Your company’s accounting period (also called ‘accounting reference date’) is usually set when you incorporate a new company with Companies House, with the end of the financial year being know as the company’s ‘year end’. In general, the year end is set at the end of the month 1 year after the company’s incorporation, and is an important date as it dictates when your company accounts and confirmation statement are due.
Your company accounts (also called ‘statutory accounts’) are financial records that must be submitted to Companies House and HMRC each year. They include a balance sheet, profit and loss data as well as notes about the accounts. You need to file your first accounts 21 months after you incorporate the company and, in subsequent years, 9 months after the financial year ends. Corporation tax is then due 9 months and 1 day after your accounting period ends. You must also submit a Company Tax Return (also called CT600) 12 months after your accounting period ends. Fines for non-compliance can be significant, so make sure you know what these deadlines are for your company, and make sure you consign everything in plenty of time. You can find out your year end by searching for your company in Companies House.
Your Confirmation Statement is an annual declaration to Companies House which contains changes to things like directors/shareholders/SIC codes/address etc. Even if there are no changes, you still have to send a Confirmation Statement saying that this is the case. If you don’t file there can be serious consequences.
How do you change your company accounting period?
After you have incorporated the company, you may not begin trading immediately. If this is the case, you can change your company accounting period, essentially meaning that you can delay the deadline for payment of Corporation Tax. When registering the company, ensure that you select the option to start trading after company setup. You must contact HMRC to inform them when the company does start trading.
You can also change your company’s accounting period after you have started trading, either shortening it (you can do this as many times as you like) or lengthening it (once every 5 years unless under specific circumstances, to a maximum of 18 months).
If you would like assistance changing your accounting period or you are unsure when you should submit your accounts or confirmation statement, please get in touch!