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Limited company annual accounts – when are they due?

September 27, 2011

Every limited company must submit their accounts to Companies House each financial year. In this article, we look at how you work out the deadline for your first annual accounts.If you are a limited company director, one of your legal obligations is to ensure that your company’s annual accounts are submitted to Companies House accurately and on time.

When are my annual accounts due?

When you first incorporate, your Annual Reference Date (ARD) is set to the end of the month in which you set up your limited company. So, if you formed your company on 12th January 2008, your ARD would fall on the 31st January each year.

Under typical circumstances, you must ensure that your submit your company annual accounts to Companies House within 10 months of your Annual Reference Date (for accounting periods commencing on or after 6th April 2008, this is reduced to 9 months).

However, the first time you submit your company accounts to Companies House, you must do so within 22 months of the date of incorporation rather than the ARD (or 21 months for accounting periods commencing on or after 6th April 2009).

Can I change the Annual Reference Date?

You, or your small business accountant, can change the Annual Reference Date by completing Form 225 (PDF) on the Companies House website.

The rules for changing the ARD are complex, so you should always take professional advice before making any changes, and you can’t make changes if the accounts for the current accounting period are overdue.

In general, you cannot extend your company accounting period for longer than 18 months, and can only extend your Annual Reference Date once every five years.

For more information on changing your ARD, or on submitting your annual company accounts in general, refer to this Companies House guide.

What about HMRC and Corporation Tax?

All limited companies must also complete a Corporation Tax return (CT600) each year. Your company statutory accounts must also be attached to this return.

Your annual accounts must be submitted within one year of your company’s year end, although any Corporation Tax liabilities must be paid within nine months of this date. As a result, your accountant will typically submit your accounts in advance of the nine month deadline for obvious reasons.

You can read more in our Corporation Tax guide for small companies.