Companies House updates penalty guidance due to covid delays and workload.
Due to longer response times to appeals, Companies House has updated the penalty guidance to add reassurance that they will suspend all recovery action until an appeal has been considered. Those appealing will receive a full reply in due course and do not need to contact Companies House.
Covid-19 restrictions mean Companies House staff are primarily working remotely. The guidance states: ‘We have reduced numbers in our offices to maintain social distancing – so we’re not able to take credit card payments over the telephone.’
It is possible to make some penalty payments online. If you have difficulty paying the penalty, Companies House normally accepts payment over a short period by monthly instalments. Anyone who wants to pay over time needs to contact Companies House to request payment by instalments, explaining their situation.
All directors of companies or designated members of limited liability partnerships are personally responsible for delivering accounts before deadlines. Delivery means actual receipt at Companies House in the correct format. A penalty is automatically imposed if the accounts are late.
The penalty only applies to accounts and the level of the penalty depends on how late the accounts reach Companies House.
Late filing of Limited Company accounts £150 fine if not more than 1 month late. Increasing to £375 if more than 1 month late but less than 3 months late. Increasing again to £750 if more than 3 months but not more than 6 months late. Then again to £1500 if more than 6 months late.
The penalty will be doubled if accounts are filed late in two successive financial years.
Not filing confirmation statements, annual returns or accounts is a criminal offence – and directors or LLP designated members could be personally fined in the criminal courts.
Failing to pay a late filing penalty can result in enforcement proceedings. Any criminal proceedings for not filing confirmation statements, annual returns or accounts is separate from (and in addition to) any late filing penalties issued by Companies House against the company.
There is no penalty for late filing of confirmation statements or annual returns – but the registrar could take steps to strike off your company.
If there is a special reason why the accounts might be filed late it is possible to apply for more time to file accounts if the filing deadline has not passed. An extension will only be granted if the reasons are exceptional.
If accounts are delivered late, Companies House will automatically issue a penalty notice to the registered office address. The penalty notice gives details of the penalty (or penalties) imposed against the company. It shows the last date for filing, the date the accounts were filed and the level of the penalty imposed.
Companies House phone lines and contact center will close at 2pm on 24th December 2021 (online services will be available). Services will be available between the 29th and 31st December 8.30am – 6pm.
If you have company accounts that have missed the filing deadline contact AJR & Co Ltd for advice.