Companies House Late Filing Penalties

I run a small limited company, I am late filing my accounts  and am worried about Companies House late filing penalties. Companies House have issued me with a fine – am I able to appeal this and does the fine increase the longer I take to file these overdue accounts? The reason they are overdue is that my books are in a bit of a mess so I know it’s my fault and I need to sort this out.

Companies House Late Filing Penalties

Answer:

All penalties received from either HMRC or Companies House have the right of appeal. In the case of fines from Companies House an appeal will be successful in only very specific exceptional circumstances. Companies House defines exceptional circumstances as an unforeseen catastrophe striking the company at a critical time. This could be a fire destroying company records after the period end or near to the filing deadline. In the case of your books being in a bit of a mess this has no realistic chance of a successful appeal and we would not recommend lodging an appeal in this case.

You are quite correct that the fine will increase the longer you take to file your accounts. The fines for late delivery for a private limited company are the following:

Not more than one month late = £150

More than one month but not more than 3 months = £375

More than 3 months but not more than 6 months = £750

More than 6 months = £1500

The Companies House late filing penalties do not end there. Should you file late for two successive periods the second late set of accounts will attract charges at double the rates shown above.

For example, a small company that files their first late set of accounts which were due on 31st March 2015 on the 15th April 2015 would receive a £150 fine. If the subsequent accounts due on 31st March 2016 were then not filed until after 30th September 2016 this second consecutive late set of accounts would attract a crazy £3000 fine!

You can find out the date your company accounts are due for delivery by using the free government website webcheck. You should also receive correspondence from Companies House to your registered office address.

Given the above, we recommend tidying up your accounts as soon as possible after your financial year end to give the best possible chance of avoiding any such penalties. This approach also ensures that any corporation tax that may be due is known well in advance of the payment date.

A cloud-based accounting software such as FreeAgent allows you to keep easy real-time information on the financial state of your company and coupled with the services of a good accountant (like us!) should ensure you never find yourself in the same position going forwards with Companies House late filing penalties.