Valuable Business

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What to File at Companies House and How

David Norris

ex-Partner @ Forward Partners

All UK Limited Companies are registered at Companies House. If you are a Director of a company, you are responsible for ensuring that you file the following at Companies House.

1/ Annual accounts

Also known as statutory accounts, they consist of

  • a profit and loss account
  • a balance sheet
  • a directors’ report
  • an auditors’ report
  • and notes about the accounts

However, most startups will be categorised as a "Small company" and can file abbreviated accounts consisting of:

  • a balance sheet
  • notes about the accounts

According to the UK's Companies Act 2006 , to be classified as a Small Company, you need to satisfy two or more of the following criteria;

  • does not have a turnover of more than £6.5million
  • does not have a balance sheet gross assets total of more than £3.26 million
  • does not have more than 50 employees

Annual accounts must be filed with Companies House every year within 9 months of the company’s financial year-end. Companies House provides notification of this date but it is normally the anniversary of the last day of the month in which the company was incorporated. (Note: on the 1st year however, the deadline might be slightly earlier - it's best to double check with Companies House to be sure) You can extend an accounting period if need be (up to 18 months) in order to change your financial year end for the future. e.g. Say you incorporated in October, your first accounting period could be to the end of December the following year and that means your accounts would run January to December thereafter.


2/ Annual returns

An annual return provides Companies House with details of

  • the registered office address
  • what your company does - including its standard industrial classification (SIC) codes, you can have up to 4 SIC codes
  • SAIL address (Single Alternative Inspection Location) - this is where you keep your records if they are not held at your registered address
  • Directors
  • Company secretary (if one is appointed)
  • share capital and shareholders

The date for this return is usually the anniversary of the incorporation date and you'll receive a letter to your registered address around that date giving you a month to complete your return. Note: you can be fined up to £5,000 and your company struck off if you don’t send Companies House your annual return.


3/ Changes to company details

If there are any changes to a company's details, Companies House must be notified immediately. The only exception being shareholder information – this is only required as part of the annual return. Changes that must be notified within 14 days;

  • change of registered address
  • changes to Directors or their personal details, (e.g. their address)
  • company secretaries (appointing a new one or ending an existing one’s appointment)

Changes that must be notified within 30 days

  • changes to share capital or shareholders


How to file

All of the changes above can be filed online using the WebFiling service.

David Norris

ex-Partner @ Forward Partners

Scaleup operations expert, ex-COO of HouseTrip, Bookable and IOVOX, previously eCommerce and Website Operations Director at Expedia.

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