Last year, more than 25,000 companies were hit with automatic late filing penalties after missing the September filing deadline.
The stat comes from Companies House as it gears up for a busy September period when around 300,000 sets of accounts are due by the end of the month.
With that deadline looming, Companies House has issued some advice to help businesses file their accounts on time.
1. Plan early
Know when you need to file your company accounts and start planning early. If you’re a small company, remember that you’re no longer able to file abbreviated accounts.
Learn about small business account filing options
2. File online
Most companies can file accounts electronically. The improved digital service means it’s generally faster and easier to submit your accounts online and on time.
3. Email reminders
Sign up to reminder emails that tell you when your filing deadline is looming. You can have these reminders sent to up to four email addresses.
4. Avoid rejection
The Companies House online service has built-in checks to ensure you’ve provided all the relevant information before you submit for filing.
You’ll receive two emails from Companies House: one to confirm it’s received your accounts and another to confirm it’s accepted them for filing.
5. Paper accounts – allow up to five days
Some businesses will have to file paper accounts, which take longer to process than accounts submitted online.
Companies House has to check paper accounts manually. Often, this can take more than a week. If your accounts are incorrect or missing some of the necessary information, Companies House will reject them.
The deadline for your business is for filing acceptable accounts. Therefore, if you deliver accounts that don’t meet the relevant legal requirements, Companies House will still penalise you for late filing, even if it received your accounts on time.
For this reason, always send paper accounts well in advance of your deadline. And make sure you factor in the length of time it could take Companies House to check them.
What are the penalties?
Failing to deliver accounts on time is a criminal offence. You’ll receive a penalty for late filing – the amount depends on how late your accounts arrive and whether your company is private or public.
For a private company whose accounts are late by less than one month, the penalty is £150. For public companies, that fee rises to £750.
If your accounts are later than that, the fee rises to a maximum of £1,500 for private companies and £7,500 for public companies.