The annual company accounts are a set of financial statements that need preparing every year for every limited company in the UK.
You will need to think about accounts for your business after you have formed your company but these will not need preparing or filing until at least a year in the future.
When you are a director and you are running your own company, you will have certain director duties. One key task is to make sure that your company prepares annual company accounts. You will also need to make sure that you file the accounts with the UK authorities each year and make sure that these are on time. The two authorities in the UK are Companies House and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Company year end
When you set up a company, the `year-end’ (this is the date that the financial accounts go up to each year) will auto default to the end of the current month in the following year. As a result, if you set up your company on 22 July 2021, the year-end would auto default to 31 July 2022.
In the above example, you might not want your year-end to end on 31 July. If this is the case, you or your accountant could file a form online with Companies House to change the year-end date to a different time.
As a general rule, accounts cannot cover a period longer than 18 months. Therefore, the latest date that you could change your year-end to in the above example would be 31 December 2021.
If you wish to change in your business year-end, you need to do this before the accounts for the current period are due for filing. Therefore, you cannot change the year-end after the current filing date.
If you have a good accountant, they will look after the accounts preparation and filing and advise you accordingly throughout the year.
If you like to be organised, a good start when you have your own company is to be aware of when the various filing dates are for the filing of documents and payment of company and personal taxes.
Company accounts filing dates
In terms of filing due dates, accounts are due with Companies House nine months after the year-end. Therefore, a 31 July 2021 year-end would have a due date of 30 April 2022.
When filing the accounts with Companies House for the first time, the deadline could be earlier than usual. In this scenario, the due date is either nine months after the year-end or twenty-one months after the incorporation date, whichever one is the earliest.
In terms of filing the Corporation Tax (CT) Return and accounts with HMRC, the due date is twelve months after your year-end. Therefore, a 31 July 2021 year-end would have a due date with HMRC of 31 July 2022.
There is also a due date for paying your CT. The date is nine months and one day after your year-end. Therefore, a 31 July 2021 year-end would have a due date for paying the CT of 1 May 2022.
The main pages in a set of accounts that you file with Companies House
A small company’s accounts will contain:
- A signed Director’s Report
- A Profit and Loss (P&L) Account
- A signed Balance Sheet
- Notes to the accounts
Shorten or extend your year-end
A company can shorten its year-end as often as it likes with no constraints. What’s more, it can only extend the accounting period once every five years in normal circumstances (the only exception of which is if it is under administration).