Business Support Measures During Coronavirus (Covid-19) Outbreak
IMPORTANT UPDATES INCLUDE:
- LAUNCH OF GOVERNMENT ‘BOUNCE BACK’ LOAN SCHEME FOR LOANS UP TO £50,000, WITH A CAP ON INTEREST RATES, 12 MONTH REPAYMENT HOLIDAY AND 100% GUARANTEE TO THE LENDER
- INFORMATION ON ELIGIBILITY AND TIMETABLE FOR PAYMENTS UNDER THE SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME SUPPORT SCHEME (SEISS)
- FURTHER GUIDANCE ON DEFERRING VAT AND INCOME TAX PAYMENTS
- COMPANIES HOUSE UPDATES FOR INCORPORATED PRACTICES
- REMINDER ON FURLOUGH STATUS OF EMPLOYEES
- REMINDER- SMALL BUSINESS GRANT SCHEME TO CLOSE ON 20 MAY
- ANNOUNCEMENT OF NEW BUSINESS HARDSHIP SCHEME FOR MICROBUSINESSES BY DEPARTMENT FOR THE ECONOMY- DETAILS TO BE RELEASED W/C 11 MAY 2020
(KEY UPDATES TO THE EIGHTH EDITION ARE HIGHLIGHTED IN RED)
The Society appreciates that in these uncertain times, there has been and continues to be significant financial and operational pressures on our members as businesses serving the community. It is a worrying and uncertain time for business owners, staff and the wider community. Solicitors’ firms not only serve the public through representing their clients, they also inject support for other businesses within the local community. This must be recognised in any support packages coming from Government.
The UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive have announced a range of measures to mitigate against these unprecedented circumstances. A number of these are being accessed already, whilst others are ‘going live’ soon. This is a very fast-moving picture and it is important members are aware of and follow the Government guidance to gain access to crucial funding. It is important that members access this funding support as soon as practicable and familiarise themselves with application processes, in order to mitigate the shock to the economy and solicitors’ practices as key pillars of that economy. There continues to be further announcements in this area, such as the launch of the Bounce Back Loans Scheme on Monday 4 May. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open and being accessed by a large number of businesses. A further business hardship fund for microbusinesses has been announced by the Department of the Economy, however eligibility for this scheme has not been made clear.
This Information Notice builds on our earlier notices signposting the key initiatives which have been announced to support businesses through this period. Our notices include schemes covering support in paying salaries, rates relief, tax deferral, access to lower cost loans and other key measures aimed at supporting businesses through cash flow shocks. The Society will continue to provide guidance to members throughout the current situation and to impress upon the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive the importance of business support and financial relief for solicitors’ firms as small and medium-sized businesses.
Business Support Measures Announced by the Treasury and the Northern Ireland Executive
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the UK Government has indicated that employers whose operations have been severely affected by COVID-19 and who cannot maintain their current workforce, can furlough employees and apply to access grant funding from HMRC to pay 80% of the monthly wage costs of employees. (Members should ensure they refer to the guidance provided below on eligibility, as well as the UK Government’s step by step guide to making an application. Also, an online calculator is available to help you to work out how much you should be claiming for).
This scheme is up to a limit of £2,500 per employee, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on the 80% figure.
The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020. Payments under this scheme will be made via BACS. Employers may top up the salary to 100% if they choose to do so.
Furloughed employees must have been on your PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020, and can be on any type of contract, including full-time employees, part-time employees, employees on agency contracts and employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts. The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020, if they are rehired by their employer including those re-employed after 19 March. The Government continued to update its guidance on an ongoing basis for the scheme in terms of eligible workers and members should review the latest version of the guidance carefully to assist with the application process (links below). This will reflect the experience of the applications being received so far and may assist in making applications quickly and correctly.
This scheme has been backdated to take effect for wage packets from 1 March and will now remain in place until the end of June. Current reports suggest the scheme may continue to operate in a tapered/reduced basis from July, although confirmation is awaited on this. It has already been extended from its initial three-month period for a further month until the end of June. Government guidance should be followed closely and factored into business planning.
