When you set up your limited company, you automatically get different reporting dates for the first:
- annual accounts you send to Companies House
- Company Tax Return you send to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
You may also have to send (‘file’) 2 tax returns to cover your first year in business.
Your first accounts usually cover more than 12 months. This is because they:
- start on the day your company was set up (‘incorporated’)
- end on the ‘accounting reference date’ that Companies House sets for the end of your company’s financial year - this is the last day of the month your company was set up
Example If your company was set up on 11 May, its accounting reference date will be 31 May the following year. So your company’s first accounts must cover 12 months and 3 weeks.
In following years, your accounts will normally cover your company’s financial year from 1 June to 31 May.
Company Tax Return
The period covered by your tax return (your ‘accounting period’ for Corporation Tax) cannot be longer than 12 months. So you may have to file 2 tax returns to cover the period of your first accounts. If you do, you’ll also have 2 payment deadlines.
In following years you then normally only file one tax return - and it will usually cover the same financial year as your accounts.
What you must do
The dates of your first tax return - and whether you file 2 or one - depend on whether your company: