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Involuntary strike-off: what can you do?

The registrar of companies has the power to strike a company off a register if the registrar has reasonable cause to believe that the company is no longer carrying on a business or is in operation. This may be the case if the company has failed to file its annual accounts or its annual confirmation statement, there is no director in place or mail sent to the company is returned unopened.

However, before the registrar can move to strike the company off, he or she must first send two letters to the company. If a response is not received from the company within one month of sending the first letter, the registrar must (within 14 days of the end of the expiration of that month) send a second letter by registered post. The second letter must refer to the first letter and state that an answer to that letter has not been received and also that if an answer is not received to the second letter within one month of the date on the letter, a notice will be placed in the Gazette with a view to striking the company’s name off the registrar. If letters are received, they should not be ignored; rather, they should be dealt with promptly.

In the event that no answer is received to the second letter within a month of the date of that letter and the registrar has not received evidence that the company remains in business, the registrar will place a first notice in the Gazette that unless evidence is received to show that the business is still in operation, it will be struck off the register two months after the date of the notice.

Object

An objection to the proposed striking off can be made after the notice has been placed in the Gazette. An objection can be made by a director or a shareholder, or another interested party, such as a supplier or a customer. The objection can be made by email (enquiries@companieshouse.gov.uk).

When making an objection, it is necessary to provide evidence that the company is still trading, is owed money or owes money. The evidence may be in the form of customer or supplier invoices or statements or company bank statements. If the striking off application has been made because the company has failed to file its accounts or its confirmation statement, the outstanding documents should also be filed.

The objection must be made at least two weeks before the expiry of the Gazette notice (which is two months from the date of publication of the notice).

If the objection is successful, the registrar will discontinue the strike and file form DISS40, Striking off action discontinued.

Company struck off

If no objection is made by the expiry of the first notice, a second notice will be posted in the Gazette, stating that the company has been struck off. It will be dissolved on the publication of this notice.