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Companies House's accounts filing extension

View profile for Carly Moore-Martin
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Companies House announced yesterday that it was giving businesses an additional three months to file their accounts to help them avoid penalties as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.  This will come as good news for many, but there are several key points to note:

  • You must apply for the extension of time and do so before your filing deadline – the government website suggests this should take no longer than 15 minutes so there should be no excuse for not doing so ahead of time.
  • Your reason for needing an extension must relate to the impact that COVID-19 is having on your ability to file your end of year accounts on time
  • Extension applications citing filing issues or delays caused by COVID-19 will be granted automatically and immediately.
  • If you have already extended your filing deadline or shortened your accounting reference period however, you may not be eligible for a further extension of time.
  • If you do not apply for an extension and file your accounts late, you may be penalised.

This is however, only a temporary concession from Companies House to help companies struggling to comply with their statutory obligations during this unprecedented pandemic. Under normal circumstances, companies that file accounts late are issued with an automatic penalty in the form of a monetary fine. Companies House also have the ability to bring prosecution proceedings against directors in relation to late filings of company accounts which may result in a further fine and / or an order disqualifying an individual from acting as a director for a period up to 5 years, pursuant to section 5 of Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 (“CDDA”).

If you require any further guidance on Companies House Prosecutions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

This article represents our understanding of the law in England and Wales as at 26 March 2020. Its contents are not intended to serve as legal advice and should not be considered as a substitute for taking legal advice.