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?
Hi Trevor, it's been a while since your posting but you mentioned that CIC's don't have the cash to get legal aid. However, they can access pro bono support, depending on the circumstances.
It's worth a thought. We have managed to get pro bono legal support for a case against our ex landlord of business premises that went belly-up, so it all depends....
To clarify the legal position:
CICs are required to file annual accounts and reports that comply with their public accounting and reporting obligations (under the Companies Act 2006 and additional CIC specific regulations) by the statutory time limit. Companies House interprets the law strictly, so it requiresall companies (including CICs) to provide entirely correct documents by the statutory time limit (9 months after the year end). If any company (CIC or another type) sends accounts and reports in on time but wrong (not signed, directors' report or CIC community interest report missing etc), then re-submits corrected versions outside the time limit, Companies House takes the view the filing time limit was not met and the automatic civil late filing penatly applies. It has taken that view for many years.
To be fair to the Regulator, in the legislation the obligations are worded in strict terms, as is the time limit and likewise the penalty provisions. It has no official "wriggle room"!
I'd be interested to see what specific legal grounds some of you think give room for challenge?
It should be pointed out the company's directors are responsible for full compliance with annual accounting and reporting obligations. That company law rule applies to CICs as it does to other companies. The directors can potentially be subject to criminal penalties for non-compliance (those penalties are not always pursued). It is the company that is subject to the civil late filing penalty (and that is normally imposed).
(A similar situation applies in relation to the obligation to file details of charges created by companies. If the form goes in on time but wrong, and is therefore rejected, and by the time it is corrected and re-submitted it is late, the registration is rejected and fails - with dire consequences!)
As to online filing:
Online incorporations of CICs are not possible either.
Not all company items can in fact be filed online either (though the most common ones can).
Other regulators under other regulatory regimes still do not accept online submissions of some or all items required by law to be filed with them.
By contrast, the Charity Commission wants to withdraw the paper option and demand online filing of all items shortly (which does not suit all charities).
Cecile Gillard, Legal Manager, Burton Sweet Charities and Not-for-Profit Dept
Yes Cecile, I agree with most of what you say - and the rules are there to be followed. A bit harsh though when it's your first-year accounts and you're relying on your trusty accountant and they mess up!
I can't understand how anyone's had a successful appeal as it really appears to be a strict liability.
Live long and prosper. Terri Hills LLB(Hons) Director. Moondancer CIC.
There are times in life when 'strict legal limits' have to pushed to one side. They are, after all, often just a device that allows the legal profession to waste our time and money.
Can we remember that a CIC is serving the community - in our case entirely by voluntary action. We all have 'other' jobs, our CIC work is no more than a hobby (albeit consuming).
In the current 'Big Society' era I expect our government to respond to the wishes of the people, and not allow bureaucratic procedures to dominate.
If we are forced to pay this ridiculous sum we will go out of business - it's as simple as that.
As community broadcasters we will go down fighting, and ensure that the 600 broadcasting members of our association keep telling their 13 million regular listeners why we are being forced to stop broadcasting.
This country is becoming subsumed by irrelevant bureaucracy - and it must be challenged - or we shall all suffer.
Your response is a chilling reminder of Big Brother.
I agree with Trevor here; some of these rules should be relaxed when you're putting so much into an organisation free of charge in the first place - and let's fact it, Companies House does have some odd rules. The rule about submitting the community statement on a separate form, which costs an extra £15.00 for the privilege - madness! It all adds up, along with the fines....
Hardly an incentive to be charitable to others really, when life is so hard for many unpaid directors.
I filed my accounts electronically on 15 December 2010, received an acknowledgement from Companies House and then a subsequent rejection. I then had to compile a paper set and submitted them within a week; due to the season we still hadn't seen them filed by the deadline (31 December) but eventually avoided a penalty (after much telephoning).
On phoning the CIC Regulator I was told that they were looking into this and should have it resolved "within a few years"!! (I'm not joking). We file our VAT Returns on line and everything else for Companies House. This is a nonsense!
Reading UK CIC
to some extent this is a tidying up process, ive requested information as to the technical reasons why we cannot quickly organise an online CIC34, which would solve the issue collectively, and therefore the unintentional late filing penalties that are being incurred.
Then our 'volunteer' accountant ACA is not 'most' people.
hi Trever, after the fire at:Thomas Chippendale Furniture Ltd, a late penelty fine was imposed on my company,
(but my files were lost in the fire,23/1/2007) NOTE: I didnt START. I've appelled, till I was blue? and still I had to pay, (my accounts are fully up todate since this (Burocratic Nonsence) happened. £750 down the drain.
Great to let it out again. I wish you look with ' Them' Trever.