Information and support

Is your business prepared for accounts filing with Companies House?

It’s that time of the year again when many businesses, big or small, must file their accounts with Companies House. With over 300,000 sets of accounts due, September is one of the busiest periods for Companies House, which is why it’s important to get your accounts filed in plenty of time.

Of course, if your business has an accountant, many tasks may be done for you. But it is worth checking everything is in hand because ultimately, it’s the directors’ responsibility to make sure the company’s accounts are filed on time.

companies houseBusinesses are required to file annual accounts with Companies House 9 months after the date their financial year ends (their accounting reference date) at the latest.

Unless a business is filing its first accounts, a business with a financial year end of 31 December must file its annual accounts by 30 September the following year.

For this, the business will have to prepare accounts which report on its performance and activities during the financial year, even if the company is dormant. Preparing the company’s accounts also helps determine how much corporation tax the business must pay to HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs).

Companies House has released some tips to help you prepare your business for accounts filing:

  1. Plan early

Start planning early for filing your accounts and make yourself aware of your company filing deadline dates.

NOTE: If you’re a small company, you can’t file abbreviated accounts anymore. Find out your accounts filing options for small companies here.

  1. File online

Most companies can file their accounts electronically – it’s both faster and easier, and Companies House have improved their digital services, so it’s never been easier to file your accounts online and on time.

  1. Email reminders

Sign up to receive email alerts and reminders to make sure you give yourself enough time to complete all accounts paperwork. These can be sent to up to 4 email addresses.

  1. Avoid rejection

Companies House’s online service has inbuilt checks to make sure all the relevant information is provided before you can submit. It also sends out an automatic email to confirm that they’ve received your accounts. They’ll then send you another email once your accounts have been accepted for filing.

  1. Paper accounts

If you have to file paper accounts, you can use a guaranteed next day delivery service.

Accounts filed on paper need to be manually checked. Companies House can only check them during office opening hours and can take over a week to process, so ensure you send them as early as possible to avoid any issues.

A gentle reminder

The filing deadline is the date that acceptable accounts are received at Companies House (which meet all the relevant legal requirements), not the date that you sent the accounts. If your filing deadline falls on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, you’re still required by law to file accounts by that date.

Failure to file accounts is a criminal offence. There is a civil penalty for late filing of accounts on the company. The amount of the penalty depends on how late the accounts arrive and whether the company is private or public.

To use the online filing service, you’ll need your authentication code. If you’ve lost or cannot remember your code, you can request a new one here.  Companies House can only send it by post to the company’s registered office, so allow up to 5 days for it to arrive.

If you’re not sure when your accounts are due, you can check your accounting reference period and filing date on the Companies House Service.

To find out details about corporation tax and the government’s initiative for making tax digital, read our recent article here

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