Companies House and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) require registered companies to fulfil their statutory reporting and filing obligations. Most of these requirements will be issued to you when your first register your company, and the responsibilities for these submissions will fall on the company director.
Statutory duties will include:
• Preparing annual returns and company accounts for Companies House.
• Notifying Companies House about changes to company details.
• Paying corporation tax and filing Company Tax Returns and annual accounts with HMRC.
If you have set up your company but it is not trading (dormant), it is essential to notify the Corporation Tax department within HMRC. A dormant company will not have any corporation tax requirements until it becomes active. However, an annual return will still need preparing for Companies House each year.
Once your company is formed, you will receive an accounting reference date from Companies House. This date will represent your end of year and the time when you will prepare your annual accounts. Your accounting reference date (ARD) will fall on the last day of the month that your company was incorporated, so for example if you formed your company on the 15th February, then your ARD will be set for 28th February the next year.
Your annual accounts will have a deadline for submission of no later than 9 months after your ARD. HMRC will need to see full statutory accounts, and that will include:
• A profit and loss account.
• A balance sheet signed by a director.
• A directors’ report.
• An auditors’ report – unless a company qualifies for exemption.
• Notes to the accounts.
If you run a small company that qualifies for an exemption, then you are allowed to file abbreviated accounts that are made up of your balance sheet and notes about your accounts.
Companies House requires you to send an annual return. This is not the same as your annual accounts that you submit to HMRC. Annual returns are done at least once every year within 28 days of the anniversary of your incorporation date. The return is simply a report that confirms your company details are correct and currently up to date. The details to include in your annual return would be the registered office address, directors’ details, and information about shares and changes to shareholder's details.
Your company HMRC requirements
Once your company has been incorporated, Companies House will notify HMRC of your incorporation. HMRC will then write to you at your registered address and explain what you need to do to meet your company's filing and reporting requirements.
As long as you do not have a dormant company, you must register your company's trading status as 'active' within three months of conducting any business-related activity for corporate tax purposes. This can be done online through the HMRC website, and then you will be informed of your accounting period for Corporation Tax. Your tax date will begin on the same day as you began trading, and will end on your accounting reference date.
Corporation tax is payable each year, and you are required to submit an annual Company Tax Return to HMRC. You need to pay your corporation tax before the deadline, which is nine months and one day after your accounting period end date.
You must deliver your tax return before the deadline of 12 months after your accounting period ends, and you will need to include your full annual accounts with your tax return each year. You can sign up for the free eReminder service that is run by Companies House, which is a convenient way to keep up with your statutory requirements. You can register for the service through WebFiling on the Companies House website by selecting ‘Join eReminders’ when you are signing up. The service will send you electronic reminders with important dates for your approaching deadlines. A handy feature of the eReminder service is that you can sign up to four email addresses to receive reminders, so you could have these prompts going to key members of staff to ensure nothing is ever forgotten, and everything gets submitted on time.