BusinessCompany NewsMore pressure as late filing penalties rise

More pressure as late filing penalties rise

Financial penalties for late filing of accounts are to rise, putting more pressure on struggling businesses

The financial penalties for paying late are set to rise sharply from next
year, heaping more misery on struggling businesses.

Late-filing penalties for accounts and reports (for financial years beginning
on or after 6 April 2008) filed before 1 February 2009 start at £100 for private
companies and £500 for plcs filing accounts up to three months late. Penalties
for reports filed after 1 February 2009 will rise to £150 for private comp-anies
and £750 for public businesses.

But the lowest penalty will now only apply to accounts filed up to one month
late. There is a new band of charges for filing between one and three months
late: £375 for private companies and £1,500 for public.

Penalties for the three to six month band have been tripled, with private
companies facing a charge of £750 and plcs £3,000.

When filing more than six months late, companies will be liable for a charge
of £1,500 if private, or £7,500 if public, compared to £500 and £2,000
previously.

To compound the situation, penalties are doubled if accounts and returns for
financial years beginning on or after 6 April 2008 are filed late in two
successive years.

Late filings of accounts have surged by 25% in the four years to March 2008.
Last year 238,699 Brit-ish companies filed late accounts, which can be taken as
a yardstick for the health of businesses in general, according to recent
figures.

On top of the penalty hikes, changes to the Companies Act 2006 reduce the
time allowed to submit accounts for periods beginning on or after 6 April 2008
by one month. First accounts for private companies must be filed within 21
months of the date of incorporation or nine months for subsequent accounts.
First accounts for public companies must be filed within 18 months of the date
of incorporation or six months for subsequent accounts.

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