Companies House Late Filing Penalties are back!

Limited Company, News, Year End Accounts,

Companies House Late Filing Penalties are back! Companies House has updated its Covid-19 guidance and has ended payment breaks for late filing penalties.

UK registered private companies, public companies, and limited liability partnerships (LLP) will once again be given an automatic penalty if they file their accounts after the deadline.

Over the last 18 months, Companies House has introduced a range of measures to help businesses file their accounts including developing a service for businesses to upload their accounts direct to Companies House instead of sending paper documents.

The government body updated its guidance in April 2020 with a change to strike-off penalties which allowed companies an extra three months to send their accounts to Companies House. The previously automatic penalty for late filing was suspended at the same time.

The level of the penalty has now returned to its pre-Covid level and depends on how late the accounts are when they are received at Companies House and differs whether the business is an LLP, private company, or public company.

The fines range from £150 to £1,500 for a private company or LLP and £750 to £7,500 for a public company. If accounts are filed late in two successive financial years, then the penalty will automatically be doubled. See the detailed breakdown of penalties here.

Companies House states that businesses are still able to appeal a fine and that each appeal is treated on a case-by-case basis, and it will take into consideration cases relating to Covid-19.

Our view…

This is a significant shift and one of which business owners should be mindful. The re-imposition of the filing penalties and the removal of the filing deadline returns the filing requirements and, in particular, the wording around appeals against late filing penalties to it’s pre-Covid phrasing.

Successful appeals were previously unusual, and payment of penalties was required without any flexibility; there is little to suggest Companies House will be particularly pliable going forwards!

What can you do to avoid being late?

As our clients will be aware, we do everything that we can to ensure that we meet filing deadline, to avoid late filing penalties. We contact clients in advance of their year end, and regularly during the run-up to the filing deadline to ensure we can complete the preparation of their accounts in good time. We’re polite but increasingly firm as the deadline looms, as we really want to clients to avoid falling foul of the key dates! Our view is that nine months should be plenty of time to prepare and file your accounts…

If you’re struggling to meet your deadline, there are some things you can do to improve things.

  1. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that will help you get organised, and stop fighting fires after the event. Paying late filing penalties is as good as burning your hard earned cash, as there is no benefit to you from them.
  2. Sign up for Companies House E-reminder service. It’s free and will prompt you before the deadlines arrive, giving you time to get your records up to date.
  3. Stop hiding from your finances! Companies House are not going anywhere, and if you don’t file your accounts, they WILL chase and charge you. Get ahead, and reduce your stress levels by getting onto the front foot. If you struggle with confidence around your finances, speak to your accountant! They will be happy to help, but you need to commit to listen and to act to improve things.

If we can help you, please get in touch; we’re here to help, but we do mean point 3 above – you need to commit to help yourself too!

 

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