The Office of the Regulator of Community Interest Companies has been looking at alternatives to paper filing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Regulator has established an online service where you can:
- Incorporate a CIC
- File your accounts
- File your confirmation statement
You can also make the following filings via the Companies House website:
- Directors and company secretaries – new appointments, resignations & changes to personal details
- Changing a company name
- Changing a registered office address
- Changing an accounting reference date
- Changes to ‘people with significant control’ (PSC) information
- Changes to a company’s share structure
- Adding details of new mortgages or mortgages paid
What to do if you are currently unable to deliver Community Benefit
The Regulator recognises that some CICs may find themselves unable to provide normal services and meet the community benefit that they were set up to serve during this time. If this is the case, you can detail this in your Annual CIC report.
What to do if you can’t meet the deadline to file your Accounts and Annual Report?
CICs, affected by COVID-19, may be eligible to apply for an extension to their filing deadline at Companies House. In order to qualify for a three-month extension CICs must apply before the date they are due. If Companies House agree to the extension the new account filing will also apply to the CIC Annual Report as both documents are placed in the Public Register at the same time,
Late Filing Penalties
Companies House Registrar have stated that they will treat late filing penalty appeals sympathetically – if the late delivery of accounts was caused by the coronavirus outbreak. However, 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 when not to collect a penalty to provide a break for companies to pay late filing penalties and to provide additional support with payment plans for late filing penalties
Companies House is temporarily easing ‘strike-off’ activity to prevent companies being dissolved. This will give businesses additional to update their records and help them avoid being struck-off the register.
This is a temporary measure and the Companies House Registrar will review the impact of Coronavirus, from 1 May 2020.
How do I get support to pay my staff?
The government has announced that organisations, including CICs, will get support to help them pay wages via The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).
Can staff be furloughed and volunteer?
People who are furloughed under The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) cannot do any work or volunteer for their employer who placed them on furlough. The employer can agree to find furloughed employees new work or volunteering opportunities whilst on furlough if this is in line with public health guidance.
Can I apply for Government Support?
Yes. The Government is supporting all businesses, including Community Interest Companies and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The GOV.UK Business Support has been established a ‘business support finder’ to see what financial support schemes businesses may be eligible for.
Is there CIC specific support?
CICs are eligible to access the range of government support packages being offered to business, subject to the specific requirements of each. CICs may also be able to access other sources of funding subject to specific criteria.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Grants from The National Lottery Community Fund for CICs
- The Big Society Capital Fund which is targeted at social enterprises, including CICs, as well as charities and small businesses.
Where Can CICs get further advice and support?
Alongside government support many social enterprises and other bodies are providing advice and support to CICs.
These include, but are not limited to: