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"I found my wife in the bath with my accountant" will not save you from a fine for late filing

2 October 2018
Late returns

This is not an excuse for returning your company accounts late, warns Companies House.

“I caught my wife in the bath with my accountant.” That was one of the excuses given last year for the late filing of company accounts.

Others included:

  • “Goats ate my accounts”
  • “Pirates stole my accounts”
  • “We delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House”
  • “A volcano erupted and prevented me from filing”
  • “Slugs ate my accounts”
  • “It was Valentine’s Day”
  • “My company was more successful than I thought it would be, so I was too busy to file”

The companies which gave these excuses received late filing penalties. They all appealed and all lost their appeals, which added to the cost of their late payments. Penalties increase depending on how late the accounts are filed and the status of the company.

The warning to avoid penalties by getting your company returns filed on time comes from Companies House. 

Senior Enforcement Manager Nick Parker says: "Companies and directors must be aware of their responsibility to file accounts with Companies House.

"Companies can sign up to receive e-mail reminders, which can be sent to up to four e-mail addresses.

"There will always be unforeseen events that mean a company is unable to file accounts on time. In exceptional circumstances, companies can request an extension to the filing deadline, however these requests must be received before the filing deadline.

"Most companies can file accounts electronically – it’s faster and easier. The Companies House WebFiling service has in-built checks to ensure that all the relevant information is provided before a customer can submit. It also provides filers with automatic e-mail confirmation that accounts have been received and once they have been accepted for filing.

"To send us accounts electronically, you must register for our online filing services. When you register, we’ll send an authentication code in the post to your company’s registered office."

But take note: the authentication code can take up to five working days to arrive.

Read the Companies House guidance for general help and advice on filing company accounts here. 

You can email [email protected] or call the Companies House contact centre on 0303 1234 500. It is open 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.



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