What are the filing requirements of a limited company?
It’s easy to forget about all the different statutory filing duties you’ll have to deal with on a regular basis when you create ltd company accounts. These filing requirements don’t have to spiral out of control if you stay on top of them, and this guide will walk you through the several sorts of files a company must make with Companies House and HMRC. The following are the most common forms of corporation filing and reporting requirements:
- Annual accounts
- Corporation tax return (CT600)
- Confirmation statement
- Returns on VAT
- PAYE (Pay As You Earn) returns
- Companies House registrations based on events
Late failure or file failure might have major ramifications. A fine, fixed penalties, and penalty interest are frequently imposed. The company may be dissolved in some situations, or the directors may face criminal charges.
As a result, it’s important to make sure you know what you’re supposed to file and then regularly monitor and stay on top of your company’s statutory filing and reporting obligations.
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Depending on the type of business, different filing and reporting obligations may apply. A general summary of the main registration requirements for a conventional private company limited by shares is provided below. Additional filing requirements will apply to other sorts of businesses, such as community interest companies and businesses that engage in regulated activities. Your accountant will be able to assist you if you are unclear about what your company needs to file.
All UK businesses, whether active or inactive, are required to generate annual financial statements, submit them to Companies House, and make copies available to its shareholders. Trading companies must also send their accounts to HMRC.
The accounts are used to report the company’s financial performance during the accounting period, including information on the company’s assets and cash, creditors, and debtors, among other things. A complete set of statutory accounts would include the following:
- A profit and loss statement is a financial statement that shows how much money has been made
- A balance sheet is a financial statement that shows how much money (signed by a director)
- A report from the board of directors
- A report from the auditors (unless the company qualifies for an exemption)
- Accountant’s notes
However, not all businesses are required to submit this comprehensive set of data. Smaller businesses can file accounts that require less preparation and disclosure because their size is decided by the entire balance sheet, yearly turnover, and average number of employees.
The following are the five basic types of annual accounts used by UK businesses:
- Accounts of large corporations
- Accounts for medium-sized businesses
- Accounts for small businesses
- