What are the different ways of filing at Companies House?

The methods are as follows:

Delivery of documents by electronic filing

Most documents can be submitted online and Companies House plans to be able to accept everything online by 2010 or slightly later. Accounts are the biggest stumbling block and at the moment small and medium-sized company abbreviated accounts can be filed online, as can the unaudited accounts of dormant companies.


This provides a secure system for delivery of documents via the Companies House website. The service may be accessed via a WebFiling icon on the home page of the Companies House website. Companies must be registered to use the service and codes are issued by Companies House. Each transaction must be entered one at a time.

By post

This is still a common method of filing. Documents relating to companies incorporated in England and Wales should be posted to Cardiff, documents relating to companies incorporated in Scotland should be posted to Edinburgh and documents relating to companies incorporated in Northern Ireland should be posted to Belfast.

Hays document exchange

This is a way of delivering paper documents to Companies House. It is a competitor to Royal Mail and only available to those registered to use it.

By personal delivery or courier

This can be to the Cardiff, London, Edinburgh or Belfast offices.

Please give a summary of everything that a company must file at Companies House.

Information to be filed can be grouped as follows:

Accounts - All limited companies are required to file accounts.

Annual return - Every company must file an annual return every year.

Details of directors and the company secretary - This must be done on the appropriate forms.

Other forms - There are about 275 forms. The appropriate form must be filed if the applicable events occur. Most of the forms are never required by most companies.

Resolutions - All special resolutions must be filed at Companies House. Certain other resolutions must also be filed, but they are unlikely to be encountered by most directors and company secretaries.

Other information - Other Acts require that in certain circumstances information must be filed. For example, the report of an administrative receiver must be filed. This is the responsibility of the administrative receiver, not of the directors or the company secretary.

What are the time limits for filing at Companies House?

Filing is a legal requirement, not a voluntary activity, and it follows that there must be a time limit for everything. The main time limits are:

Accounts - A public company must file within six months of the accounting reference date. A private company must file within nine months of the accounting reference date. It is possible to apply to the Secretary of State for an extension of the period allowed. This is intended to cover serious and unforeseeable events, such as the death of an auditor or the destruction of key records in a fire. Application must be made before filing is overdue.

Annual return - It must be filed within 28 days of the date to which it is made up.

Details of directors and the company secretary - These forms must be filed within 14 days of the event.

Other forms - Limits vary, but many must be filed within 14 days.

Notifiable resolutions - 15 days.

Please give details of how electronic filing works.

In order to file electronically it is necessary to register for the purpose. All filing dispatched by electronic means must be authenticated by (or on behalf of) the company concerned, and this is done by means of an authentication code. This is a six-digit code, which may be chosen by the company and notified to Companies House. When a document has been approved for registration the sender will be informed. If a document is rejected for registration, the sender will be given the reasons and a contact telephone number. Rejected documents should be checked and amended, then resubmitted. This may be done electronically or in paper form.

Electronic transmission may normally be done 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, though the service may occasionally be withdrawn for maintenance activities, etc. The date that a document is received by Companies House counts as its delivery date for legal reasons, possible prosecutions, etc, provided of course that the document is in a form suitable for acceptance and registration. However, documents not received between 7.30 am and 6.30 pm will not be processed until the next working day.

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