Top 8 poor excuses for late payment submission
Within nine months of the end of your business’s financial year, you’ll need to file full statutory annual accounts with Companies House. This goes for all limited companies in the UK and there are very few excuses you can use for missing this deadline.
Companies House will only ever allow extensions to the nine month deadlines if:
- You apply for more time before you reach the filing deadline, or
- An event out of your control prevents you from sending your accounts on time.
Please bear in mind that if you should make an appeal for the latter, this will need to be completely truthful, believable, and be approved by Companies House themselves.
Some businessowners have been known to get a little creative with their reasons for missing the submission deadline, as you can see below.
Here are just some of the most bizarre appeals given to Companies House – as published on the official gov.uk website.“Goats ate my accounts”
Sticking with a classic from the old school days, this businessowner decided to shake up the traditional “my dog ate my homework” routine and opt for a goat instead. This somehow feels harder to swing by Companies House and, sure enough, it didn’t work.
“I found my wife in the bath with my accountant”
This one is a little easier to believe, and we really feel for this businessowner. If their story is true, it’s easy to see how sitting down together to arrange your accounts might be a little tense.
Should you find yourself unable to work with your current accountant, Panthera would be happy to come on board before your tax returns and accounts need to be filed (and we won’t try steal your spouse either!).
“Pirates stole my accounts”
We would pay good money to know the full story this businessowner decided to tell the government.
“We delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House”
We feel that “delivered” is the primary word to note here. What is the betting that this businessowner didn’t just spend the day watching the races on their way to file their accounts?
“A volcano erupted and prevented me from filing”
We’re assuming this late filer was outside of the UK on the deadline and had their flight delayed. If only there were some kind of internet-based system for private limited company directors to file their annual accounts with Companies House online.
“Slugs ate my accounts”
This is a bit more of a stretch than the goat but, if this is true, it is an incredibly unfortunate incident to occur before filing your accounts.
“It was Valentine’s Day”
A romantic at heart, this businessowner clearly put their important date night ahead of their obligation to file their accounts. We doubt this went down well with Companies House, but (especially if this is the same person as Excuse 2) let’s hope they at least got a second date.
“My company was more successful than I thought it would be, so I was too busy to file”
Managing a business at any stage or size can be a handful, but that doesn’t mean you get a free pass for missing strict submission deadlines. This businessowner got more than they bargained for, and likely a hefty penalty fine too.
Companies House have confirmed that all of the above appeals were unsuccessful in overturning their case, and every one of the businessowners were made to pay a late filing penalty fee.
The Senior Enforcement Manager at Companies House, Nick Parker, insist that company directors “must be aware” of their responsibilities when it comes to filing their annual accounts. In fact, Companies House even send out email reminders to up to four registered email addresses in your company.
Parker went on to say that “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.”
This is why many companies choose to file their accounts electronically. This fast and convenient WebFiling service also has in-built checks to ensure you provide all of the relevant information before you’re able to submit it. You’ll even be sent an automatic email to confirm your accounts have been received, then another to let you know if they have been accepted.
Filing your annual accounts late can be an expensive risk to take. The amount you are made to pay in penalties will depend on how late your accounts were submitted and the status of your company.
For a private limited company, the penalty structure for late submissions is as follows:
Time after deadline
Up to 1 month
1 to 3 months
3 to 6 months
Over 6 months
There are also other, more vanilla answers that could get you into trouble with Companies House should you miss the submission deadline for filing your accounts.
These include stating that:
- You are unable to pay,
- Your company is dormant,
- It is not your fault (e.g. blaming your accountant),
- You weren’t sure how or when to file your accounts,
- Your accounts must have been delayed or lost in the post, or
- The company directors live or were travelling outside of the UK.
If you file your accounts late and use any of these as an excuse, you will still be required to pay the penalty fees.
The best way to protect your company against hefty late fees is to prepare your accounts in advance. Your dedicated Panthera accountant is on hand to organise all of your accounts throughout the year and submit your documents to Companies House for you – so you never miss a deadline again.
Talk to the team today on 01235 768 561 or drop us an email to email@example.com – we’ll be back in touch with you shortly.