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I'd like to know if anyone else has experienced any problems filing accounts with Companies House.

 

Last year they gave us access codes to file online- we did that - only to be told that CICs could not file online - we were then presented (after much correspondence) with an invoice for late payment.

 

This year our accountant filed the accounts on time - he didn't know about the CIC statement. They reminded him, he sent the statement immediately. Because he didn't send the accounts and the statement at the same time they say we have filed late - this time the invoice is for £750.

 

I despair. It's maladminstration and we are asked to pay the cost.

 

Does anyone else have tales of woe - or is it just us?

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Having read what everyone has written, I am counting my blessings that my Annual Return went smoothly and was accepted online. Granted there was nothing to declare as I am dormant but still. Reading all of this is going to give me "anticipatory" nightmares!!!! I hope all of your appeals are successful as it sounds CH are being pretty unreasonable by being so inflexible! 

Kathryn

I can't really add anything to Cecile's explanation of the legal position: as she says, it is strict liability for late filing, and the CIC Regulator has always made it clear what needs to be filed, and by when.

 

However, I agree with the frustrations over the inconsistency between what can be filed online and what can't. I'm not sure there's much basis for a legal challenge here to what the CIC Regulator / Companies House have done in handing out fines in these circumstances, but I think that you might get more joy in getting the change to file CIC34's online (sooner than 2013) if you can show that many CICs would support this move.

 

Other than that, all I can suggest is diarising to get your accounts and CIC34 filed early - you will need to work backwards taking account of when you normally hold your Board meetings (e.g. once every couple of months).

 

Regards

 

Simon Lee,

Solicitor

Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

Simon

The Tunisians just threw out a regime.

Don't tell me we can engineer change.

Trevor

 

Only one thing to add to Simon's post for those really struggling financially: you can offer to pay the fine in instalments, which might help!

A quick question about 'dormant' status, which seems be different for the purposes of corporation tax, VAT and Companies House. My CIC has incurred start-up costs, but has no cost of sales or sales revenue yet.

Anyone who's no longer a filing virgin - does the following seem right to you?  

 

1. When you register for VAT, you must record input and output VAT and submit quarterly returns from day one.  

2. The company can be dormant for the purposes of corporation tax if it's not yet trading. That is, you have pre-trading costs but no sales revenue yet. 

3. The company is no longer dormant as far as Companies House is concerned from the moment you have some accountable activity. Eg record an expense. It's irrelevant to CH whether you're actually trading. You have to submit accounts anyway.   

 

Sorry, this is not a CIC-specific question. Would apply to any new Ltd company I think. Nonetheless, your advice would be much appreciated!

Hi Sheridan,

 

I am not a CIC yet, but as I understand it your statements are generally correct for ordinary limited companies.  The only provisor I would add is that for Corporation tax purposes you will be active if you have regular committed expenditure even if no revenue.    I am not sure for CICs whether you would need to submit the CIC 34 form to CH and/or other notification that you are dormant.

 

David

Thanks David. That's very useful to know about the regular expenditure issue - hadn't heard about that before.
Ref: Corporation Tax:-

Dormant means a company is not active i.e. not doing anything and has no expenses going through its P&L. You could file a (virtually blank) Nil CT return.

A company that was preparing to trade would be an Active company but not yet Trading. The expenses incurred should probably be classisfied as pre-trading expenses, which will be deducted for tax purposes on the first day of trading. Pre-trading expenses cannot be used to offset other income such as bank interest, so you might find yourself paying tax on bank interest even though you're making a loss overall. You will need to file a full CT return.

A trading company is an active company who has opened the shop doors for business. Exactly when this occurs is easy if you actually have a shop, in other trades it can be open to question (what happens if the shop doors are open but nobody comes in? Happened on a mine I worked on once.)

None of the above is CIC specific.

Trevor - its your accountant's maladministration not Companies House. He missed the form.
I would also suggest that if your accountant has taken on a CIC as a client and did not know about the CIC34 they need to review their professional indemnity insurance as they would appear to be touting for work they're not qualified to do. Or you could just find a new accountant.

There is absolutely no moral reason why a start-up CIC or a start-up charity should be let off fines. I am sure you're doing wonderful things for the world but this doesn't absolve you from speed limits either. The information you have to provide to Companies House is what buys you Limited Liability. If you don't want to bother with it set up a partnership instead, and then you only need file tax returns.
Discrimination under EU law is potentially a different matter but by the time you've proven it in court they'll have solved the problem anyway.

If you do pay these Companies House fines, they're not tax deductible so add them back on your CT return :)

All those who do want to do everything online - are you ready for the new iXBRL that HMRC are bringing in on 1 April? I assume it applies to CICs too, they do 'standard' tax returns just like all other companies.

Interestingly Companies House now say we only need to pay half.

That seems to me to be an admission of liability. If they can reduce the 'fine' by half then they can dismiss it altogether.

I believe that will strengthen our case - when and if Companies House insist on taking us before the Court.

I believe they need Traffic Wardens everywhere.

Don't blame my volunteer accountant - ask Companies House to make everything clear - it's gobledegook at the moment, and it keeps changing. You may see no reason why us do-gooders shouldn't put up with this farcical situation - I'm afraid I disagree.

This country is sinking into oblivion because of maladministration. We make nothing. We buy cheap products from abroad. We appear to have no real competitive future.

We even have football teams that don't have any British players, then pay them excessively, and cheer when they run off with our money.

Doesn't anyone ever ask where we get the money to pay these people.

CICs can make a valuable contribution to this country's economy but not while we are being punished for trying to do a complex job, very often in our time.

It's midnight on Sunday night - I bet nobody at Companies House is still working.

Get real.

still waiting on a response, ive been playing message tennis for a few weeks but should get a response shortly......hopefully ive identified the right person after running around the department a bit.

European Directive - The following information will form part of our thinking in developing a common appeal letter

 

Article 3.2. -  All documents and particulars which must be disclosed pursuant to Article 2 shall be kept in the file, or entered in the register; the subjectmatter of the entries in the register must in every case appear in the file.

Member States shall ensure that, by 1 January 2007, the filing by companies, as well as by other persons and bodies required to makeor assist in making notifications, of all documents and particulars which must be disclosed pursuant to Article 2 will be possible by electronic means. In addition, Member States may require all, or certain categories of, companies to file all, or certain types of, such documents and particulars by electronic means.

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