Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for Community Interest Companies (CICs)

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Understandably, CICs are concerned about the business and community impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The Regulator’s approach to registration and regulation will be as flexible and pragmatic as possible during this period.

In response to the spread of the virus the Regulator’s office is following Public Health guidelines. The situation is dynamic and may change quickly so we’re preparing for a number of situations.

The Regulator’s priority is to protect the welfare of employees. Therefore, paper documents may not be processed as quickly as previously. The Regulator is investigating alternative methods of considering any paper filings and payments. We’re doing this urgently to ensure we can maintain services for CICs.

File Online

Use our online services to help us process your information as quickly as possible. You can:

  • Incorporate a CIC
  • File your accounts
  • File your confirmation statement
  • Many other online filings can also be completed online 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
    • Details of new mortgages or mortgages paid

The Regulator recognises that some CICs will have a period of time where they may be unable to provide normal services and meet the community benefit that they were set up to serve. This can be reported in the Annual CIC report, filed with CIC Accounts, to explain any change in the delivery of the community interest company.

What if I can’t meet the deadline to file my Accounts and Annual Report?

Companies House is responsible for account filing and late filing penalties:

  • CICs, affected by COVID-19, may be eligible to apply for an extension to their filing deadline. Further information is here.
    Please note, you must apply for this extension before your filing deadline has passed. If an extension is granted by Companies House, the new account filing date will also apply to the CIC Annual Report as both documents – together with a £15 fee – are filed and placed on the Public Register at the same time.
  • Late filing penalties guidance is also available on the Companies house website: guidance on late filing penalties and appeals.

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. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Any employer in the country – small or large, charitable, CIC and/or non-profit – will be eligible for the scheme. Further details at: Business Support website

Can I apply for Government Support?

Yes. The Government is supporting all businesses, including CICs, and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption.

The Business Support website has been established to provide the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on businesses.

Details on how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply are here.

The Business Support website will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.

Can I access other support available to the non-profit sector?

Possibly. This will depend on the scheme and the nature of your organisation. Many Social Enterprise bodies, who also support community interest companies, are providing bespoke advice and guidance which may be particularly helpful to CICs.

Is there CIC specific support?

The Government recognises the pressures that CICs, and the social enterprise sector more widely, is facing at this time. CICs are therefore eligible to access the range of government support packages being offered to business, subject to the specific requirements of each.

For the welfare of employees, the main office is now closed.

Email us at: cicregulator@companieshouse.gov.uk and we’ll answer as soon as possible.

Stay up to date

For the latest information and updates:

More information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses

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