Did you know the deadline for filing company accounts changes depending on how long your company has been trading for? Find out when you have to file your annual accounts for your company in this article.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about filing deadlines and document standards you’ll need to submit in order to stay compliant with Companies House and HMRC. Discover:

  • What are company accounts and when are they due?
  • Who should they be sent to?
  • How to create your annual accounts?
  • What is the publishing standard when you submit?
  • How to file company accounts
  • How to collect your accounts data more accurately each year

What are company accounts and when are they due?

Company accounts are a summary of the business’ trading over its financial year.

They’re meant to show key financial performance indicators like a balance sheet, profit and loss report, a director’s and auditor’s report, as well as any notes that help explain the financial performance of the business. 

Fortunately, the level of detail required for smaller companies changes in order to recognise the additional burden that company accounts present.

If your company is classified as either of these sizes, you may qualify for certain exemptions on your company accounts. These include providing auditing and providing a director’s report or profit and loss report. Find out more about company accounts for micro-entities and small companies using the links provided. 

When are they due?

Company accounts deadlines are separated into whether the submission is the company’s first or not. 

If you’re filing your company’s first accounts, the deadline for submitting is 21 months after the date you registered with Companies House. This date is known as your incorporation date and will be specified on the certificate Companies House sent when you first incorporated your company. 

Each year afterwards, company accounts are due nine months after your company’s financial year ends.

Who should they be sent to?

Company accounts must be filed with Companies House, however the documents are also included as part of your company’s annual tax return with HMRC. In your first year, the dates for filing company accounts with Companies House and tax return with HMRC are different. Therefore, you’ll need to keep a copy available as you file your tax return also.

Additionally, you should send copies of your accounts to all shareholders within the company and anyone who can attend the company’s general meetings. 

How to create your annual accounts

As you’re drafting your company accounts for each year’s submission, you’ll need to include the following:

  • Balance sheet: detailing the value of the company’s assets and liabilities (what the company owns, owes, and is owed as your financial year closes). This document should have a director’s name printed and signed also.
  • Profit and loss report: showing the company’s sales, operating costs and profit (or loss) it’s made over the financial year
  • Notes about the accounts: explaining where certain things have gone well, why numbers look the way they do, notable points in the company’s trading, etc.
  • A director’s report 

As previously mentioned, certain documents like the director’s and auditor’s report may not have to be included if you’re a small company or micro-entity (see above).

What is the publishing standard when you submit?

You’ll need to follow one of the following two recognised formats in order for your accounts to be accepted by Companies House and HMRC:

  • International Financial Reporting Standards
  • New UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practice

These guidelines are in place to make sure the documents held by Companies House are consistent across different businesses and easy to understand when comparing two separate businesses or annual accounts. Speak to your accountant about how you can meet these guidelines when submitting your company accounts.

Finally, your accounts should be submitted as an XBRL/iXBRL file type. If you’re filing online with the gov.uk webpage, the website will automatically convert your company data and submissions so it meets the file standard.

How to file company accounts

As mentioned above, you can use the gov.uk webpage here to file your company accounts, as well as your company tax return. 

You’ll need the following to log in and file successfully: 

  • Government Gateway user ID and password: if you don’t have a user ID, you can create one when you first register with HMRC.
  • Companies House password and authentication code: you’ll receive these when you first register with Companies House. Check your incorporation certificate or paperwork for your authentication code.
  • Company accounts: the documents you plan on filing.

What happens after

Once filed, Companies House will retain the information and publish it on your company’s listing on the public register.

IF you need to make amends or corrections after submitting, you’ll need to send them as physical copies. Find out more about amending your accounts here and speak with your accountant to minimise your chances of needing to in the first place.

How to collect your accounts data more accurately each year

With all the information needed to file your company accounts successfully, continually maintaining ongoing records can be a drain on your time.  The Countingup app makes it simple. 

It is the business current account with free, built-in accounting software, automating financial admin for thousands of business owners across the UK.

With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep organised when it comes to your business finances, and spend more time focussing on the journey ahead. It seamlessly integrates with your accountant and can let you prepare your accounts more easily.

Gain complete confidence in your business’ finances. Find out more here and sign up for free today.

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