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Late filing penalties

View profile for Louise Morran
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As a Company director you are expected to carry out many roles within your business including overseeing the filing of company documents at Companies House. In the past Companies House have been very lenient in respect of late filings which has meant that this task was not always a top priority for many companies. However, over the last 6 months we have seen a big increase in the number of prosecutions being bought against companies and directors personally by Companies House which may be alarming to companies who have historically put the filing of documents to the bottom of their list.

Private limited companies are given 9 months from the end of the accounting reference period to deliver their accounts to the Companies House. When an officer of a company fails to deliver accounts within the time allowed under the Companies Act, the company may become liable for a civil penalty. For accounts overdue by more than 6 months the fine is £1,500. However, if a Company has been late filing company documents in a previous year this fine will double to £3,000.

But Companies House are not stopping there. As well as the civil penalty payable by the Company, all directors may find that if their company has failed to file accounts, and regardless of whether they are actively involved in the company, they may be committing a criminal offence under s451 of the Companies Act 2006. A person guilty of an offence under s451 is potentially liable for a level 5 fine, which is unlimited in amount for offences committed after 13 March 2015. In addition where a director is subject to a second conviction, they may be liable for a daily default fine of up to £500 for every day on which the offence was committed until it was rectified. This fine is payable personally by a director.

In order to help Companies avoid the above fines, a number of reminders are sent to a company leading up to the filing deadline by Companies House. It is important that these reminders are taken seriously as ignoring them can be very costly.

Running a business can be complicated and it can involve dealing with competing priorities. It is inevitable that sometimes, due to circumstances that are difficult to control, documents will be filed late. If you or your company find yourself in this situation or if you have received a Court summons then please get in touch and we will help you in relation to appealing any fines and or dealing with any criminal summons.