One of the main things we do is help business owners deal with their limited company accounts. Knowing what – and when the deadlines are for filing limited company accounts is the trick to helping the ‘legal bits’ of your business tick along seamlessly. Here is a brief roundup of what you need to file each year, and what might happen if you don’t.
Annual Accounts (to Companies House & HMRC)
These are the ‘full’ accounts show you how the company has done in the year.
These work out the corporation tax you have to pay. Before these accounts can be files, they must be produced to very specific accounting standards.
This ‘full’ set gets attached to the company’s tax return (see below) each year and is sent to HMRC.
There is an opportunity to get caught out when you’re filing limited company accounts, in that this is due to be submitted to Companies House 9 months after the company year-end. Directors often get caught out in the first year as its 21 months from registration, so is usually a slightly shorter deadline in year one.
Helpfully, your company’s registration on companies house will also show you the due date for your accounts. Search for your company here.
You usually prepare a separate ‘filleted’ (previously know as ‘abbreviated’ ) set of accounts for Companies House, as these are publicly visible to anyone. This set doesn’t show you turnover, profits etc., just the overall ‘position’ of the business (useful for banks, lenders etc).
Nearly all limited companies have accountants, as is there is no free software (at time of writing) to help produce the accounts. They have to be ‘electronically tagged’ to be transmitted in a specific way to HM Revenue & Customs. This software (and the know-how) sits with accountants.
Like all returns, there are penalties for not submitting your accounts to Companies House. You can expect them to range from £100 – £1500, but if you’ve been late before, they double.
Ultimately, if you do not submit the accounts you can also end up in court, so be sure to check the dates.
Corporation Tax Return (to HMRC)
With the full accounts in hand, you need to complete a corporation tax return that tells you and HM Revenue & Customs what tax to pay on the profits.
This return is sent along with the full accounts. It is also ‘electronically tagged’ and sent via a specific electronic software system to HMRC.
As with the accounts, there is currently no free software available.
The deadline for the tax return is actually 12 months after the year-end. This may feel odd as the Companies House accounts are due at 9 months. Any tax payable is due at 9 months & One Day after the year-end – before the return is actually due!
It is worth being extra careful on the first-year tax return. It is very common for dates to not line up correctly, and possible that two returns need to be done.
As you would expect, there are penalties for late filing, starting at £100.
If you need support with filing limited company accounts, then do get in touch with us, we’d be glad to help.