How to file CIC accounts online

February 15, 2024

As the director of a community interest company (CIC), you have numerous rules and regulations to follow, and that includes knowing how to file CIC accounts online.


However, submitting your accounts accurately and punctually is easier said than done when you’re busy running a social enterprise. That’s why we wrote this guide: to help you stay on top of your obligations so you can focus on giving back to your community. Let’s get started.

Who needs to file CIC accounts online?

Companies House requires community interest companies to file CIC accounts online or via post every year.


Currently, only small enterprises submitting a CIC report and full accounts can use the web-filing process. To meet the criteria for a ‘small’ CIC, your social enterprise must have:


  • a turnover no higher than £10.2 million 
  • a balance sheet total no higher than £5.1m
  • no more than 50 employees on average.


While the service will become more widely available at a later date, organisations that exceed these thresholds must stick to the traditional paper filing system. You’ll also need to file via post if you submit dormant company accounts, micro-entity accounts, or abridged accounts.


The rules surrounding who can file online and how to do so can be difficult to navigate and are subject to change. Please get in touch with us if you’re unsure about your filing obligations.


Filing online vs filing via post

According to the Regulator of Community Interest Companies, CICs are disproportionately affected by non-compliance penalties. The online service is designed to make it easier and more efficient to get your CIC accounts right the first time.


However, because the online service is not yet widely available and accounts cannot be submitted via third-party software, many companies still prefer to submit CIC accounts by post. The right approach will depend on your specific circumstances.

Getting started

Registration and documentation

If you’re filing CIC accounts for the first time, you’ll need to start by registering with Companies House. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an authorisation code. This can take up to five days to arrive, so ensure you register in good time.


Before you start the process, all company directors must approve the full CIC accounts. You should also ensure you have the following information and documentation ready:


  • your email address
  • your Companies House login details
  • your authorisation code
  • a debit or credit card (to pay the £15 filing fee).


You can then start the process by visiting the Companies House website and following the instructions on the website.


What to include in your CIC accounts

Your reporting obligations will vary depending on the size of your company, but here’s what you’ll usually need to include in your CIC accounts.


    • Balance sheet: The balance sheet provides a snapshot of your CIC’s financial position at the end of the fiscal year, listing all the assets your company holds and any debts still outstanding. All CICs must include a balance sheet signed by a director. 
  • Notes about the accounts: This supporting information gives Companies House more context and details about your company’s financial activity. Again, all CIC accounts must be accompanied by notes to the accounts. 
  • Profit and loss statement: Your profit and loss statement must include details of your running costs, profit and losses, and sales data for the financial year.
  • Director’s report: Written and signed off by the company directors, this report provides shareholders with information about the company’s business operations. Micro-entities are generally exempt from submitting a director’s report.


It’s also essential to ensure that your accounts meet the required accounting standards.

Filing CIC accounts: Deadlines and penalties


The first time you file CIC accounts, your filing deadline will be 21 months after the date you registered with Companies House. Any CIC accounts you prepare after that must be filed 9 months after your company’s fiscal year ends.


Other important dates to keep in mind include:


  • Corporation tax payment deadline: CICs have 9 months and 1 day after the end of their accounting period to either pay their corporation tax liabilities or inform HMRC that there is no tax to pay.
  • Company tax return filing deadline: The deadline for filing your company tax return is usually 12 months after the end of your accounting period.



Companies House doesn’t take non-compliance lightly, so you’ll pay the price if you file your CIC accounts too late.


Missing the deadline by up to 1 month will result in an automatic £150 penalty, and this figure will rise the longer you wait to submit your accounts. Filing more than 6 months after the deadline will leave you with a hefty £1500 fine.


It’s particularly important to file on time if you have a history of non-compliance, as these penalties can double if you miss the deadline for two years in a row.

Work with experts

Running a community interest company can be incredibly rewarding, but comes with its challenges. As experienced accountants for social enterprises, we know how hard directors work to balance supporting their community with time-consuming admin and accounting tasks.


If you don’t have the time or resources to meet your obligations, reach out to us. We can create detailed reports and file CIC accounts online well ahead of any statutory deadlines, ensuring accuracy and handling your compliance needs so you can focus on your company’s mission.


Get in touch to find out how we can help your social enterprise thrive.

Ready to talk?

Dick Haffenden JCS

Then we’re ready to listen.

Tell us about yourself, your goals and what you need to achieve them and one of our team of friendly accountants will be in touch to begin the conversation.

020 8643 1166

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