Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Senior Accounting Officer Guidance

Senior Accounting Officer must provide a certificate to HMRC: time limit for providing a certificate when there is a short or long accounting period or when the period for filing accounts has been changed

The Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) must provide a certificate to HMRC not later than the end of the period that is allowed by the Companies Act 2006 for filing the company’s accounts for the financial year at Companies House:

  • For public limited companies this is 6 months after the end of the accounting period.
  • For other companies this is 9 months after the end of the accounting period.

In certain circumstances, for example a new company joining a group, the company may have an accounting period which is shorter or longer than 12 months or different from those in the acquiring group. In these cases, the SAOs certificate will be for the short, long or different period of account. So in a group situation the certificate may either coincide with or need to be provided at a different time from those for other group companies.

Note that where the period is the company’s first, and lasts for more than 12 months, specific rules for filing are given at section 442(3) of the Companies Act 2006. The deadline for providing the SAO certificate will still be the same as the period for filing accounts with Companies House.

Changes to period for filing accounts at Companies House

The Companies Act 2006 provides for the period for filing to be altered, in which case the period for providing a certificate would similarly be altered:

  • Under section 392 a period may be treated as shortened following the issue of a notice by Companies House, in which case the period for filing is altered by section 442(4).
  • Under section 442(5) the Secretary of State may grant a specific extension to the period for filing accounts on receipt of an application from the company.

Otherwise the period for filing cannot be changed unless a formal notification to change the accounting reference date has been made to the Companies House registrar in accordance with section 392 of the Companies Act 2006.

In all cases the SAOs certificate must be provided no later than the period for filing accounts with Companies House, see SAOG15000.