How long do I have to file my company’s first accounts?

If you are filing your company’s first accounts and those accounts cover a period of more than 12 months, you must deliver them to Companies House:

  • within 21 months of the date of incorporation for private companies
  • within 18 months of the date of incorporation for public companies
  • 3 months from the accounting reference date, whichever is longer

The deadline for delivery to Companies House is calculated to the exact day.

For example, a private company incorporated on 1 January 2011 with an accounting reference date of 31 January has until midnight on 1 October 2012 (21 months from the date of incorporation) to deliver its accounts, not 31 October.

If the first accounts cover a period of 12 months or less, the normal times allowed for delivering accounts apply

Unless you are filing your company’s first accounts, the time normally allowed for delivering accounts to Companies House is:

  • 9 months from the accounting reference date for a private company
  • 6 months from the accounting reference date for a public company

Filing Accounts with HMRC

A UK Corporation Tax Return for a small limited company (preparing Companies Act or IAS individual accounts) includes form CT600, the accounts and the tax computation together with any accompanying information as required. This must be submitted to HMRC electronically. The accounts forming part of the return must be in iXBRL format.

iXBRL tagging of UK statutory financial statements has been required for tax purposes since 2011. It has been mandatory for organisations since accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010 and filing their tax return after 31 March 2011.

If the company chooses to file abbreviated accounts at Companies House, the full statutory accounts must be filed as part of the tax return.

A dormant company will not have to deliver a return unless it is sent a statutory notice to do so. In most cases, if HMRC has been notified that a company is dormant, no notice to deliver a return will be issued.