What happens if I submit annual reports too late
Submitting annual reports too late to Companies House in the UK can result in serious consequences, including fines and even criminal charges for the directors. Under the Companies Act 2006, the deadline for private companies to file their annual accounts is nine months from the end of the accounting period. Failing to file in a timely manner is considered a criminal offence and directors can be personally fined and even face criminal prosecution. The level of fines depends on how late the accounts are filed, and repeat offenders may face doubled penalties and even disqualification proceedings. Late filing can also impact a company’s ongoing trading activity and access to finance.
It is important to file annual reports well within the deadline, even if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday. Companies House offers email reminders and it is advisable to instruct accountants in advance, especially if audited accounts are required. If accounts are returned for not meeting requirements, it is important to file corrected accounts promptly to avoid additional late filing penalties. Penalties for late filing depend on the length of delay and the type of company, with fines ranging from £150 to £7,500. Filing late in two consecutive years will result in the penalty being doubled.
To minimize the risk of late filing, it is important for companies to have a system in place for timely preparation and submission of annual reports. In case of ongoing shareholder disputes, filing accounts under protest with a note reflecting the dispute in the accounts may be necessary to avoid penalties and criminal charges. Legal advice should be sought at an early stage in case of any issues or concerns.
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