The broad outline of the scheme is as follows:
Ø Employers need to designate affected employees as “furloughed workers” and employees should be informed. A change in employee status remains subject to the principles of employment law and the contractual position of the employer (including any scope for negotiation). A direction from Treasury to HMRC had indicated that this arrangement must be agreed in writing to cease all work (email may be used). A link to the Treasury’s Direction is included below. However. HMRC has since confirmed that its guidance is to be interpreted to require an audited trail of agreement, but that this need not necessarily contain a written confirmation. It is important to emphasise that during the period in which they are furloughed, the Government advises employees must not carry out any work for an employer to ensure they qualify for the scheme. This includes providing services or generating revenue. While on furlough, the employee’s salary will be subject to the usual income tax and other deductions.
Ø An online portal is in place for applications, through which details in relation to the firm and affected employees should be submitted. Claims need to be submitted in one session, there is no ‘save and return’ feature. The processing time from application to payment is 6 working days. HMRC guidance on what employers will need to have ready and a step by step guide to using the claims portal is included below. The application process includes registering for a Government Gateway ID to apply online. These sources should be read carefully before starting the application process.
Ø Members should review updated guidance from Treasury and HMRC carefully when making their applications under the scheme. Accessing this scheme quickly will be very important in terms of immediate cash flow. Members should follow the guidance on PAYE and the applications process. The availability of the Bounce Back Loan Scheme or the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme may be a form of additional financing to consider if there is continuing immediate need (see below).
Further detailed information on the scheme can be found here:
Guidance on Accessing the Scheme and its Purpose
Accessing the Claims Portal and the Information You Need to Provide
Online Calculator for Claims
Step by Step Government Guide for Making an Application
Treasury Direction on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
HMRC Resource and Webinars on Accessing the Scheme
Deferral of VAT
The UK Government has now said that businesses have the option to defer business payments for VAT for the period 20 March 2020 through to 30 June 2020. This is an automatic offer and you do not need to inform HMRC you are deferring your payment. Any liabilities accumulating during the deferral period will be afforded until the end of the 2020/2021 tax year to make payment. You will still need to submit your VAT returns to HMRC on time and VAT refunds and reclaims will continue to operate as normal (these are usually paid within 5 working days). The Government advice is that if you normally pay by Direct Debit and wish to defer you should contact your bank to cancel your Direct Debit as soon as you can, or you can cancel online if you’re registered for online banking.
Government has advised that deferral is limited to the following:-
· quarterly and monthly VAT returns’ payments for the periods ending in February, March and April;
· payments on account due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020;
· annual accounting advance payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020
The Government advises that it is possible to apply online to move to monthly returns to aid cashflow. Members should consult the detail of the Government guidance closely. More information on this can be found here:
Income Tax for the Self-Employed
For those who are self-employed, income tax assessments due on 31 July 2020 may now be deferred until 31 January 2021. The Government has now indicated this is optional, will be applied to the self-employed automatically and does not involve an application process. No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged during the deferral period. The Government has indicated that budget payment plans are available for those who would like to pay more regularly throughout the year. The Self-Assessment Payment Helpline can be reached on 0300 200 3822.
Member should read the available guidance in full to consider options:
HMRC ‘Time to Pay’ Service
Employers in financial difficulties and with outstanding tax liabilities may enquire if they are eligible to receive support with their tax payments. These applications are assessed on a case by case basis to reflect individual circumstances. It may be worth making contact to enquire about eligibility, including information about payment by instalment and relief from penalties. There is a dedicated COVID-19 helpline which has been established to provide advice and support on these issues.
HMRC’s coronavirus helpline can be reached on 0800 024 1222. Advisers are available Monday-Friday 8am-4pm. The Payment Support Service can be reached on 0300 200 3835.
For more information, see the following:
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
The SEISS which allows self-employed individuals or members of partnerships to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500. This covers three months and will be paid in a single instalment. The grant will be subject to income tax and national insurance. The claims service will open on Wednesday 13 May 2020 and those eligible and making a claim will have the money paid into their bank account within six working days of completing a claim. Those in receipt of a grant can continue to work.
