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5 tips to help you file your accounts on time

December is a busy time of year. Christmas lights are starting to appear and with the big day less than a month away, many of us are frantically shopping and planning for the festive season.

5 tips to help you file your accounts on time
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  • Contributed by Rachel McCoy
  • November 28, 2019
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It's also a busy time at Companies House.

Many companies choose to align their accounting period with the financial year, ending 31 March. This means their accounts filing deadline is 31 December (9 months later).

Here are a few tips to help you file your accounts on time during this busy festive period.

1. Plan early

Start planning early for filing your accounts and make sure you know your company's filing deadline dates.

If you’re a small company, you cannot file abbreviated accounts any more.

2. File online

Most companies can file their accounts electronically – it’s faster and easier. We've significantly improved our digital services, so it has never been easier to file your accounts online and on time.

You can also use software to send us your accounts data electronically.

3. Email reminders

You can sign up to receive email reminders. These can be sent to up to 4 e-mail addresses.

4. Avoid rejection

Our online service has inbuilt checks to make sure all the relevant information is provided before you can submit.

You'll also get an automatic email to confirm that we've received your accounts. We'll send you another email once they've been accepted for filing.

5. Paper accounts

If you have to file paper accounts, you could use a guaranteed next day delivery service.

Accounts filed on paper need to be manually checked. We can only check them during office opening hours, and they can take over a week to process.

You should send your accounts well before the 31 December deadline in case you need time to resubmit them. If your accounts are rejected and you need to resend them, you could be too late to avoid a penalty.

We will not accept postal delays as an excuse for late filing.

If you cannot file on time

We do accept that sometimes there'll be unplanned events which stop you filing your accounts on time. In exceptional circumstances, you can apply for more time to file your accounts.

We must receive your application before the filing deadline. You must prove that the circumstances were out of your control and made it impossible for you to meet the deadline.

If you cannot file your accounts on time, you should contact us as soon as possible. Include your company name, number and the reasons you need an extension.

Companies and directors must be aware of their responsibility to file their company accounts on time.

In 2017, there were 503 people who filed within the hour before the deadline (31 December 2017). But another 28,874 missed the cut-off point completely.

For private limited companies, missing the deadline incurs a penalty of £150. This fine continues to increase to £1,500 for accounts that are more than 6 months late. The penalty is doubled if your accounts are late 2 years in a row.

We've received some questionable late filing excuses over the last 12 months.

Unfortunately, we did have to decline these excuses because they were clearly untrue, or just not good enough reasons.

Rachel McCoy, campaigns manager at Companies House

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