Accounts for Companies House
1. Are the accounts filed with Companies House different to the accounts prepared for the members?
You can simply file a copy of the accounts that you have already prepared for the members/shareholders at Companies House. However small and medium-sized companies may file an abbreviated version of those accounts which contain reduced detail.
2. Do all companies have to file their accounts at Companies House?
All private limited and public companies must file their accounts at Companies House.
Unlimited companies need only deliver accounts to Companies House if, at any time during the period covered by the accounts:
the company was a subsidiary undertaking or a parent of a limited undertaking;
the company was a banking or insurance company (or the parent company of a banking or insurance company); or
each of the company’s members was:
- a limited company;
- another unlimited company each of whose members was a limited company; or
- a Scottish partnership each of whose members was a limited company.
3. Can I file the same accounts that I have already filed with HMRC?
Where the accounts meet Companies House requirements we will accept the accounts. However, these requirements are not the same as HMRC’s and this may mean that you will need to prepare separate accounts for each. There are also different filing deadlines and penalties for late filing.
4. Do I still need to file my accounts with HMRC or Charity Commission, or Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator?
Yes. The accounts filed at Companies House are in accordance with the Companies Act 2006. You must still file with other regulatory bodies according to their requirements and filing deadlines.
5. Will Companies House give technical advice on accounts?
No. We can only give general guidance, not technical advice on specific accounting or legal issues. Your accounts are subject to legal requirements, and we are not qualified to give specialist advice.
You may wish to consider consulting an accountant if you need this sort of advice.
6. How long do I have to file my company's first accounts?
If you are filing your company's first accounts and those accounts cover a period of more than 12 months, you must deliver them to Companies House:
within 21 months of the date of incorporation for private companies, or
within 18 months of the date of incorporation for public companies, or
3 months from the accounting reference date, whichever is longer.
The deadline for delivery to Companies House is calculated to the exact day.
For example, a private company incorporated on 1 January 2009 with an accounting reference date of 31 January has until midnight on 1 October 2010 (21 months from the date of incorporation) to deliver its accounts, not 31 October.
If the first accounts cover a period of 12 months or less, the normal times allowed for delivering accounts apply (see question 7 below).
7. How long do I normally have to file my accounts?
Unless you are filing your company's first accounts (see question 6 above) the time normally allowed for delivering accounts to Companies House is:
9 months from the accounting reference date for a private company; or
6 months from the accounting reference date for a public company.
Please be aware of the definition of a period of months in connection with filing accounts.
A period of months after a given date ends on the corresponding date in the appropriate month. For example a private company with an accounting reference date of 4th April has until midnight on 4th January of the following year to deliver its accounts, not 31 January.
This does not apply if your accounting reference date is the last day of the month. In this case the period allowed for filing accounts would end with the last day of the appropriate month. For example a private company with an accounting reference date of 30th April has until midnight on 31st January of the following year to deliver its accounts, not 30 January.
8. If I shorten my accounting reference date will I still have to file by the original deadline?
No. When a company shortens its accounting period, the new filing deadline will be the longer of the following two options;
9 months for a private company (or 6 months for a public company) from the new accounting reference date; or
3 months from the date of receipt of the notice (change of accounting reference date – AA01).
9. Can I apply for extra time to file?
Yes. If there is a special reason for doing so, you may apply to extend the time for delivering accounts to Companies House; for example, if there has been an unforeseen event which was outside the control of the company and its auditors.
You should make the application in writing and deliver it before the normal filing deadline. It must contain a full explanation of the reasons for the extension and the length of the extension requested. You can do this by emailing our enquiries section or writing to:
For companies incorporated in
England & Wales, write to: For companies incorporated in
Scotland, write to: For companies incorporated in Northern Ireland, write to:
The Registrar of Companies
Cardiff CF14 3UZ
The Registrar of Companies
Edinburgh Quay 2
Edinburgh EH3 9FF
LP - 4 Edinburgh 2 (Legal Post) or
DX ED235 Edinburgh 1
Tel: +44 (0)303 1234 500 (national call rate)
Fax: 029 20380900
8 Laganbank Road
DX 481 N.R. Belfast 1
10. What if I deliver the accounts late?
Failure to deliver accounts on time is a criminal offence. In addition, the law imposes a civil penalty for late filing of accounts on the company. The amount of the penalty depends on how late the accounts arrive and whether the company is private or public at the date of the balance sheet. Further information about late filing penalties is available in our guide “Late Filing Penalties” available on the Companies House website.
11. What if the filing deadline falls on a Sunday or a Bank Holiday?
If a filing deadline falls on a Sunday or Bank Holiday, the law still requires you to file the accounts by that date. You should ensure that you send acceptable accounts in time to arrive before such a deadline.
It is the date that you deliver acceptable accounts which meet the relevant legal requirements to Companies House that is important, not the date that you sent the accounts.
12. What if I do not submit accounts to Companies House at all?
If the Registrar believes that a company is no longer carrying on business or in operation, he could strike it off the register and dissolve it. If this happens all the assets of the company, including its bank account and property, generally become the property of the Crown.
Failure to deliver documents is a criminal offence. All the directors of the company risk prosecution. On conviction, a director could end up with a criminal record and a fine of up to £5,000 for each offence. This is separate from the civil penalty imposed on the company for late filing of accounts.
13. Can I submit accounts online?
Yes. You can submit audit exempt abbreviated accounts and dormant company accounts (DCA) online. WebFiling offers free downloadable document templates which contain inbuilt checks and automatically acknowledge when the accounts are accepted.
More information on availability and registration details is available.
14. What names should be given on the accounts for the purposes of filing with Companies House?
For filing, the copies of the accounts must state the following:
The copy of the balance sheet must state the name of the director who signed it on behalf of the board;
The copy of the directors' report must state the name of the director or company secretary who signed the report; and
If the company has to attach an auditor’s report to the accounts, the copy of the auditor’s report must state the auditor’s name.
Where the auditor is a firm the auditor’s report must state the name of the auditor and the name of the person who signed it as senior statutory auditor on behalf of the firm.
For more details, including on circumstances in which auditors names may be omitted, please see chapter 11 – Auditors.
15. What if my accounts are rejected?
If your accounts do not meet our requirements we will return them to you for correction. It is crucial that you get your accounts to us well before the filing deadline as you will not be given any extra time if they are rejected.
16. Can I submit accounts in any language?
If you prepare accounts in a language other than English, you must also send with them a certified translation into English. If the registered office of the company is situated in Wales however you need only send the Welsh accounts if you so choose. Companies may also send voluntary certified translations. You may only send certified voluntary translations in an official language of the European Union and you must also send with them with a completed Form VT01.