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I have a limited company – when are my annual accounts due?

Last updated on Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Written by Alex Cadman

Being a contractor with a limited company comes with a few responsibilities, one of them being filing an annual set of statutory accounts with Companies House and HMRC. We discuss when your annual accounts are due.

Regardless of whether your limited company is trading, non-trading or dormant, you must file your limited company annual accounts with Companies House and HMRC. Companies House and HMRC have different deadlines for filing limited company annual accounts, but you sometimes have the option of filing your annual accounts simultaneously. Here is some information on annual accounts deadlines for a contractor’s active limited company.

Deadlines for filing annual accounts with Companies House

Statutory accounts to file with Companies House that includes a snapshot of summarised financial information that is required by the Companies Act.

When you first set up and incorporate your limited company, you will automatically be assigned a date for the company’s end of financial year. The date is the last day in the month that you incorporated your limited company. It gives you a guideline on when you need to file your accounts each year.

For example:

Company A incorporates on 13th October 2016. Therefore, its Accounting Reference Date and end of financial year will be the 31st of October.

For its first year of operation, Company A would have to file accounts for the dates 13th October 2016 to 31st October 2017. Subsequent accounts would be filed for the dates 1st November to 31st October (12 months).

For your first year accounts, you must file these accounts within 21 months of your incorporation date. In the previous example, Company A would have to file the company’s annual accounts no later than 12th July 2018.

After the first year, you must file your annual accounts within nine months of your Accounting Reference Date. For example, in 2019, Company A will have to file the annual accounts (file company accounts, ltd company accounts) no later than 31st July 2019 for the period 1st November 2017 – 31st October 2018.

If this is confusing, don’t worry as your accountant should be the one to keep track of deadlines, and will also help you file your annual accounts with Companies House (and HMRC). Some high street accountants may charge hundreds of pounds to file your limited company annual accounts however, so you should shop around for an accountant that can provide you with a more tailored service if you also require services such as payroll, bookkeeping, VAT Returns and Personal Tax Returns.

Deadlines for filing annual accounts with HMRC

Each year you must file a Company Tax Return and pay Corporation Tax to HMRC. Your Company Tax Return is due 12 months after your accounting period ends (see the above example). Your accountant will have on record all relevant financial dates for your limited company, however, you can access this information for your reference.

You must pay your Corporation Tax nine months and one day after your accounting period ends. Company A from the previous example would have to pay Corporation Tax by August 1st of each year (nine months and one day after 31st October).

A good contractor accountant will be able to submit your Company Tax Return on your behalf, calculate the amount of Corporation Tax that you owe and advise you when you need to pay it by.

What if I’m late filing my annual accounts?

Both Companies House and HMRC have separate penalties if you don’t file your accounts by the deadline that each has outlined.

These are the penalties for filing your annual accounts late with Companies House:

Time after your deadline


Up to 1 month


1 to 3 months


3 to 6 months


More than 6 months


Here are the penalties for filing your Company Tax Return late with HMRC:

Time after your deadline


1 day


3 months

Another £100

6 months

10% of your unpaid Corporation Tax

12 months

Another 10% of any unpaid Corporation Tax

Please note that penalties could be doubled if Directors fail to submit accounts late for consecutive years.

If you are worried about filing your annual accounts on time, you can easily avoid this by enlisting the services of a contractor accountant, who can keep track of deadlines and file your annual accounts on your behalf. Churchill Knight & Associates Ltd can do this and also estimate what your Corporation Tax bill will be.

If you need more information on services for filing your annual accounts, contact us or request a callback and we will be happy to discuss the options available to you.

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