London businesses worst for filing late accounts at Companies House

London and Birmingham are the worst areas in the country for filing accounts late with over 200,000 UK companies facing fines for non-compliance for missing the Companies House deadline

The latest figures from Companies House show that 223,640 companies filed accounts late in 2018, up 2% from 2017 when 218,884 companies filed late, and representing 5.3% of total filers.

At the end of March 2019, there were 4,202,044 companies on the register, up 4.2% on the previous year's 4,033,355, but the number of company dissolutions topped 500,000, the largest number since the financial crash in 2009. Back in 2010, there were only 2.6m registered companies.

The surge in late filing resulted in a record number of fines being handed out, with the worst offenders fined penalties of up to £7,500 where accounts were more than six months late.

Companies that fail to file accounts with Companies House on time receive a late filing penalty, which ranges from £150 for a private company or limited liability partnership (LLP) if the accounts are only a month late to a £7,500 fine for the largest companies if it exceeds six months.

Companies House has not confirmed the financial value of fines levied in the last 12 months as final figures are not released until the 2018/19 annual report and accounts, but the total revenue raised is likely to be up on 2016/17 figures as more companies missed the crucial deadline. During financial year 2016/17, total penalty revenue hit £93.7m, with 15% of penalties disputed at appeal.

The slowest filers were in London, where 56,180 companies filed late, followed by 6,363 in Birmingham and 5,177 in Manchester.

Top 10 areas in the UK for late accounts

Area

Late filing penalties

London

56,180

Birmingham

6,363

Manchester

5,177

Harrow

3,935

Belfast

3,844

Brighton

3,237

Glasgow

3,192

Reading

3,161

Guildford

2,850

Bristol

2,747

Other

132,954

Total

223,640

Senior enforcement manager at Companies House, Nick Parker, said: ‘It is interesting to see how these results vary across the country, but they should serve as a reminder to all companies and directors of their responsibility to file accounts with Companies House.

‘Most companies file accounts electronically as it is easier and faster, and our digital services have in-built checks to ensure that all the relevant information is provided before a customer can submit.

‘It also provides filers with automatic e-mail confirmation that accounts have been received and once they have been accepted for filing.’

Companies House penalty regime

Accounts delivered late

Penalty: Private company/LLP

Penalty: PLC

< 1 month

£150

£750

> 1 - 3 months

£375

£1,500

> 3 - 6 months

£750

£3,000

> 6 months

£1,500

£7,500

 
 
Report by Sara White | 18-07-19
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