New Filing deadlines:

Companies with accounting periods beginning on or after the 6 April 2008 are subject to the following changes to the filing deadlines with Companies House.

1. Private companies and LLPs – the delivery deadline has been reduced by one month from 10 months to 9 months.
2. Public companies – the delivery deadline has been reduced by one month from 7 months to 6 months.

Consequential changes include:

* Full calendar months for filing periods have been introduced. Where the accounting period ends on a month end date the accounts filing period will end on a month end date. (Except for the first accounting period)

* Qualifying companies can still file abbreviated accounts.

Increased late filing penalties, private companies:
(Penalties for public companies are shown in brackets)

The penalties shown below apply to late filing of accounts on or after 1 February 2009.

* Not more than 1 month late, penalty £150 (£750)
* More than 1 month but not more than 3 months late, £375 (£1500)
* More than 3 months but not more than 6 months late, £750 (£3000)
* More than 6 months late, £1500 (£7500)

If a company fails to file on time for two successive years, the penalties are doubled in the second year.

The role of Company secretary

From 6 April 2008 private companies can choose whether they wish to have a company secretary or not.

If you decide to dispense with a company secretary’s appointment you will need to:

* Notify Companies House using the appropriate form.
* Amend the company’s articles of association. (Only necessary if the articles specifically require that company has a secretary.)

A company can now have a sole director and no company secretary, ie just one officer is required.

Please note that from 1 October 2008, if you do keep your company secretary, they will be able to file a service address for the public record.