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Top FAQs - What are Late Filing Penalties and how do I appeal?

What are late filing penalties?

Late filing penalties were introduced in 1992 to encourage directors of limited companies to file their accounts on time because they must provide this statutory information for the public record.

Do all companies who file their accounts late get penalised?

Yes, irrespective of their size, status or whether they are trading or not. This includes dormant, flat management and charitable companies.

Do the penalties apply to flat management and dormant companies?

Yes.

Is the size of penalty the same for all companies?

No. There is one scale of penalties for private companies and another, higher scale for PLCs.

What are the late filing penalties?

The table of penalties is a follows: *

How late are the accounts delivered Penalty – Private Company Penalty - PLC
Not more than one month £150 £750
More than one month but not more than three months £375 £1500
More than three months but not more than six months £750 £3000
More than six months £1500 £7500

* In addition where there was a failure to comply with filing requirements in relation to the previous financial year (and that the previous financial year had begun on or after 6th April 2008), the penalty will be double that shown in the table.

Will my company be penalised if the accounts are delayed in the post?

Yes. Accounts are only regarded as delivered when they arrive at Companies House.

Will the Registrar accept accounts which are faxed to him?

No. Certain categories of accounts can be filed electronically using our Software Filing or the Companies House WebFiling service. All other accounts must be delivered by post.

What should I do if the filing deadline is close?

Use a guaranteed next day delivery service. Do not rely on first class post to deliver a letter the next day.  Remember, you will not get any extra time to file if the accounts are rejected.  You must ensure that the accounts are complete and acceptable for filing. 

What should I do if I cannot meet the deadline?

Contact Companies House immediately.  In special circumstance you may apply to extend the time for delivering accounts to Companies House.

How will I know when a penalty is levied?

If accounts are delivered late, an invoice is issued automatically to your registered office address.

What should I do if my company is penalised?

Read the booklet which accompanies the late filing penalty invoice which explains how to pay the penalty and also sets out the appeals process.

What will happen if the penalty is not paid?

The penalty will be referred to collection agents. If it remains unpaid, legal action may be taken which could result in a County Court judgement or a Sheriff Court decree against your company.

Will the Registrar accept any mitigating circumstances if the accounts are delivered late?

Yes. The Registrar has discretion not to collect a penalty, but exercises it in a company’s favour only in the most exceptional circumstances.

Directors have to fulfil all their legal duties despite being in ill-health or elderly. Any director whose ability is impaired should ensure that a replacement is appointed or that other directors know the situation and make appropriate arrangements. Neither ill health nor advancing years will allow the Registrar to exercise discretion and not collect late filing penalties. The nature of the Registrar's discretion was judicially reviewed in 2002.

View a copy of the ruling (PDF 3.75MB)

Read the filing reminders that Companies House send to your registered office address.

Allow enough time to ensure that your accounts reach the Registrar within the period allowed in the Companies Act. First-class post is not guaranteed so if the filing deadline is looming, then please consider guaranteed methods of delivery that will ensure that your accounts arrive on time. Remember: the Registrar will not waive a penalty if your accounts are delayed in the post.

You can now file certain categories of accounts using our Software Filing or WebFiling services using the Companies House website. If you file your accounts electronically you will benefit from an email acknowledging receipt of your accounts.

Companies House provide help and guidance on Late Filing Penalties.

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