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Accounts late at Companies House

Accounts late at Companies House

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New client with Accounts already late at Companies House.

Intention was to do these plus the following year and file the following year at Companies House. Companies House are now threatening the directors with criminal proceedings - has anyone had experience of this? Is there a way to now prevent the prosecution - the earliest set of Accounts could be filed in next couple of days (and would be less than 6 months late).


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By cathygrimmer
21st Jun 2012 12:06


Call Companies House. Apologise and tell them you'll file in a couple of days and they should postpone any action. I've seen much worse than 6 months late with no prosecution!


[email protected]


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By Roland195
21st Jun 2012 12:21

Annual Return

Are you sure it is not the annual return that CH have their knickers in a twist about?

They will move to stike a company off after a month or so for an outstanding Annual Return but accounts can be late by years with nothing from them but the odd letter.




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By aiwalters
21st Jun 2012 13:43


I've just has a new client come to me having already been prosecuted by Companies House for late accounts. He now has a criminal record, and is thus unable to apply for UK citizenship for at least another 5 years.

Take CH threats seriously. They are rare, but genuine!

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By cathygrimmer
21st Jun 2012 14:17

Yes - it is serious!

I wasn't for a moment suggesting that it wasn't serious. But a letter or email saying that Companies House have commenced proceedings doesn't necessarily, in my experience, mean those proceedings have to go anywhere. If you speak to them, they will put it on hold for a week, by which time the missing documents should be in and the whole proceedings thing will be dropped (but not the financial penalty, obviously!). I have been told by Companies House that nothing happens for a bit when that first threat of proceedings go out - it is, initially, just to scare the directors/LLP members into getting up-to-date. But ignore it at your peril!



[email protected]


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By EW110
21st Jun 2012 14:53

Thank you for the responses.

Yes it related to Accounts, the Annual Return was uptodate.  As suggested I've rung them and if they have Accounts by end of the week then no further action but otherwise prosecution will go ahead.

I was surprised that this action was being taken so quickly but looks like they are now using their powers much earlier. 

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21st Jun 2012 22:02

Prosecuting solicitor

Have Companies House referred the case to the prosecuting solicitor? It seems that once they have referred it, the prosecuting solicitor will give you one more chance before commencing actual legal action. Please note that once actual proceedings have started you will need to attend court even if the accounts have been submitted. You cannot plead not guilty as you are being prosecuted for late accounts and the fact is that the accounts were late. The only way to avoid a criminal record is to have a good reason for the lateness that would be acceptable to the court.

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By kenny achampong
22nd Jun 2012 14:58

This is all very surprising to me. The letters regarding overdue accounts say:-

"If you are content to be removed from the register there is no need to respond to this notice. In this case a notice of intention to remove the company will be published in the London Gazette"

And I've just let that happen dozens of times just to save the client a tenner for the striking off fee, and there's never been any kind of problem at all.

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By trecar
29th Jun 2012 14:02

Been there with regard to a dormant company's AR, some years back. Got the letter, spoke to the legal department who said 'tough, turn up at the court in Cardiff and make your pleas'. So I would say they are not amenable. Got the fine and criminal record to prove it. Though I now have the pleasure of going for them when ever I like as they have used the ultimate sanction. Was threatened with a criminal record by them later over another company when I phoned to clarify filing that had been submitted but had not apparently been received. They were speechless when I reacted that it was hardly something to worry about as they had already given me a record. I signed off by telling them how stupid they were to issue criminal proceedings over a dormant company and that I certainly didn't consider them capable of making anything approaching sane decisions. It was lovely getting my own back,but hardly worth the record. So my advice do the filing even if you are not happy with the accounts. I believe you can go back and submit revised accounts later.

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By Saskatoon77
01st Jul 2012 00:17

Companies House stating solicitor action to prosecute

I had a letter this morning stating the Solicitor will commence proceedings against me to convict me and a possible fine of up to £5000


My business is Dormant since it was created in Feb 2012.  This would have been my first annual return and was keeping it in a dormant state for now.  This all started in January when I knew this return was due on 9th February 2012 - I contacted my accountant who has always been super reliable and  ultra trustworthy in my affairs and acts on my behalf with no problems.  I have used him for over 10 years in my self assesments, and socialised with him and his family and friends on ocassions.  He said he would get them done asap (mid January 2012)  He definitely had my login in details and has authority to act as my agent with hmrc and Companies House.  He had security code and authentication code from when he set my Limited Company up for me again with no issues.

