For limited companies registered and operating in the UK, one of the requirements that directors must meet is filing annual accounts with Companies House.
Comprising a collection of different documents, filing with Companies House ensures that the publicly available information about your company is correct.
Because it is so important, there are penalties for not providing this information at the right time, including significant fines for non-compliance.
This should leave you asking the question – can I afford to miss my Companies House deadline?
Accounting obligations explained
At the end of your company’s financial year, you must prepare full – or ‘statutory’ – annual accounts and a Confirmation Statement for Companies House.
You must file your annual accounts with Companies House nine months after the end of your company’s financial year, and they must include:
- A balance sheet – setting out the value of the company’s assets, debts and monies owed on the last day of the financial year
- Profit and loss – an account of the company’s sales, costs and profit or loss for the financial year
- A director’s report
- Notes about the accounts
If you have fulfilled two or more of the following criteria you will also need to submit an auditor’s report:
- Annual turnover of £10.2 million or more,
- Assets worth £5.1 million or more
- 50 or more employees
Your accounts must meet either the International Financial Reporting Standards or the New UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice.
You will also have to submit a Company Tax Return (CT600) separately to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 12 months after the end of your accounting period.
After this, you will usually have nine months and one day to pay your Corporation Tax bill.
The confirmation statement
As mentioned, in addition to submitting your accounts, you must also submit a confirmation statement – a written statement declaring that key information about your company is still correct, including:
- Your registered office
- Directors and their salaries
- The address where your records are kept
- Your SIC code
- Your statement of capital and shareholder information, if your company has shares
- Your register of ‘people with significant control’ (PSC).
This must be filed with Companies House by the deadline, although this may be different to the deadline for your accounts.
Typically, the deadline is one year after your company was incorporated, and then annually on this date.
Companies House offers an email reminder service through its online filing system if you are worried you will not remember this date.
Failure to submit
If you miss your Companies House deadline for submitting your accounts, you may face significant penalties.
Late filing of your accounts will result in an automatic penalty notice of up to £1,500 if your accounts are late by six months or more.
This will double if you file late two years in a row, so it is important to remain compliant with your deadlines whenever possible.
Filing your Company Tax Return after the deadline can also result in a fine of £100 for a single day, up to 20 per cent of your unpaid tax after 12 months, in addition to your existing Corporation Tax bill.
Companies can also run into unexpected trouble if they fail to file a confirmation statement.
While it may seem tedious, it is important to let Companies House know that your information is up to date. You could be fined up to £5,000 or struck off if you fail to do so.
Can I appeal against penalties?
You can appeal against a late filing penalty if you have a reasonable excuse as to why you have missed the deadline. To do this, you will need to provide:
- Your company’s Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR)
- The date on the penalty notice
- The penalty amount
- The end date for the accounting period the penalty is for
You will also need to explain why you did not file the return by the deadline.
However, it is best to avoid late penalties by applying for an extension to your deadline before it arrives.
If an unexpected obstacle stops you from submitting your accounts, you should apply to extend your deadline as soon as possible and before you submit your accounts, otherwise you may face a late filing penalty.
Filing annually with Companies House is essential, as it lets the Government know that your company information is up to date and that you are financially compliant.
For help and guidance on preparing your accounts for Companies House, please contact us and speak to a member of our team.