May 06, 2015
Every UK limited company must submit accounts and returns to UK government agencies every year. This applies even to dormant companies. The accounts are financial accounts. These go to HMRC and Companies House.
The return is a report of the company's ownership and governance. This goes only to Companies House.
The simplest way to do this is to register online with HMRC and Companies House.
Then you use the HMRC submission process to also send your financial accounts to Companies House; this is a feature in the HMRC software.
You should hire an accountant to do your accounts if they are beyond the most basic. You will get confused and frustrated unless you understand accounting terms and can do basic bookkeeping. Mistakes may cost you dearly later on. There are filing penalties for delivering late accounts and returns.
A limited company's first financial accounts, which accounts cover a period of more than 12 months: Deadline is 21 months from the date of incorporation.
Subsequent year financial accounts: Deadline is 9 months after the company's accounting year end.
Companies House Return: Deadline is 1 year and 1 month after the company formation date.
HM Revenue And Customs (HMRC)
Corporation tax payment deadline is 9 months and 1 day after the end of the accounting period. Interest is charged on late payment of tax.
In practice: you should get your accounts and return sorted out 3 months in advance of the nearest deadline. Doing your accounts well in advance gives a grace period for tardiness on your part or your accountant.
Doing your first submissions? You also need to allow time for authentication codes to be posted to you from HMRC and Companies House websites. These will be sent via Registered Address Limited if you use us as your registered office. Don't leave it until the last minute! HMRC and Companies House also send filing reminder letters which are useful to jog one's memory but don't rely on these; it's important to take control of your company's governance and be pro-active in getting your paperwork up-to-date well in advance of your deadlines.
For example, the HMRC deadline also includes the payment of any tax owed; their deadline is NOT solely a paper-filing deadline. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security!
TIP: You can log in and start the filing processes well in advance of your deadlines. This gives you time to get your books up to date and to see what is required. You can still do submissions on paper but online is far easier and quicker.
Disclaimer: We have deliberately kept this article short and simple, as an aide-memoire. Registered Address Limited accepts no responsibility for the consequences of using the information contained within it. We regret we cannot answer accounting questions. If you want an accountant contact us. It is the responsibility of the officers of every limited company to acquaint themselves fully with the regulations pertaining to their office.