The Government has said that the scheme may be extended, but this has not been confirmed. To be eligible, your trading profits must be no more than £50,000 and at least half of your income must come from trading for either the tax year 2018-2019 or the average of the tax years 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 (if applicable). In terms of eligibility criteria, the Government has set out that those in a partnership or self-employed individuals must:
· have traded in 2018-2019 and have submitted your Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018 to 2019;
· traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020;
· intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021;
· carry on a trade which has been adversely affected by coronavirus.
In preparation, they have invited potential applicants to check their eligibility online- a link is included below. Those checking should ensure they have their Unique Taxpayer Reference and National Insurance Number to hand.
Eligible members should carefully consult the available guidance on eligibility, recording the grant for taxation purposes and preparation for making claims. HMRC has provided detailed information on how it will calculate total income and trading profits for the purposes of the scheme- a link to the appropriate guidance is included below. Further information on eligibility and the operation of this scheme can be found here:
HMRC’s Calculation for the Scheme
Small Business Grant Scheme (Deadline of 20 May to apply for the grant)
All small businesses who are entitled to benefit through the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme (those with a Net Annual Value for rates of £15,000 or less), are being provided with an immediate grant of £10,000 to relieve financial pressures (this is separate from the scheme for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses). The scheme is being administered by the Department for the Economy and Invest NI, working with Land and Property Services. The Scheme is open and a significant number of payments have been made (approximately 18,500 businesses had been paid as of 30 April 2020).
The grants are being paid using the rating list to make direct payments to bank accounts. The Department for the Economy has indicated that businesses will be able to benefit even if their valuation has changed under Reval2020- businesses will be able to choose the figure either before or after revaluation to establish eligibility. An online web portal has been set up to allow businesses to provide these details if they have not already done so.
Although the grant scheme was initially is targeted at around 30 000 business, LPS only held bank details for just under 7000 of those businesses at the time of launching the scheme. Members to whom this scheme would apply should take swift action to ensure they can access this payment as soon as practicable. The Department for the Economy has announced that this scheme will close on Wednesday 20 May, so it is important members who feel they are eligible register as soon as possible before this date to receive the grant.
The scheme has now been extended to those occupying a rental property, with information contained in the link below.
Telephone number for enquiries
0300 200 7809.
Extension to rental properties
Members can also monitor announcements from a range of sources regularly to learn more about the practicalities of accessing this grant funding:
https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/coronavirus-business-support-grant-schemes (This link also contains information for those members wishing to advise clients on the grant scheme for the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector)
Immediate Rates Relief
The Northern Ireland Executive has announced that it will be bringing forward a package of proposals to provide financial relief for businesses. Finance Minister Conor Murphy MLA has said there will be a three month ‘rates holiday’ in which businesses will pay zero rates for April, May and June 2020. The effect of this is a 25% reduction in the annual rates bill for small businesses. Rates bills due to be issued in April will be now be deferred until June and members should be aware of the option to make payment through monthly instalments from June 2020 to March 2021 to aid cash flow.
Further Hardship Scheme
The Minister for the Economy announced on 5 May 2020 that the Executive was putting in place a further hardship scheme for small businesses who do not qualify for the £10,000 or £25,000 grant (around 8000 businesses). More information on eligibility and the operation of the scheme is expected on the week commencing 11 May. The Minister had proposed on 15 April that the rates holiday for businesses should be extended, although no decision has been made on this by the Executive to date.
Reduction in the Regional Rate
The Finance Minister announced in the Budget on 31 March 2020 a further reduction of 12.5% in the regional business rate. With the Reval2020 taken into account, this is roughly an 18% reduction in the rate. During plenary in the Assembly, the Minister indicated that further business support interventions in this area may be necessary if the pandemic is prolonged. Members should monitor the Department of Finance and Department for the Economy for any further announcements.
Small Business Rate Relief Scheme
In addition, members should be aware that the Small Business Rate Relief scheme remains in operation for 2020/2021. This applies a tapered range of discounts automatically to your rates bill if the Net Annual Value of your property is £15,000 or less. Land and Property Services have a helpful guide for applicants here, which includes a contact number, which may be useful if members believe they have not received the appropriate relief (note the important link to the Small Business Grant Scheme). LPS has recently reviewed the rates which will apply from April 2020.
