Companies House to Restart The Voluntary Strike-off Process
In March 2020, temporary easement measures were introduced to suspend voluntary strike-off action in response to COVID-19 and these measures have been reviewed each month. Following the July review, this temporary measure will be lifted from 10th September 2020. From this date, the process to dissolve companies that have applied for voluntary dissolution will be restarted.
If an application has been filed to strike off a company
Companies House will examine the application form (called a DS01) and, if it is acceptable, will:
register the information and put it on the company’s public record;
send an acknowledgement to the address shown on the form;
send a notification to the company at its registered office address to enable it to object if the application is bogus;
publish notice of the proposed striking off in the Gazette to allow interested parties the opportunity to object;
place a copy of the Gazette notice on the company’s public record.
If there is no reason to delay, the registrar will strike the company off the register not less than 2 months after the date of the notice. The company will be dissolved on publication of another notice in the relevant Gazette.
What is the Gazette?
The Gazette is the official newspaper record in the United Kingdom. There are three Gazettes:
the London Gazette - for companies incorporated in England and Wales
the Edinburgh Gazette - for companies incorporated in Scotland
the Belfast Gazette - for companies incorporated in Northern Ireland
When the registrar publishes a notice to strike off a company, the notice will appear in the Gazette for the part of the United Kingdom in which the company was formed.
In some instances, letters may have been received from Companies House stating that companies will be struck off within two months if no objections are received, but a particular company is still listed on the Companies House register after that time.
The strike-off action may have been suspended because an objection has been received relating to an application for strike-off, or it could be due to the temporary measures to suspend voluntary strike-off action during the coronavirus outbreak.
When voluntary strike-off action restarts from 10th September - if there are no objections to dissolution and the 2-month period from the publication of the Gazette notice has expired - the company will be struck off shortly afterwards.
Objections to a strike-off application
Any person with an interest in a company which is nearing strike-off should register an objection to dissolution at Companies House. If an objection has already been registered but the time period for that objection is due to expire, it will need to be registered again if it is still required.
When Companies House receives an objection to strike-off, they will respond to advise whether the objection has been accepted or rejected. Every response will give a deadline and if they receive no further evidence that action is progressing by that date, they will resume the process to remove the company from the register.
It is important to send any objection to Companies House as early as possible after publication of the Gazette notice and at least 2 weeks before the notice expiry date.
Applications from 10th July 2020
If a company has filed a strike-off application after 10th July, these changes will not affect that. The easements for voluntary dissolution apply to applications for strike-off registered at Companies House before 10th July 2020.
If an application is acceptable, it will be registered and a notice published in the Gazette. If there are no objections to the dissolution, the company will be struck off in around 2 months’ time.
The compulsory strike-off process is still paused. Companies House will continue to review this measure on a monthly basis and publish any changes on their website.
Looking for more advice or guidance on this matter, or any other business-related issue?
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