If you’re due to file accounts with Companies House (CH) by the end of September, allow plenty of time before your deadline. All limited companies, whether they trade or not, must deliver annual accounts to CH each year. This includes dormant companies.
Running your own company can be exciting but also challenging. Directors have lots of responsibilities including keeping company records up-to-date and making sure they’re filed on time. You need to understand your role as a director, the importance of remaining compliant, and how late filing could affect your company.
Missing your filing deadline could affect your credit score or access to finance. It can affect how others view your company and whether they want to do business with you. There are also financial penalties and legal consequences – you could get a criminal record, a fine or disqualification.
If you file using CH online services, you’ll be sent an email to confirm they have received your accounts. They will send you another email when they have registered your accounts.
To file online, you may need your company authentication code. If you need to request a new code, you should allow up to 5 days for this to arrive at the company’s registered office.
Over 65% of companies use software filing as their preferred method.
There are a variety of software providers which offer a range of accounting packages to prepare and file accounts. Most types of accounts can be filed using software, depending on the functionality of the software package you’re using.
In the future, as part of new legislation brought about by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, you’ll only be able to file your accounts using software. This means you’ll no longer be able to file accounts on paper or using CH online services. Companies House hope this will create a single, cost-effective, sustainable way of filing accounts.
After the Bill achieves Royal Assent and becomes an Act, CH will let you know the timetable for the phased roll-out of the change to software-only filing. CH state they will make sure that if you don’t already file using software, you have time to make the change before it’s a legal requirement.
You should only send paper accounts if your company cannot file online or by software. Accounts filed on paper need to be manually checked. CH only check them during office opening hours, and they can take over a week to process.
If you need to file your accounts on paper, you should send them to CH well before the deadline. This will give you plenty of time to correct your accounts and resend them if they are rejected.
It’s also important to make sure you send all documents to the correct Companies House office. This will help avoid any delays, as your documents may be re-directed, and they’ll take longer to reach CH. They will not accept postal delays as a reason to appeal a late filing penalty.
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