The strange thing about an annual return

Author: Russell Smith
October 5, 2015

There are plenty of ways to get fined by Companies House and HMRC. The steepest fine is for £5,000 for late submission of an annual return.

Every limited company has to do an annual return every year on the company’s anniversary.

It isn’t a difficult task, it just involves confirming director details, shareholder details and registered office details. Any changes in the year to these and to any shareholding must be disclosed on an annual return.

The strange thing is that the fine is totally disproportionate to the level of work involved on the annual return. Also, I have personally never seen a £5,000 fine enforced.

Even stranger is the letter that will arrive at your door requesting that you do an annual return looks like a letter that says you have missed the deadline and forgotten to do it altogether. This is the letter with a big red box that talks about a £5,000 fine. At our firm, we have tell our clients that this letter is coming so that they know we are on it and it is not a surprise because if you’d read the letter you would have thought you had done something wrong.

If you then do not submit annual return, the letter that you get telling you that the annual return is overdue is way more softer than the original letter telling you that you had to do it. Gone is any reference to the £5,000 reference even though you haven’t filed it.

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