Companies House has updated the guidance on how it assesses penalty appeals made by businesses for the late filing of accounts, with the changes coming into effect from 1 October.
The late-filing penalties manual now has a revised policy for accounts which are being rejected but have not been received by the company or presenter. Current rejection rates for online filings are 0.5%, while 6% of paper filed accounts fail to get through the approval process.
Companies House says it will no longer exercise discretion where it has rejected accounts in sufficient time, but they have not been received by the company or presenter. This is because filers are responsible for making sure documents are delivered for registration in an acceptable electronic or paper format.
Under the new rules, the processing time for paper documents has been extended from five to eight days, which Companies House says reflects its internal processing target for paper documents more accurately.
This means that in future, if Companies House takes longer than eight working days to examine and reject paper accounts, it may decide not to collect any resulting penalty.
Companies House is encouraging businesses to file their accounts online, saying this is quicker to complete and register as it can take around 10 days to process paper accounts at peak times.
The online process also lowers the risk of getting a penalty, as companies receive electronic confirmation that Companies House has received the accounts and if they have been accepted or rejected.