It wasn’t me!

As much as I like to think I have a good relationship with most of my clients, I can categorically state I am not the accountant in Companies House’s favourite excuse for late filing of accounts. That excuse was a claim by a company director that they missed the accounts deadline because they found their accountant in the bath with their wife!!

As an accountant, I live a dull life, so I do look forward every year to HMRC giving out their best excuses for missing deadlines, and this year Companies House has joined the party and shared the best excuses they’ve received. So, what were they?

As well as the bathing accountant, the excuses included:

  • Somebody claimed that some pirates stole their accounts. [Which leads to my daughter’s favourite joke – “why are pirates called pirates? Because they arrrrrrrrrrh!”]
  • Lots of hungry animals – separately, goats and slugs were blamed for eating accounts.
  • The wrong address – “we delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House”
  • An amorous director had other things on their mind, saying they couldn’t file the accounts as it was Valentine’s Day
  • Someone was simply too successful and, therefore, too busy to file
  • And, obviously from someone not living in Liverpool at the time, one director claimed that an erupting volcano stopped them filing

As you can imagine, none of these excuses were accepted.

What excuses might be accepted?

According to Companies House, if you do want to appeal and get an extension to any deadline, you must prove the circumstances were both out of your control and made it impossible for you to meet the deadline. The example they give is a fire destroying your records a few days before the accounts were due.

They make it very clear that you can’t appeal because, for example, you simply can’t afford to pay. You also can’t appeal because it’s actually your accountant’s fault, or anybody else’s fault, or because you didn’t know when or how to file the accounts. It’s no excuse if your accounts were delayed or lost in the post, and it’s no excuse that you’re living overseas or even just traveling overseas. Because, ultimately, all of these are within your control in one way or another.

What happens if you are late?

If you are late, there’ll be a penalty. If you’re one minute late, you’ll be fined £150 pounds. The fines are:

  • Up to 1 month late – £150
  • 1 to 3 months late – £375
  • 3 to 6 Months late – £750
  • More than 6 months late – £1,500

These penalties are for private limited companies. It’s different if you’re a PLC.

If you’re a repeat offender, it does get worse. If you’re late for a second year running, the penalty is doubled. So, therefore, if you’re a minute late, it’ll be £300 and so on.

Overall, it is well worth getting your accounts in on time.

What are the deadlines?

Usually, once your year-end passes, the deadline to submit is nine months later. For example, if your year ends on the 31st of December, you’ve got until the 30th of September.

So there’s plenty of time to do it, even if you do find your accountant in the bath with your wife!

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Any questions?

If you’d like a meeting or a Skype call to discuss this, please get in touch with your favourite Liverpool accountant