Hardship Rate Relief
Hardship rate relief is in place to help businesses recover from a temporary crisis caused by exceptional circumstances. However, the guidance on this suggests that it may not be granted where other compensation is available (in this case the business grants may make this inaccessible). This relates to those risks and impacts which produce a serious loss of business and could not have been foreseen. Guidance notes on this can be found here:
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (‘BBLS’) for SMEs
The BBLS is now open for applications and is currently scheduled to remain open until 4 November 2020. The BBLS is designed to help small businesses borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The Government will guarantee 100% of the loan to the lender and as with CBILS, there won’t be any interest or fees to pay in the first 12 months of the loan term. It is important to note the guarantee is to the lender and the borrower remains liable for repayment in full.
The Government has confirmed the intention that these loans will be quick and easy-to-access. Interest on the loans will be charged at a flat rate of 2.5%. Loan terms will be fixed for six years and there will not be any repayments due in the first 12 months of the loan. Early repayment is permitted without a fee. In terms of eligibility, the broad criteria for applicants includes the following:
Ø Your business is based and trading in the UK and was established before 1 March 2020;
Ø Has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.
The Scheme is to be delivered through a network of accredited lenders locally and there is a short application form of seven questions which can be accessed through the lenders. There are currently 11 accredited lenders listed for Northern Ireland and these can be found through the British Business Bank website. Members should familiarise themselves with the full range of guidance available on the criteria to be applied from the British Business Bank website.
You cannot claim if you have already taken a loan under the CBILS (information below). However, the Government is offering those who have taken out a loan from CBILS up to £50,000 the opportunity to transfer it into the BBLS with their lender until 4 November 2020.
Further information on BBLS can found below:
British Business Bank
Accredited Lenders Filtration Page
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (‘CBILS’)- UK Government
The UK Government has launched the new temporary CBILS through the British Business Bank, in order to support businesses accessing bank lending and overdrafts during the crisis. The purpose of the scheme is to provide lending to viable UK businesses that would be turned down for a loan or other forms of debt finance due to inadequate security. Loan values under CBILS extend to a maximum upper limit of £5 million per applicant for period of up to three or six years depending on the product. The mechanism is a government commitment to lenders of a guarantee of 80% on each loan, with no charge for this guarantee to businesses or banks. It is important to again note businesses remain responsible for repaying any loans; the guarantee is made to the lender. The final decision on eligibility rests with the accredited lenders.
The maximum length of the facility depends on the type of finance you apply for and will be up to 3 years for overdrafts and invoice finance facilities and up to 6 years for loans and asset finance facilities. If you want to borrow £30,000 or more, you also need to confirm that your business was not classed as a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019.
The Government has said they will cover the interest payments on the loans for the first twelve months along with any lenders’ fees for those accessing the scheme. The Government is issuing Business Interruption Payments to meet this commitment for successful applicants. In terms of eligibility, the Government has set out the following:-
· your business is based in the UK;
· your business has an annual turnover of up to £45 million;
· your business would be viable, were it not for the coronavirus pandemic;
· you can self-certify that your business has been adversely impacted by coronavirus.
The Chancellor introduced changes to widen the access to the scheme for those smaller businesses that would have previously have met the requirements for a commercial facility, but would not have been eligible for CBILS. This should significantly increase the number of businesses eligible for the scheme. The changes in summary were as follows:
- personal guarantees cannot be taken for any facilities below £250,000;
- personal guarantees may be required for facilities above £250,000 but will be capped at 20 per cent of the outstanding balance after business asset recoveries;
- insufficient security is no longer a condition to accessing the scheme, making more smaller businesses eligible to receive the business interruption payment.
The Government asked that lenders should retrospectively apply these changes for any CBILS facilities offered since 23 March 2020.
The dedicated page for information on the criteria and operation of the scheme can be found at:
A list of accredited lenders for the purposes of CBILS can be found here. This page can be filtered to identify Northern Ireland lenders who should be contacted for more information, by finance types and by loan values. There are now 38 accredited lenders listed for businesses in Northern Ireland. There may be other online funding sources also identified by the British Business Bank, more information is found here.
