The end of the year is nigh

The end of the year is nigh

At the time of writing we are halfway through December. Whilst for many that means a scant ten days to go before Christmas; for 300,000 companies it means the deadline for filing annual accounts is looming large on the horizon.

Company directors who have already filed their company’s accounts can sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. But for those who have yet to file and wish to avoid a minimum penalty of £150 Companies House has issued a few words of advice. First and foremost this advice is to avoid postal delays and file accounts online. According to Companies House this should take no more than fifteen minutes with the added comfort of receiving email confirmation of receipt and acceptance. However this may not be an option for those filing for the first time as the registration process requires an authentication code to be sent through the post.

There are some exceptions to the online filing process including small companies who wish to file abbreviated accounts with a special audit report, medium companies taking disclosure exemptions and companies preparing IFRS accounts. For them, as for LLP’s and CIC’s, the option is to file on paper either through the post or by handing paperwork in at one of the Companies House offices.

With only the Cardiff office staying open throughout the festive period companies are advised to check opening times at offices before attending to file their accounts. Companies are also warned that seasonal delays in the postage service will not count as mitigating circumstances for late delivery so early posting is advised.

One of the other advantages of filing online is that any errors can immediately be picked up and rectified whereas errors on posted accounts will result in them being returned and therefore potentially liable for a late submission fine. Common errors include mistakes in quoting the company name or number or using an abbreviation which is not on the acceptable list.

Accurate and timely filing of accounts is one of the duties of company directors and in fact failing to file confirmation statements, annual returns or accounts is a criminal offence which according to Companies House guidance “can result in directors being fined personally in the criminal courts.” With the holiday period fast approaching the end of the year is a lot closer than you think so it pays to file now before it is too late.

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