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Filing of company accounts and Companies House late filing penalties

Filing of company accounts and Companies House late filing penalties

Companies are automatically fined if accounts are not submitted to Companies House on time.

Accounts should normally be filed:

  • for a private company - nine months after the company's accounting reference date;
  • for public companies - within six months of the company's accounting reference date.

The period for filing the company’s first accounts are:

  • for a private company - 21 months after the date of incorporation; and
  • for a public company - 19 months after the date of incorporation.

The current filing penalties are as follows:

Length of delay, based on the filing date

Private company

Public company

Not more than one month



More than one month but not more than three months



More than three months but not more than six months



More than six months



These penalties double for any company which also filed late in the previous year. In this circumstance that could result in a maximum fine of £3,000 for a private limited company filing more than six months after the filing deadline.

The Registrar of Companies will automatically issue an invoice where accounts are filed late and these are sent to the company’s registered office.

You may appeal a penalty for late filing of accounts with Companies House but it will only be successful if you can show that the circumstances are exceptional!

The Registrar has limited discretion not to collect a penalty. It may be applied when an unforeseen catastrophe strikes a company at a critical time; for instance, a personal tragedy affecting a sole director immediately before a filing deadline or a fire destroying records a few days before time runs out.

The Registrar lists the following reasons that are not considered exceptional:

  • My accounts were delayed or lost in the post
  • My company is dormant
  • My company or its officers have financial difficulties (including bankruptcy)
  • I cannot afford to pay
  • You did receive them on time but they were rejected
  • Another director is responsible for preparing the accounts
  • My accountant was ill
  • I relied on my accountant
  • These are my first accounts
  • I am not familiar with the filing requirements
  • This is a flat management company
  • I was abroad on business or on holiday
  • I am a sole director
  • I did not receive a reminder notice