Last year, more than 25,000 companies were hit with automatic late filing penalties after missing the September company 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
Be aware of your company filing deadline dates and start planning early. For small companies, it’s important to remember that you can no longer file abbreviated accounts any more.
Learn about small business account filing options
2. File online
Most companies can file accounts electronically. With an improved digital service, it’s generally faster and easier to file your accounts online and on time.
3. Email reminders
Sign-up to email reminders for your account filing deadline. These can be sent to up to four email addresses.
4. Avoid rejection
The Companies House online service has built-in checks to ensure all the relevant information you need to provide is present before you submit for filing.
You’ll also receive a receipt confirmation and another email confirming once your accounts have been accepted for filing.
5. Paper accounts - allow up to five days
Some businesses will have to file paper accounts, which take longer to process than filing online.
Paper accounts need to be checked manually. Often, this can take more than a week to process and if they’re incorrect or don’t include all of the necessary information, they will be rejected.
The deadline for your business is for the delivery of acceptable accounts, so if you deliver accounts that don’t meet the relevant legal requirements then you will still be penalised for late filing, even if they were received before the deadline.
Make sure you send paper accounts in advance of your deadline and factor in the length of time it could take for your accounts to be checked by Companies House.
What are the penalties?
Failure to deliver accounts on time is a criminal offence. You will receive a penalty for late filing, the full cost of which is dependent 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 fee 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 who deliver accounts six months later than their deadline.