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View Full Version : Why are Companies House such utter [email protected]$tards?


WG774
14th May 2005, 12:41
About 4 years ago I registered a limited company name. The company was registered as "dormant", because I wanted it for the name, to use at a later date.

Every year I send in my dormant company accounts.

Today, with no warning letter, I receive a notice (via 2nd class post) that they intend to charge me a "late filing penalty", because I've neglected to send in accounts for my dormant company...

If I'd been sent a warning letter I could understand, but to get fined out of the blue like that?

The only conclusion I can draw is that Companies House deliberately operate this policy to put coffers in the treasury, without any consideration of whether the policy is ethical…

Why on earth do they have to be such bastards? Surely a reminder would be the amicable way to do it?

Is there any way I can get out of paying the fine? What if I folded the company before they have time to chase it? Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

airship
14th May 2005, 13:47
The mind boggles: Every year I send in my dormant company accounts. I've never seen any dormant company accounts but I imagine they go something like...

Sales: ZZZZZZZ.ZZ
Cost of sales: ZZZZZZ.ZZ
Gross Profit before taxes: Z.ZZ

CEO's summary: ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ :zzz:

But I do have a suggestion for you. You could write to Companies House apologising for not sending in your accounts for the dormant company on time because...you fell asleep on the job!
:8 ;)

I've sometimes wondered whether it would be worthwhile registering companies for some future benefit. I got the idea from a song by Zager & Evans: 2525 Ltd.; 3535 Ltd.; 4545 Ltd.; 5555 Ltd. etc. :D At least it might be a sound way to leave some form of legacy to one's descendents?!

But surely, if you really wanted to protect a name for future use, you ought to register it as a trademark? :uhoh:

What's so special about the company name you wanted anyway? Can anyone guess it? :)

Whirlygig
14th May 2005, 15:14
Sorry WG but that is the law under the Companies Act 1985.

If you have already sent in accounts for the preceding three years, why should you need a reminder for the fourth year? It's hardly unexpected surely? Out of the blue?

If your year end is say, 30 June (which would make sense to get your late filing penalty now), then on 1 July 2005 submit your dormant accounts for year ended 30 June 2005.

There are certain responsibilities for owning and being a director of a limited company; did you receive advice on what these were? I would not normally advise anyone to set up a limited company just to get a name without making it clear that they knew what they had to do each year and by when.

I'm afraid I don't have much experience of whether Companies House is lenient with appeals. You could try a letter if you have a good reason for not being able to file on time but I don't think that "I forgot" or "I was waiting for a reminder" would wash.

There are thousands upon thousands of dormant companies;I worked for one company that had 53 dormant subsidiaries. They can't send reminders out for all of them as this would push filing fees even higher and then even more people would complain.

Cheers

Whirlygig

PS... just read your last suggestion. Don't even think about it. You could end up being disqualified from being a company director again. Just pay up.

airship
14th May 2005, 15:50
The foregoing was a serious post from Whirlygig whom we have never seen before in such a serious context. Seriously...

I worked for one company that had 53 dormant subsidiaries. ...we had to sleep on the job?! :( In all seriousness though... ;)

Whirlygig
14th May 2005, 16:18
Airship,

I'm sorry but I am a Chartered Accountant; it's wot I do for a livin'. OK, I know, it's the weekend and I'll be put me pinstripe suit and power shoulder pads away shall I?

But when you have sat and proof read, cross-referenced, updated for slightly new wording (as required by the current Finance Act), cast and cross-cast 53 sets of Statutory Financial Statements (as they should properly be called), then you are not only dormant yourself but catatonic ;)

Cheers

Whirls

airship
14th May 2005, 16:36
Hey Whirls,

Do these "dormant" companies get counted in the official statistics? You know...when they announce that there have been a record number of new businesses set up? Or when they say that 2 out 3 new companies go out of business within the first 2 years etc.?

Any idea how many "dormant" companies set up every year as a % of the total? Are they sometimes subsidiaries of other "dormant" companies? Do "dormant" companies offshore their manufacturing operations?! :)

Whirlygig
14th May 2005, 18:08
Do these "dormant" companies get counted in the official statistics?
I would imagine so since Companies House will not know the company is dormant for nearly two years after incorporation.

Any idea how many "dormant" companies set up every year as a % of the total? Absolutely no idea whatsoever. Lots. I have a life!!

Are they sometimes subsidiaries of other "dormant" companies?
Yes, sometimes.

Do "dormant" companies offshore their manufacturing operations?!
If a dormant company has a manufacturing operation, then it's not dormant !!! It's trading!!!

Cheers

Whirls

Parapunter
14th May 2005, 19:47
What boils my piss is they charge me 30 odd quid for the pleasure of sending in an annual return. That the law requires is it neither here nor there to them. It's like paying a copper a tenner every time he sees you not mug an old dear.:mad:

GROUNDHOG
14th May 2005, 19:53
I own a dormant company or three and sorry but I have found Companies House very fair to deal with. I was also fined once for late filing ( a genuine oversight) but wrote to them with a polite letter of expalnation and they immediately cancelled the fine!

Sorry but have to speak as I find and think it is reasonable to post a set of nil accounts once a year. You can even do it on line now and it takes just a few miuntes.

Annual returns ( £15 if you do it online) now that is another story....

Whirlygig
14th May 2005, 19:55
What's the problem? It's the cost of owning a Limited Company. Just be thankful you don't need a statutory audit any more (assuming you are a small company).

Cheers

Whirlygig

GROUNDHOG
14th May 2005, 19:58
HI Whirly

You are of course quite right if you don't have a dormant company for a good reason ( assumedly worth more than a few quid) then dump it?

WG774
15th May 2005, 11:48
They can't send reminders out for all of them as this would push filing fees even higher and then even more people would complain.


But they have no problem sending you a "reminder" to tell you a penalty charge has been levied...

I don't blame them for not sending out reminders - they must make millions every year from people with non-trading dormant companies.


I've never seen any dormant company accounts but I imagine they go something like...

Sales: ZZZZZZZ.ZZ
Cost of sales: ZZZZZZ.ZZ
Gross Profit before taxes: Z.ZZ

CEO's summary: ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ ZZZZZZ


:p

Whirlygig
15th May 2005, 11:59
But WHY should they send you a reminder - it shouldn't come as any big surprise when another year passes.

As mentioned, you could try and write to them and ask for leniency given you managed to get it right in the previous three years.

Just bear in mind that Companies House will not know the company is dormant until you have filed the accounts. You have no obligation to tell them in advance when you start trading under that company.

Therefore, if your company had decided to start trading and was making losses, the public, including your customers and suppliers, has a right to know the state of affairs of your company .

I would advise you that, unless you've a good reason to keep the company, strike it off. But please bear in mind the legal obligations you have with respect to that. If you decide to keep the company, then set up reminders to prepare your accounts on time. If you are keeping the company because it is a good name, consider selling it; you might make a profit!

Cheers

Whirlygig