The he had a suddent marital split from his partner and just dropped off the earth?  He just could not be contacted by phone, email, Facebook and partner did not know where he was.  He had a senior accounting job with a large company in Portsmouth and had left work sick.

A month later he turned back up back at his partners and said he would give it another go (by now it's end of Feb 2012 so late by 20 odd days)  He said he would get it sorted once again.  At this point he was putting my self-employed accounts together for hmrc for my other job.  I paid him £100 to do my tax return and a further drink of £30 to file my return with Companies House.

I assumed he had done it until I got really snooty letter reminding me that he hadn't filed it. (we are now in 17 May 2012) - I tried calling him and getting hold of him in the usual ways - and turns out he had split again with his partner - but now he was invloved in odd court cases with partners children etc...that's another saga.

My accountant called me out of the blue one morning asking for money which I had already paid him so I went a met him because he basically threatened my wife on her personal mobile not mine and I wasn't having it.  He says it was not enough so I foolishly agreed to top it up but only because he was hanging out with the local celebraty clamper in Portsmouth who you can google (Common knowledge that Gordon Miller in Portsmouth clamping police cars) and is a very nasty bit of work indeed.  This where his total character had changed. hanging with this idiot!  He he started smoking and looked a total mess and had lost his £50k job in Portsmouth.  His facebook account was going totally bonkers so I barred him.  However he contacted me in later weeks apologising for his antics. 

He then turns back up at a new address with a new woman and looked totally settled and back with it and set an office up in Tangiers Road in Portsmouth.  He then called Companies House to get Authentication codes again as they were left at his office in now ex-partner's house.  So like an idiot and against my wife's wishes reluctantly paid him another £20 for him to complete filing my return.  Coincidentaly he contacted Companies House on the very same day I had called them when I reacted to the next reminder letter.   Companies House told me to get new codes to authorise my online account and to file myself.  The letter turned up and I relayed them to my accountant - he said no problems and during the next week said it was done.  So I had again assumed he has done it.

This morning 30 June 2012 - I have another letter from Companies House saying I have still failed to complete the return despite letter dated 17 May 2012?  and they are about to instruct their solicitor to prosecute and may incure a fine of up to £5000 and costs!  I am now really upset and very angry!  My accountant will not answer his phones again and totally dissappeared once again?

I called another friend with a business as I am no expert at this affair  - I am heading down to him on Sunday 1 July 2012 tomorrow and like an idiot once again pay for the third time to do same return online.  I have emailed the lady at Companies House today again to apologise and try and explain - but this probably sounds like a tall story?  When I catch up with GB my accountant at the Tax Specialist in Portsmouth I am going to ring his neck let me tell you.  I left messages on his answer machine today saying thanks for the prosecution and fine!!!

Any thoughts on what is likely to happen to me?  I agree with Companies House that I had ample chance to file it - but there were periods of thinking he had done my accounts and returns - I am going to call Inland Revenue on Monday to check he completed my self-assesment?  I bet he hasn't although he gave me the profit figure (but this makes me think why would I not trust his ability and word on the Companies House debarcle)

Thanks David - Portsmouth area




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By DMGbus
01st Jul 2012 13:38

Saskatoon77 PM | Sun, 01/07/2012 - 00:17

If as you say, company was formed as of Feb 2012 and is dormant then there's no filings due.

If it was a mistype and Ltd Co was formed Feb 2011 and has been dormant since then looks like easy to sort out with Companies House using the online filing codes...

1. - File annual return (pay Companies House £14 online filing fee) just complete details as to shareholders and directors (ever so easy)

2. - File dormant company accounts if no transactions, or instead file online .pdf if some transactions have took place.  Date accounts drawn upto likely to be 29 Feb 2012 (but check on this).  Good news is no profit/loss account required - just a Balance Sheet (being figures at a specified point in time, in this case quite likely 29th Feb 2012).  If has been dormant might be only TWO figures to quote - cash in hand and share capital (equivalent figures).  If as you say "dormant" then there'd be no figures to quote Fixed Assets, no Debtors, No bank a/c, no Creditors, no Provisions.


Turning to personal Self Assessment "you get what you pay for" (sometimes).   Inference from your information is that your self-assessment tax return to include yourself as a sole trader is at a fee of  just £150.   This is cheap!  Very cheap!    If current advisor can't deal with things then get your information to a new advisor ASAP (expect to pay a lot more though!).  

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