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Companies House no common sense?

Have Companies House appeals staff no common sense or are they just tied up by the rules

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I have recently had a set of accounts rejected because I had spelled the directors name as "Brian" and not the correct name "Bryan". I changed the one letter and resubmitted but this now exceeded the deadline and generated an automatic late filing penalty. I appealed the penalty on the grounds that everything else in the accounts remained unchanged as per the previousley submitted version filed ontime. Companies House have rejected my appeal as the accepted version was late and the reason does not fall into one of their categories for not collecting penalties.

I accept that technically they may be correct, however all because one letter was spelled wrong it seems very harsh to impose a £150 penalty. Have they really got no authority to withdraw this? I dont really think that when the late filing penalty rules were written onto the Companies Act, they were intended to cover a one letter spelling error and the common sense approach would be to withdraw the penalty on this occasion.

Has anyone else suffered this bureacratic attitude from them?


Replies (18)

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By Peter Kilvington
25th Jun 2019 12:25

Have some sympathy with both sides of this one.

From Companies House point of view, how could Brian sign Bryan's accounts ... from your point of view how could Bryan not notice that Brian had signed his accounts?

I do not think you will get anywhere in reversing the penalty but best of luck.

Thanks (1)
By Mr_awol
25th Jun 2019 12:31

I'm amazed that they noticed to be honest - but it's been many years since they took away the informal extension for second filing of rejected I'm not surprised that having picked up the error they rejected the appeal.

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By Vaughan Blake1
25th Jun 2019 12:33

I used to wonder if the staff got a bonus for each set of accounts they rejected. Then you see some of the poor quality stuff that is filed and wonder why that wasn't rejected.

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By Matrix
25th Jun 2019 12:43

Do you mean that these were paper copies? File online and then you know straightaway if they are accepted or rejected and I doubt anyone checks the name. Also leave plenty of time, get rid of clients who make you file at the 11th hour.

It is scary how no one reviews anything before signing.

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Replying to Matrix:
25th Jun 2019 20:29

Yes these were filed online but it took CH two days to reject them!

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By Wanderer
25th Jun 2019 12:47

Once had a set of Abbreviated accounts for XYZ Limited rejected on the grounds that the wrong company name was shown.

Couldn't really work it out but then saw someone at CH had penciled 05593647 on the accounts before returning them!

Rubbed that out, sent them back and this time they were accepted.

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Replying to Wanderer:
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Jun 2019 13:46

Before I did online filing, I had A Limited rejected a few times on the basis it was registered as A Ltd

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
By Wanderer
25th Jun 2019 13:55

Funny thing is my experience was opposite. Regularly (always?) had accounts just accepted with that 'mistake' when filed on paper .

Since online filing the software warns you of it so we've just updated to match the format of Ltd / Limited as at CH.

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By Chris.Mann
25th Jun 2019 22:57

I gather that a certain Irish airline has a similar charging procedure, for spelling mistakes.

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By legerman
25th Jun 2019 23:26

Have you taken it all the way to the independent adjudicator? I would, even if you lose, make them work for their £150!

Several years ago my client got a penalty for late filing, even though I had filed (or so I thought) 2 or 3 days before the deadline. Unfortunately the client was away for two weeks in the latter part of the next month, so by the time he was notified, we were into the second month.

I had internet logs but unfortunately not the submission code, so obviously they hadn't been received at the other end. I was a bit green round the gills then, so hadn't spotted I had no code. I pursued it to the bitter end, but they wouldn't budge.

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By Small accountant
26th Jun 2019 17:57

Had a set rejected as a full stop was missing and they counted it as a spelling mistake.
Last minute accounts so no, CoHo didn't reject for 2 days by which time the filing deadline had passed. They don't accept or reject immediately and unlike the rest of us they don't seem to work Saturday or Sunday so it can take even longer.

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By c1anp
28th Jun 2019 10:10

I have just had a set of accounts rejected because we used the word 'and' in the company name, rather than '&' - so I share your frustration !!

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Replying to c1anp:
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By thevaliant
28th Jun 2019 16:10

Got the same in 2016. Chap on the phone explained they were now enforcing any deviation (And and ampersand, Ltd and Limited) and not to do it again.

Appealed and they accepted this and withdrew the penalty but with a 'don't do it again' letter.

Haven't done it since. Now everything goes in exactly matching what Companies House says.

Thanks (1)
By dmmarler
28th Jun 2019 10:40

Correct names are essential, particularly now everything is computerised. When you check for directorships at Companies House there are clearly duplicate directors which have been set up as the director simply had a different address and dropped one of his/her first names. The records then do not tie up. I am sure that as part of AML they will be tightening everything up further. Similarly company names .. I had some with commas in .. .. ..

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By Justin Bryant
28th Jun 2019 11:18

If you read cases like that below you cannot really blame CH for being fussy re names.

BTW, how on earth has this post generated so many viewing hits so quickly (almost 2,300 as at today after just 3 days)?

[Edit] The viewing hits have gone up 50 in the last 10 minutes. Something fishy going on methinks.

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By Shafeen
28th Jun 2019 13:27

Weird lot. Contacted Companies House to point out that the comparative figures shown by an ex-clients new accountants bore no resemblance to the original figures. They were not interested. Duh!!

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By Duggimon
28th Jun 2019 14:01

Companies House are a public repository for statutory accounts for limited companies.

They have an obligation to ensure that the accounts are filed for the entities that are registered with them, so the company name, address, number and director details have to match their records.

They are not responsible and not interested in ensuring the correctness of accounts, only that they match the company's registration details they hold.

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By sarahjaneuk
02nd Jul 2019 15:58

I've been dealing with Companies House for almost 40 years (my Uncle had a small business similar to Dun & Bradstreet when I was younger and I worked for them and spent many time ordering microfiche of company accounts at CH when it was at Old Street) and this does not surprise me in the slightest. I have also had my own share of stupid, time-wasting, unnecessary battles over the years with them when I was a company secretary.
They rarely show any common sense in these sort of situations and their ethos has never changed.
Whilst I understand the need for information to be accurate and yet (as someone who's business is in IT), it is hardly difficult to create software to always pick up these sort of common mistakes at time of filing and correct them or at least warn the filer).

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