In the not too distant past, if you filed a set of accounts for a registered company with Companies House this usually involved sending the required documents using the postal system.
Inevitably, this involved a certain amount of delay: initially, for the package to find its way from your location to Companies House, and then for the document to be opened and processed. Which is fine if allowed plenty of time for delivery to complete or to send a replacement set of documents if the item was “lost in the post”.
Clearly, leaving this process to the last minute is a recipe for disaster as there are now fines if you fail to file accounts or other documents by the required filing deadlines.
Fortunately, Companies House now has an online filing portal which means you can file using an electronic version of your accounts; no more fretting about the postal system.
From 1 October 2019, Companies House are updating their internal guidance which dictates how they will respond to appeals against late filing penalties.
In a recent press release Companies House offered the following advice to companies:
We remind all customers to:
- plan ahead – do not leave your accounts until the last minute
- make sure your accounts are correct before you file them
- check the status of all documents you’ve filed using Companies House service
You should also use our online filing service wherever possible. It:
- is quicker to complete and register (it can take around 10 days to process paper accounts at peak times)
- uses less paper and is more environmentally friendly
- lowers your risk of getting a penalty, as companies receive electronic confirmation that we’ve received your accounts and if they’ve been accepted or rejected
- has lower rejection rates than paper filed accounts (0.5% for electronic accounts against 6% for paper filed accounts)
Clients reading this update will be relieved to note that we do file accounts – where this is possible – online.
For those readers who still rely on the postal system please give yourself plenty of time, failure to meet the required deadlines can result in significant financial penalties. Currently they are:
- £150 - if less than one month late
- £375 - if more than one month but less than three months late
- £750 - if more than three months but less than six months late
- £1,500 - if more than six months late
The above penalties automatically apply to all overdue accounts. Failure to comply with the filing requirements for the previous financial year will result in the above penalty being doubled.
And don’t forget:
A private company has 9 months from the end of the accounting reference period in which to deliver its accounts, and if you change the accounting reference period the filing time may be reduced.