All companies private or public, large or small, trading or non-trading must send their accounts and reports to Companies House every year. If you submit company accounts and reports late, the law imposes an automatic penalty.
The period allowed for filing your company’s accounts depends on whether you are filing your first accounts since incorporation or subsequent accounts.
If your company’s first accounts cover a period of more than 12 months, you must deliver them to Companies House within 21 months of the date of incorporation for private companies. This can catch a number of business out so be sure to check your filing date.
In subsequent years, a private company has 9 months from the end of the accounting reference period in which to deliver its accounts. A public company has 6 months.
However, if you change the accounting reference period the filing time may be reduced, so be sure to check with Companies House.
If you are a director of the company you are personally responsible for ensuring you deliver your accounts before the filing deadline.
The penalty only applies to company accounts. The level of the penalty depends on how late the accounts reach Companies House and is shown below:
For example, a set of private limited accounts with an accounting period ending 30 September 2022 would need to be delivered by 30 June 2023 to avoid a late filing penalty.
The penalties will be doubled if a company files its account late in 2 successive financial years.
Failure to file confirmation statements or accounts is a criminal offence which can result in directors being fined personally in the criminal courts.
The registrar may also take steps to strike the company off the public record if these documents are delivered late.
You may appeal against a penalty, but it will only be successful if you can show that the circumstances are exceptional.