It will be important for members considering making an application for a CBILS loan to consider readying a cash flow impact analysis and detailing how cash flow issues will increase in severity, depending on the period over which the crisis extends. It may be worth modelling this impact in measurable time periods, e.g. three months, six months etc to support your application. This forms part of a wider business plan in terms of how to manage cash flow- other areas of enquiry might include asking lenders for repayment holidays on loans or asset purchases.
Members with an interest in the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Corporate Financing Facility for larger businesses and the Future Fund for Innovative Businesses can find information here:
For further information and FAQs for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The UK Government has included provision within the Coronavirus Act 2020 for HMRC to make regulations to allow qualifying NI SMEs to reclaim statutory sick pay (‘SSP’). The UK Government announced this would cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who is off work due to COVID-19. The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount. Legislation has also been passed which provides for self-isolation due to COVID-19 (as well as those who actually have the virus) to come within sick pay arrangements (see below, this expires after eight months- see here.). It also includes those who are shielding in line with public health guidance. Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.
The UK Government has announced the scheme will be open to employers with fewer than 250 employees and it is open to employers who started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020. The scheme will come into operation on the day after the necessary regulations on the extension of SSP to self-isolators comes into force. Further clarity is awaited on the precise mechanics of the rebate scheme, including the online applications portal.
The Government has confirmed that the scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
· full-time employees;
· part-time employees;
· employees on agency contracts;
· employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts.
The UK Government has updated its guidance on record keeping for the scheme and has indicated that employers must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:
· the reason why an employee could not work;
· details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates;
· details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work;
· National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid SSP to.
The guidance states that employers will have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim. The Government has said it will provide an update on when the scheme will end.
Further information on this can be found here:
Protection from Forfeiture During the Relevant Period
Under the terms of the Coronavirus Act 2020, commercial tenants in Northern Ireland who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from forfeiture (until 30 June).
The provisions of the Act mean no business will automatically forfeit their lease and be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment up until 30 June.
There is the option for the Department of Finance to extend this period (more than once if required) by way of regulations.
The Government advise this is not a rental holiday. All commercial tenants will remain liable for the rent. Commercial tenants are protected from eviction if they are unable to pay rent.
More information can be found here:
Professional Indemnity Insurance
The Society has contacted the brokers about the impact of COVID-19 on professional indemnity insurance premium payment arrangements and what options might be available to firms in these unprecedented circumstances. We had been advised by our insurance brokers that the major provider of PII credit facilities, Premium Credit, would engage with clients individually on the possibility of deferring some instalments. The Society is pleased to inform you that, following engagement with the brokers, they have now confirmed that they are offering a payment holiday for the vast majority of those firms on a 10-month instalment plan. The payment due to be taken on 1 May 2020 will now be spread over the three remaining instalments beginning on 1 June 2020. Premium Credit will be writing to firms to confirm the position.
Firms with any queries on arrangements should contact Premium Credit directly (or other relevant provider to determine what is available):
Phone Number: 0330 123 9717
Department for the Economy- Guidance on Priority Sectors and Workplace Safety
The Department for the Economy has published guidance on priority sectors during the crisis and practical principles in relation to workplace safety (In the priority sectors document see pages 5, 6 and 8 for reference to legal services). The guidance, found below, was developed between the Department and the Engagement Forum on Covid-19.
Business Interruption Insurance
It is important to contact your provider, however the vast majority of business interruption insurance policies that firms may have taken out will likely not include cover for losses caused by a pandemic. These policies typically insure against damage to property. However, there may be clauses in some policies which may cover COVID-19, given that the Government has taken steps to list it as a “notifiable disease”.
Incorporated Practices- Guidance from Companies House on filing of Accounts and Contact Point
3 Month Extension
As of 25 March 2020, businesses will be able to apply for a 3-month extension on filing their accounts. All companies who apply for an extension as a result of COVID-19 will automatically be granted the extension without needing to provide evidence.
