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Legal obligations apply to all companies, even dormant companies. A dormant company has no ‘significant accounting transactions’ during the accounting period. For a transaction to be classed as significant, it is one which should have been entered into the accounting records. A non-trading company differs from a dormant company, as a non-trading company may have accounting transactions going through its books, whereas a dormant company may not have any transactions other than specific transactions which are permitted.

There are many reasons why a company can remain dormant, including protection of the company name. A company may remain dormant for an indefinite period of time, perhaps to stop the name being used by another company. While a company is dormant there are still obligations to meet, including the filing of various documents to Companies House. The annual company balance sheets have to be submitted annually, with a document processing fee payable on submission of an annual return. The company has to decide who will meet the legal obligations on behalf of the company, who will cover the expenses and run the company.

The management of a company is the responsibility of the company directors and company secretary. A private company isn’t obliged to have a company secretary since legislation changes in April 2008, but a public company has to have at least one company secretary who is qualified. Although a company is dormant, Companies House needs to be informed of specified details of the company and its directors and company secretary. Failing to meet the legal requirements could result in penalty charges or even being struck off the register.

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