§ Mr. Redwood
To ask the President of the Board of Trade in what circumstances her Department grants an extension for the filing of accounts; and what actions her Department takes to ensure that accounts are filed on time. 
§ Mrs. Beckett
[holding answer 12 January 1998]: Short extensions to the time allowed for the delivery of accounts to the Registrar are granted by Companies House, on a discretionary basis, where the reasons for the delay can be demonstrated to be unforeseen and outside the control of the company and its auditors. Applications for such extensions are considered on their merits.
As far as compliance is concerned, the Registrar reminds all companies of the requirement to deliver accounts to him, prior to the date when accounts fall due to be delivered. This is followed up by a further series of reminders once the accounts are overdue. Continued failure to deliver accounts may render the directors liable for prosecution. In addition, where accounts are filed late, the company is subject to a civil late filing penalty. Specific guidance is also provided to assist first time directors to become more aware of their statutory obligations to deliver accounts and adhere to their statutory filing responsibilities.