Further information can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/companies-to-receive-3-month-extension-period-to-file-accounts-during-covid-19
Temporary Closure of Companies House Contact Centre
Companies House has made the decision to temporarily close their Contact Centre until further notice. From 25 March, any queries should be directed to your Customer Care Manager or to email@example.com
Appealing a Late Filing Penalty Online and Payment Options for Late Filing Penalties
When a company files after the accounts filing deadline, a late filing penalty will be automatically applied. The Registrar has put in place extended measures to help companies who have been issued with late filing notices, but is not able to prevent a notice being issued. COVID 19 will be treated as an exceptional circumstance, but a company will still need to formally appeal against the late filing notice in order for the appeal to be considered. Companies House note appeals will be treated on a case by case basis and the Registrar cannot guarantee all appeals will be upheld.
Appeals for late filing penalties can now be made online – https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/appeal-a-penalty/
If a late filing penalty occurred on or after 30 March 2020, you may be able to pay your late filing penalty online – a link to the online service will be found on the penalty notice. If the Penalty occurred before 30 March 2020, there are multiple penalties, a part paid penalty or a penalty under an instalment plan, payment should be made by BACS instead. Further information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/late-filing-penalties/late-filing-penalties
Suspension of Document Ordering Service
Due to the impact of Covid-19, Companies House are currently unable to offer the document ordering service for older documents not shown on the filing history of Companies House Direct or DVD-ROM/Archived documents/Hard Files orders.
Repurchase of Shares (SH03) and Schemes of Arrangement
HMRC has introduced an electronic service to temporarily replace their usual Stamp Duty process. 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. Companies House will also accept and register court orders sanctioning Schemes of Arrangement which are accompanied either by the letter from HMRC confirming that the correct duty has been paid, or a letter from HMRC confirming that no duty is payable.
You can find out more about Schemes of Arrangement at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stamp-duty-and-stamp-duty-reserve-tax-transfer-schemes-of-arrangement
Restricting the Disclosure of Information – Online Applications.
Due to the impact of COVID-19, Companies House has suspended all paper applications covering sections 243, 790ZF and 790ZG of the Companies Act 2006. To help Companies House 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 their guidance on restricting the disclosure of your information
Electronic Filing and Payment Update
Most of Companies House’s documents can be filed electronically using existing online services. If you need to file a document on this list, Companies House advise to use their online services to help them process your information as quickly as possible.
For the small number of filings that do not currently have an online service – Companies House is urgently working on a service to upload your documents and make a payment where necessary. This will only be available for documents that do not already have an online service. Companies House has indicated they will update you as soon as this solution is available.
Companies House has committed to keep businesses informed through regular emails, as well as via updates to their web-site, as to any other changes to their services and their ability to provide them in the current circumstances. However, if their members have any other queries they would like answered in the interim, please contact your Customer Care Manager directly via email.
Further Update from Companies House
Emergency Filing Service
Companies House advise they are urgently working on an online service to upload and send documents to Companies House securely and to make a payment where necessary. This service will only be available for a selection of paper documents that do not already have an online option. Members should continue to use their existing online services. See the full list of documents you can send to Companies House online.
You can now use the emergency filing service to upload and submit your completed registrar’s powers forms. Users will upload their documents and send to Companies House using the service, then they will examine and process the documents as usual. The first release will only be for a selection of registrar’s powers forms. Later releases of the service will allow more form types to be uploaded, authentication and possibly a payment service. Companies House will provide an update as to when these services become live.
Temporary Changes to Strike Offs and LFP Policies and Review
As outlined above, Companies House has introduced temporary measures to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes primarily affect the strike-off and late filing penalties processes. Companies House has said these measures implemented in April 2020 will be reviewed monthly. For members’ information, some links are included below to the website to announce the temporary changes to CH's strike off and LFP policies.
Companies House main coronavirus guidance page:
Alphabetical Search on CHS
This functionality is now live on CHS and can be found at the following link -https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/alphabetical-search
Updates to emergency filings
The Society will continue to update members with information regarding business support measures during the course of the current crisis, as more detail on their operation and impact for NI businesses becomes clear. The Society will continue to monitor the situation and update members as required.
David A. Lavery CB