I am not too worried about filing late at Companies House. Should I be?

Yes you should. Although prosecutions are rare it is an offence, and furthermore, it is not responsible. Late filing can affect the reputations of the companies and people concerned. If you were a bank manager, would you be inclined to lend money to a company that did not fulfil its filing obligations?

What are the compliance rates for filing on time at Companies House?

In November 2008 94.4% of companies were not in arrears in filing accounts at Companies House, 90.7% of companies (based on a sample) filed their accounts on time. It is likely that the increase in the late filing penalties in February 2009 will have caused an improvement in these figures. In the same month, 89.9% of companies were not in arrears in filing the annual return, but (based on a sample) 64.0% of companies filed the annual return on time.

Our accountant looks after most things. Is it his responsibility to get everything necessary to Companies House?

No it is not. The accountant is the hired help and the responsibility remains with the company's officers. In most cases the signature of a company officer is required, though an accountant can prepare documents for signature and send them to Companies House after they have been signed.

To what extent does Companies House verify information supplied to it?

Companies House does not verify the information supplied to it, a fact that sometimes causes surprise. It is the job of the Registrar to register information supplied, not to check it. A moments thought will show that checking anything other than a minute amount would be an impossible job. Companies House checks that all forms submitted to it contain an entry in all boxes that should have an entry, and it may spot that something is seriously incomplete. It may, for example, reject a set of accounts with a missing profit and loss account.

What is the relationship between the Registrar of Companies and Companies House?

The Act and certain other Acts require companies and their officers to deliver information to the Registrar. Companies House is not mentioned, but in practice the terms are virtually interchangeable. There is a Registrar of Companies for England and Wales, a Registrar for Scotland and a Registrar for Northern Ireland. The three Registrars have distinct legal responsibilities. The Registrar of Companies for England and Wales is Chief Executive of Companies House which operates in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Which are the most commonly used forms?

The most commonly used forms are the ones relating to the appointment, termination and change of circumstances of the directors and company secretary. The annual return is (for obvious reasons) commonly used and the form to notify a change in the registered office is also frequently used.

What is the logic of the numbering system of the Companies House forms?

Prior to 1st October 2009 the numbering system was based on the sections of the 1985 Companies Act from which the form was derived. This practice has ceased but the wording on the forms identifies the relevant section of the 2006 Act.

There is now an alpha numeric system. AP for example relates to Appointment. AP01 is for Appointment of director and AP02 is for Appointment of corporate director. Some forms have a suffix to identify the relevant part of the United Kingdom. For example, 's' means Scotland. The explanation of the alpha abbreviations is as follows:

AA Accounts or Change of Accounting Reference Dates

AD Change of RO Address, SAIL, etc

AP Appointment

AR Annual Return

AS Amendment of Statutes CC Change of Constitution CH Change of Appointment Details CV Conversion

DQ Disqualified Directors (further information may be required)

DS Dissolution Documents

DT Draft Terms

FM Formation

HC Housing Corporation

IC Investment Company change

IN Incorporation documents

LQ Liquidation, Insolvency, Receivership etc

MG Mortgage Documents

NE Name Ending Change

NM Change of Company Name

RP Registrar Powers

RR Re-Registration Documents

RT Restoration Documents

SH Share Documents

SR Secure Register

TM Termination of appointments

TR Transfer

VT Voluntary Translation WU Winding up

How can I contact Companies House?

Companies House has three offices as follows:

Offices in England and Wales

Crown Way, Maindy, Cardiff CF14 3UZ Tel: 0303 1234 500

21 Bloomsbury Street, London WC1B 3XD Tel: 0303 1234 500

Office in Scotland

4th Floor, Edinburgh Quay 2, 139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9FF Tel: 0303 1234 500

Office in Northern Ireland

1st Floor, Waterfront Plaza, 8 Lagan Bank Road, Belfast BT1 3BS Tel: 0303 1234 500

Companies incorporated in England and Wales must file at Cardiff. Companies incorporated in Scotland must file at Edinburgh. Companies incorporated in Northern Ireland must file at Belfast.

Companies House website is companieshouse.gov.uk

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