One of the many important statutory duties of directors is prepare and send annual accounts at the end of their limited company’s financial year. These accounts must be delivered to Companies House 9 months after the accounting reference date (ARD), at the very latest. You can deliver them online via Companies House WebFiling or Companies House Service (certain types of accounts only), or you can send them by post.
Small and medium-sized companies can submit abbreviated accounts to Companies House, and they usually qualify for audit exemption. However, all companies, regardless of their size must prepare full statutory accounts for HMRC.
If your company is dormant, you need only send dormant accounts to Companies House.There is no requirement to send accounts to HMRC until your company starts trading and becomes ‘active’ for Corporation Tax purposes.
Copies of prepared accounts should be given to the company member (shareholders or guarantors) and anyone else who is permitted to attend general meetings.
When to send annual accounts
The very first set of accounts should be delivered to Companies House no later than 21 months after the date of incorporation. After the first year, you must send annual accounts no later than 9 months after the end of your accounting reference date, unless you change your ARD by shortening or lengthening your company’s financial year.
Changing your accounts filing deadline
Your accounts filing deadline will only change if you change your ARD. You can apply to Companies House online to change your accounting reference date. Other than this, extensions to this deadline are granted in very limited circumstances. Such circumstances are usually limited to events outside of your control that prevented you from sending your accounts on time. Such an application would need to be made before the filing deadline – you cannot apply for an extension if your accounts are already overdue.