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Companies face increase in late filing penalties

Companies that are late in submitting their annual accounts to Companies House will have to pay more in penalties.

Late filing penalties were introduced in 1992 as a way of making sure that companies were on time meeting their legal obligation to place their accounts on public record.

However, as from 1 February 2009 the level of penalties is set to rise sharply.

The increases take into account inflation between 1992 and 2007 and will see the charges for late filing climb by 50 per cent.

There will also be a faster rate of increase in penalties for companies that file more than one month late, and a doubling of the penalty for any company that files late having also filed late in the previous year.

As from 1 February, private companies that file late by not more than one month will face a charge of £150; by more than one month but not more than three months, a charge of £375; by more than three months but not more than six months, a charge of £750; and by more than six months a charge of £1500.

Public companies that file late by not more than one month will face a charge of £750; by more than one month but not more than three months, a charge of £1500; by more than three months but not more than six months, a charge of £3000; and by more than six months a charge of £7500.

The penalties cover flat management and dormant companies too.

When accounts are submitted late, the Registrar of Companies will simply send an invoice for the penalty to the company’s registered office address.

Companies House is advising all companies to make sure that they file their annual accounts on time to avoid the increased penalties and is reminding them that penalties will not be dropped if accounts are delayed in the post.

Private company accounts should be filed ten months after the company’s accounting reference date (reduced to nine months for accounting periods starting on or after 6 April 2008). Public companies should file their accounts seven months after the company’s accounting reference date (reduced to six months for accounting periods starting on or after 6 April 2008).