to HMRC for stamping if the purchase is above the duty payable threshold. You’ll still need to send your form to HMRC - they will issue your company with a letter instead of stamping the form.

Companies House will accept and register an unstamped SH03 form if it’s accompanied by the letter from HMRC confirming that the correct duty has been paid.

We will also accept and register court orders sanctioning schemes of arrangement which are accompanied by either:

  • the letter from HMRC confirming that the correct duty has been paid
  • a letter from HMRC confirming that no duty is payable

The letter will not appear on the public register.

Same day services

You can use a same day service to electronically file a change of company name, or incorporate a company (software filing only). You must apply before 11am. If you apply after 11am, your application will not be processed until the next working day.

We have suspended all other same day services until further notice.

Secure and suppression applications

Removing your home address from the public register (SR01)

To register your application as quickly as possible, you can:

See form SR01 for full instructions on how to complete your application.

You can still send your application by post with a cheque or postal order - but there may be a delay.

Restricting the disclosure of your information

So we can protect your details as quickly as possible, you must apply online to protect your details from being disclosed on the Companies House public register.

For more information, see our guidance on restricting the disclosure of your information.

Suppliers

Do not send us paper invoices by post. It’s taking much longer than usual to process paper documents.

Email your PDF invoices to accountspayable@companieshouse.gov.uk - this will help us process your invoices as quickly as possible.

Stay up to date

For the latest information and updates:

More information

Guidance: Online filing and email reminders for companies

Guidance: Filing your company’s accounts

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do

COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business support

Published 18 March 2020
Last updated 22 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. You can use a same day service to electronically file a change of company name, or incorporate a company (software filing only). You must apply before 11am. If you apply after 11am, your application will not be processed until the next working day. We have suspended all other same day services until further notice.

  2. The automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act have come to an end.

  3. The automatic extensions granted by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act will come to an end for filing deadlines that fall after 5 April 2021.

  4. Strike off will resume from 8 March 2021.

  5. We've temporarily paused our voluntary and compulsory strike off processes for one month from 21 January until 21 February 2021.

  6. Added a link to 'appeal a late filing penalty' online service.

  7. Link to Christmas and New Year opening times.

  8. Updated information about access to our offices - our Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh offices will be closed to the public until March 2021. Our London office is closed and will remain closed until March 2021.

  9. Our latest release of the Upload a document to Companies House service includes forms SLP CS01 and SQP CS01.

  10. Latest release of the Upload a document service went live on Tuesday 1 September, which introduces the 2nd phase of insolvency documents.

  11. Companies House to resume the compulsory strike off process from 10 October 2020.

  12. Our telephone contact line will reopen from 8:30am on Friday 24 July.

  13. Upload a document service updated with the latest release to allow a selection of insolvency forms.

  14. Users can request to have the authentication code sent to a home address instead of the company's registered office. This is a temporary service in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  15. From 10 September 2020, we’ll restart the process for companies who have applied for voluntary strike off.

  16. The latest release of the Upload a document service is now live. It will allow users to upload more form types, including Scottish limited and qualifying partnerships, articles and resolutions.

  17. Link added to guidance for private companies and other company types on the changes that came into effect on Saturday 27 June.

  18. The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 came into effect on 26 June 2020. Companies and other types of business registered at Companies House will get more time to file accounts. Link added to guidance.

  19. Users can now file their change of constitution forms using the temporary Upload a document to Companies House service.

  20. From 1 June 2020, there will be an exception to the suspension of strike off activity. In cases where our law enforcement partners have concluded that companies are no longer in operation following an investigation, the registrar will continue with strike off action for those companies.

  21. Changes to strike-off policy and late filing penalties to be reviewed from 1 June 2020.

  22. Emergency filing service v1 now available. LLP versions of registrar's powers forms added to the service.

  23. Emergency filing service now available for a selection of registrar's powers documents.

  24. Guidance added about changes to strike-off policy and late filing penalties.

  25. New HRMC process for SH03 stamp duty.

  26. Contact centre closed. Advice for accounts extensions updated.

  27. Guidance for secure and suppression applications.

  28. Belfast office closing to the public from 5pm on Wednesday 18 March.

  29. First published.