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HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

What is a qualifying company: overview

The Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) provisions do not apply to all companies. They only apply to ‘qualifying companies’.

The responsible officers of a company must determine whether it is a qualifying company for a financial year. To do this they must consider whether the company meets conditions, see SAOG11210.

The company must

  • be incorporated in the UK in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 for the financial year, and
  • exceed a particular turnover, see SAOG11230, and / or balance sheet total, see SAOG11260, amount for the preceding financial year.

Where a company is a member of a group, the responsible officers must aggregate its turnover and / or balance sheet totals with those of other UK incorporated companies in the same group to determine whether it is a qualifying company, see SAOG11240 and SAOG11270.

For additional guidance where a company joins or leaves a group, see SAOG11300 and SAOG11310 to SAOG11320.

A joint venture may be within the scope of the SAO provisions. Again the responsible officers must determine whether the joint venture meets the conditions.

Some entities cannot be qualifying companies, see SAOG11400.

A company must determine whether it is a qualifying company or not for each financial year, see SAOG11500. HMRC can query this decision if we have reason to think the company may not have correctly determined its status.

A qualifying company must notify HMRC of the name(s) of its SAO(s) for each financial year, see SAOG13000.