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Annual accounts and tax return

Every year (even if your company does not trade), you must file a set of accounts at Companies House. If your company is trading, it must file statutory accounts. If any tax is due, you must send a tax return to HMRC and pay corporation tax.

What are they?  

You must file a set of accounts for each financial year. Usually, these relate to the 12 month period up to the company’s last accounting reference date and consist of:

  • a profit and loss account (showing the company’s sales, running costs and the profit or loss it has made over the financial year)

  • a balance sheet signed by a director on behalf of the board (showing the value of everything the company owns, owes and is owed on the last day of the financial year)

  • notes to the accounts  

  • a directors’ report signed by a secretary or director (unless you’re a micro-entity - ie a business to which at least two of the following apply: a turnover of £632,000 or less; £316,000 or less on its balance sheet; or 10 employees or less)

  • an auditors’ report signed by the auditors (unless the company is exempt from audit, which depends on the company’s size)

When do I submit them?  

Once the accounts have been signed off by the directors and a copy sent to the company’s shareholders, you must file them with Companies House (if the company is registered in England and Wales you must file them with Companies House in Cardiff, while you must file them with Companies House in Edinburgh if the company is registered in Scotland).   

Existing companies must file the accounts within 9 months of each accounting reference date.

New companies must file their first set of accounts within 21 months of the incorporation date.

If you miss the deadline, you will need to pay a penalty and Companies House can prosecute you or close down your company.

What if I don't file on time? 

The Companies Act 2006 states that company officers (ie directors) of a private limited company are responsible for the delivery of accounts to Companies House. Companies House will typically send a reminder to the company shortly before the filing deadline, which states the last date for filing and outlines the consequences of late delivery. This means that the legal responsibility for accurate and timely filings of the company accounts lies with the company officers. It is a common misconception for people to assume that their accountants should be held responsible when a tax obligation hasn’t been met, however, accountants are just agents of a business.

Is there a fee payable?  

There is no fee payable for filing accounts.   

You must send a Company Tax Return to HMRC and pay any corporation tax due to HMRC. You must file the Tax Return 12 months after your company’s financial year ends.

You must typically pay any corporation tax due 9 months and one day after your company’s financial year ends.

The Corporation Tax return includes:

  • form CT600
  • corporation tax calculation (and supporting documents if needed)
  • the statutory accounts

You can download HMRC’s detailed guidance on submitting your Company Tax Return