Companies House has urged businesses to file their accounts online to avoid lengthy delays and potential fines.
The notice comes ahead of the busy festive period, when thousands of incorporated businesses are due to file company accounts before the end of the month.
According to the report, Companies House staff continue to work in line with coronavirus guidelines, which means it could take longer than usual to process paper documents sent by post.
To avoid delays, businesses have been told to instead file their accounts online. The digital portal is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and features inbuilt checks to help firms avoid mistakes.
Companies House says it takes “as little as 15 minutes” to file accounts online, and you’ll benefit from knowing that your accounts have been delivered on time as they will confirm when they have received and registered your documents.
Those new to online filing will need a company authentication code. This may take up to five days to arrive at the company’s registered office, so businesses should register as soon as possible.
Some accounting software providers also feature built-in Companies House online filing functionality. You can use this list to check if your software is compatible.
Commenting on the notice, Companies House said: “You should only send paper accounts if your company cannot file online. Accounts filed on paper need to be manually checked and processed by our teams during office opening hours.
“If you need to file your accounts on paper, you should send them to us well before the deadline. This will give you plenty of time to correct your accounts and resend them if they are rejected. You should also consider using a guaranteed next day delivery, but we cannot accept postal delays as an excuse for filing late.
“It’s the directors’ responsibility to file a company’s accounts. You could get a criminal record, a fine and disqualification if you do not deliver your accounts on time.”
Businesses can use this link to file their accounts online.
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