Using software to file your company's information

How to send information to Companies House through our eXtensible Markup Language (XML) schemas, by purchasing software or developing your own.

Software filing packages let you send us information through our eXtensible Markup Language (XML) gateway.

If you file a lot of documents, you might find this fits into your workflow more easily. The more documents you file, the more beneficial this option is likely to be.

It’s also cheaper to file documents electronically using software. For example, it costs £13 to incorporate a company using software filing, but costs £40 to file a paper form. Same day incorporations are £30 using software filing, and £100 by paper.

The following forms can be filed using our software filing service, plus additional types of company accounts and incorporations.

How to file online using software

You’ll need to open an online filing presenter account and either purchase suitable software or develop your own.

To develop your own software, you’ll need expertise in XML. You can:

Filing annual accounts in iXBRL format

We can receive and process company accounts produced in Inline eXtensible Reporting Language (iXBRL) format. More software package providers are making this available.

Some of the benefits include:

  • no more covering letters
  • no postage costs
  • faster, more secure delivery with immediate acknowledgement of receipt
  • automatic confirmation of acceptance or rejection
  • reduced risk of late filing penalties

You can only use our iXBRL service to file accounts that fall under the 2006 Companies Act.

Previewing your submission

If you’re developing iXBRL to file accounts online, you can test your submission using our validator.

You should use the ‘show image’ tool to check your iXBRL submission. This will preview exactly how your image will look on our system.

Your submission might not display as you expect, even if it’s passed the validation process. This is because of the different methods used to render the iXBRL.

Validation for ‘average number of employees’ in accounts notes

From 13 October 2020, the note ‘Average number of employees during the period’ will become a compulsory field and will be validated. This means we’ll reject your accounts if they do not include this information.

The validation will apply to:

  • all company types (except dormant)
  • financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2016

If we receive a public complaint about a company who has filed accounts before 13 October 2020, but did not include the note - we’ll write to the company and suggest they file amending accounts (under section 454 of the Companies Act 2006). A company could choose to file amending accounts voluntarily to prevent any complaints.

The Companies, Partnerships and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2015 brought small and micro entity company types into scope for the average number of employees to be disclosed in the notes to the accounts.

Accounts taxonomies

You can use our iXBRL filing service for accounts tagged using the following taxonomies.

2021 taxonomy entry points:

  • FRS 101 (from 1 January 2021)
  • FRS 102 (from 1 January 2021)
  • IFRS (from 1 January 2021)
  • Charities (from 1 January 2021 for charity accounts only)

2019 taxonomy entry points:

  • FRS 101 (from 1 January 2019)
  • FRS 102 (from 1 January 2019)
  • IFRS (from 1 January 2019)
  • Charities (from 1 January 2019 for charity accounts only)

2018 taxonomy entry points:

Older taxonomy entry points:

Micro-entities (FRS 105) should use the FRS 102 entry point.

You can view all parts of the taxonomy at once using the FRC taxonomy overview entry point. This does not include the charities taxonomy.

You cannot use HMRC’s detailed profit and loss taxonomies for tagging data in your accounts for Companies House. We’ll reject your iXBRL files if they contain reference to the schema provided by HMRC.

Published 4 November 2019
Last updated 1 April 2021 + show all updates
  1. New 2021 taxonomies added, and older 2014 taxonomies deleted.

  2. From 13 October 2020, the note 'Average number of employees during the period' will become a compulsory field and will be validated.

  3. Added translation