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Companies urged to file accounts early to avoid penalties

If you’re due to file accounts with Companies House by the end of September, allow plenty of time before your deadline.

Published: 23 August 2023

All limited companies, whether trading or not, must deliver annual accounts to HMRC each year. This includes dormant companies.

Understanding your responsibilities Running your own company can be exciting but also challenging. Directors have lots of responsibilities including keeping company records up-to-date and making sure they’re filed on time. You need to understand your role as a director, the importance of remaining compliant and how late filing could affect your company.

Missing your filing deadline could affect your credit score or access to finance. It can affect how others view your company and whether they want to do business with you. There are also financial penalties and legal consequences – you could get a criminal record, a fine or disqualification.

Even if an accountant files your company’s accounts on your behalf, it’s still your responsibility, as director, to make sure they’re filed on time.

File online If you file using our online services we’ll send you an email to confirm we’ve received your accounts. We’ll send you another email when we’ve registered your accounts. File your company’s accounts online before your deadline.

To file online, you may need your company authentication code. If you need to request a new code, you should allow up to 5 days for this to arrive at the company’s registered office.

Software filing Over 65% of companies use software filing as their preferred method. There are a variety of software providers which offer a range of accounting packages to prepare and file accounts. Most types of accounts can be filed using software, depending on the functionality of the software package you’re using.

In the future, as part of new legislation brought about by the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, you’ll only be able to file your accounts using software. This means you’ll no longer be able to file accounts on paper or using our online services. Find out more about software-only filing.

After the Bill achieves Royal Assent and becomes an Act, we’ll let you know the timetable for the phased roll-out of the change to software-only filing. We’ll make sure that if you don’t already file using software, you have time to make the change before it’s a legal requirement.

Avoid rejections You should only send paper accounts if your company cannot file online or by software. 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.

If you need to file your accounts on paper, you should send them to us well before the deadline. This will give you plenty of time to correct your accounts and resend them if they are rejected.

It’s also important to make sure you send all documents to the correct Companies House office. This will help avoid any delays, as your documents may be re-directed and they’ll take longer to reach us.

From 4 September 2023, companies registered in Scotland will need to send all documents to our Cardiff office. HMRC will not accept postal delays as a reason to appeal a late filing penalty.

Guidance and support Register for email reminders to know when your accounts are due. You can also check your filing deadline on our Find and update company information service. Watch our YouTube videos for guidance on how to use our online services. More information about:

  • preparing your accounts

  • filing your Companies House information online

  • filing Companies House accounts and late filing penalties

  • applying for more time to file your company’s accounts

  • using software and moving to software-only filing in the future

  • being a company director

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