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How to avoid a late filing penalty

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Filing advice

Timeliness is something that I like to be credited for. If you own a company, I'm sure you'll agree that timeliness in a business is essential to keeping customers satisfied. No matter how great the product or service your company offers, tardiness and a lack of information can be detrimental and lead to loss of opportunities.

Timeliness in business demonstrates that you're dependable and diligent. It inspires confidence and shows that you value your time and the time of others. As well as making sure that your company deals with customers promptly, it's also important that your company files its legal paperwork on time.

We've just released our latest short video. You can watch our video about late filing penalties with captions on YouTube.

The late filing penalty scheme was first introduced in 1992 in response to increasing public concern about the number of companies that failed to file their accounts on time or at all. The purpose of the late filing penalty scheme is to promote the timely delivery of accounts to Companies House.

During the financial year from 2017 to 2018, we levied 218,884 penalties with a value of £93.7m. It's the legal responsibility of the company's officers to make sure accounts are prepared and delivered to Companies House on time.

Make sure you know when your accounts are due. You can check the due date online and if you sign up to email reminders we'll notify you in good time.

Do not be late

I hate being late. Whether it's meeting someone, getting to the airport or an appointment at the dentist, I'll always try to get there with plenty of time to spare. I think it was drummed into me at school and has always stood me in good stead.

It was an extremely useful trait in my previous role as outreach manager at the Intellectual Property Office. It was crucial to turn up to presentations early to make sure the room was suitable, and the technical equipment would work as expected. I would often turn up with my antiquated laptop only to find it was not compatible with the projection equipment.

So, getting there early meant I could do a run through, test sounds and video before any of the customers arrived. I'm sure you've been at events where the presenter will be trying different settings, cables and even swapping laptops to get things to work. I think this looks very unprofessional.

Getting there early means you can sit back, relax and compose yourself ready for all those difficult questions. If you're interested in getting some IP advice, and I would recommend it, you can view view the IPO events page to see where they are.

I also hate waiting for things or people. If someone says they'll be there at 2pm, I expect them there at 2pm, if not before.

If the bus says it'll be there at 20 past the hour, I expect the bus and driver to be sat at the stand beckoning me on to buy my expensive ticket.

If the delivery man says that my new washing machine will be delivered at 1:30pm, then I expect it to be plumbed in, watching my smalls rotate in soapy water by 1:40pm.

Keep us informed

Now, I realise that life doesn’t always go to plan and that delays happen. And I'm okay with this as long as I'm kept informed.

The bus station now has information screens which tells me where the bus is and when it's due. The delivery driver will phone to say he's on the way or delayed by 20 minutes. The airport departure screen will happily tell me that my flight has been delayed and is now expected sometime later.

I was even okay with a friend giving me a lift to work telling me to be there by 7:45 and not turning up until 9:15. Yes, it was raining and cold, but I made friends with the chap in the petrol station. To be fair, there was a disaster on the home front and they did text me to keep me informed. I do not hold grudges.

You should always take appropriate measures to file your accounts on time. But, if before the filing deadline there's a special reason, such as an unforeseen event why the accounts might be filed late, you can apply to extend the period allowed for filing.

Please note, we'll only grant an extension if the reasons are exceptional. You'll find more information about this in our accounts guidance.

Make sure your company displays those timely characteristics, and do not get caught out by a late filing penalty.

Remember, time flies like the wind but fruit flies like a banana.

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Tom posted on

    Why don't Companies House send late penalty notices to companies that have slipped up (or even provide an option to pay the penalty there and then when filing a couple of days late) instead of passing the debt incurred directly on to debt recovery firms? It seems absolutely non-sensical to me.