file annual accounts to companies house

How to File Company Accounts to Companies House

As a business owner, it's crucial to understand the importance of filing your company accounts on time. Not only is it a legal requirement by Companies House, but it also ensures that your business is running efficiently and profitably. In this blog post, we will take you through the entire process of filing company accounts to Companies House. From understanding why you need to file company accounts, components of company accounts, preparing company accounts for small enterprises, company accounts filing deadlines, to submitting your company accounts online.


Chris Andreou

What are Company Accounts?

Company accounts, also known as financial documents or records, prepared at the end of the fiscal year that provide a summary of a company's financial performance and position over the accounting period. Company accounts include full statutory accounts and your company tax return.

These statements offer insights into the economic activities and financial health of a business, serving as essential tools for both internal management and external stakeholders.

Understanding the Need to File Company Accounts

Proper compliance with legal requirements necessitates the accurate filing of company accounts. Maintaining financial transparency is also a key factor in filing these accounts. Accurate company accounts provide valuable insights into a business's financial position and aid in assessing tax liability.

Timely filing of company accounts is crucial to avoid substantial penalties. Filing company accounts is not only a legal obligation but also an essential practice for any business seeking financial stability and accountability.

Who Needs to File Company Accounts?

All below listed companies must file annual accounts:

  • Small Companies
  • Private Limited Companies (Ltd)
  • Public Limited Companies (PLC)
  • Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
  • Guarantee Companies
  • Micro-Entities
  • Charities and Non-Profit Organisations

No matter what your financial status is, whether you've been successful, breaking even, not trading, or dormant, all the limited companies must submit company accounts to the Companies House.

What Do Company Accounts Contain?

  • Balance Sheet (or Statement of Company’s Financial Position)
  • Profit and Loss Statement (or Income Statement)
  • Director’s Report
  • Notes to the Financial Statements
  • Auditor's Report (if applicable)

These company accounts components are essential for accurate record keeping, compliance with legal requirements, and providing transparency to stakeholders.

Filing Company Accounts: What classifies as a Micro entity?

Your company will be classified as micro-entity and file micro-entity accounts if it satisfies 2 of the following conditions:

  • your turnover does not exceed £632,000
  • your balance sheet does not exceed £316,000
  • you have no more than 10 employees

Micro-entities can submit even simpler accounts than smaller companies that just require to meet minimum statutory requirements and only need to send their balance sheet to Companies House. Both the small companies and micro entities can take benefit of audit exemption.

Filing Company Accounts: What classifies as a Small Company?

You company will be classified as small company if it satisfies 2 of the below conditions:

  • your turnover is less than £10.2 million
  • your balance sheet is less than £5.1 million
  • you have fewer than 50 employees

Small companies can submit simplified version of their company’s accounts (abridged accounts) and do not require a directors’ report or a profit and loss account.

When Do I Need to File My Company Accounts?

Each company has an accounting reference date and deadline for filing accounts can be calculated from this date. For new companies, it is the anniversary of the last day in the month in which the company was incorporated. For existing companies, it is the anniversary of the day after the previous financial year is ended.

How to Submit Company Accounts?

The quick and easy way to file company accounts is online. Simply register for online filing and use any of the accounting software available which can be uses to prepare and file annual accounts.

For small companies and micro entities, use Company accounts and tax online (CATO) service to submit accounts both to the companies house and HMRC.

Most businesses use the online service to file their company’s tax return and accounts with HMRC. You’ll need your Government Gateway ID and password – if you do not have one, first time service users can create one. Along with HMRC, you can also choose to file your accounts with Companies House, and for that, you will need your Companies House password and authentication code.

There is also an option for prepare company accounts on paper and submit them to Companies House, but HMRC recommends online filing over paper filing as it takes longer to process.

Company Accounts Filing Deadline

Different companies has different company accounts deadlines. Filing company accounts to Companies House is determined by the date of business registration. All the new businesses must file their first accounts within 21 months after company registration or 3 months from the accounting reference date - whichever is longer. The deadline for company accounts filing for existing businesses is 9 months after the company's financial year ends.

Companies House Late Filing Penalties

Failing to submit accounts on time incurs penalties, and the level of penalties depends on the duration of the delay.

Length of period (measured from the date the accounts are due) Penalty for a private company or LLP Penalty for a public company
Not more than 1 month
£150 £750
More than 1 month but not more than 3 months £375 £1,500
More than 3 months but not more than 6 months £750 £3,000
More than 6 months £1,500 £7,500

If a company files accounts late for 2 consecutive years, the penalty will be doubled.

How to File Accounts for a Dormant Company

Every year, all limited companies, whether actively trading or not, must submit their annual accounts and a confirmation statement to Companies House. This requirement includes dormant companies as well.

A company is deemed 'dormant' when it is not engaged in business activities and has no other sources of income, such as investments. It's important to understand that the definition of 'dormant' varies for Corporation Tax, Company Tax Returns, and a company's annual filings with Companies House.

Once a company informs HMRC that it is dormant, it is not obligated to pay Corporation Tax or file another Company Tax Return unless specifically instructed to do so. However, even if a limited company is dormant for Corporation Tax purposes, it must still fulfill its obligation to file a confirmation statement and annual accounts with Companies House.

Companies House classifies a company as 'dormant' if it has not undertaken any 'significant accounting transactions' during the accounting period. These transactions do not include:

  • Filing fees paid to Companies House
  • Penalties for late filing of accounts
  • Initial money paid for shares during incorporation.

As long as no such transactions have occurred, the company can attain dormant status. If a dormant company also qualifies as 'small,' it has the option to submit 'dormant accounts' without including an auditor's report.

Rachel Roberts, head of compliance and enforcement for Companies House, clarifies that it’s the responsibility of the directors to run the company, ensure the proper preparation, and timely file company accounts and reports.

While a dormant company may not be actively conducting business, directors must remember that filing annual accounts and submitting confirmation statements to Companies House remains a legal requirement, even if the company has no intention of engaging in business activities or generating income.

How GoForma Can Help in Filing Your Company Accounts?

For limited companies with multiple directors or complex accounting needs, it can seem like a daunting task and it is advisable to consult a professional small business accountant who can ensure compliance with UK accounting standards and legal requirements.

They provide expert advice on handling tax returns, corporation tax, and financial statements, helping businesses make the right decisions.

Experience a hassle-free journey in filing your company accounts with GoForma's expert assistance. Our experienced limited company accountants provide expert guidance, ensuring accuracy and regulatory adherence. Benefit from timely submissions, streamlined processes, and comprehensive support at every step.

Partner with GoForma for a stress-free and personalised approach to filing your company accounts.


Can I prepare my own limited company accounts?

Yes, you can do your own company accounts however, most limited companies hire an expert accountant to manage their business finances. Hiring a good accountant helps you meet legal requirements and avoid penalties. Note that, even if you hire an accountant, company directors are legally responsible for company accounts filing.

Can I Post My Annual Accounts to Companies House?

Certainly, apart from the online filing method, companies can choose to submit paper documents by post for their annual accounts. When opting for postal submission, it's essential to ensure that your accounts reach Companies House by the filing deadline to avoid late filing penalties.

Companies House recommends allowing a minimum of five working days for your documents to be received by post. It is good idea to send them well in advance of the filing deadline to ensure timely submission.

Explore more of our company tax filing deadline guides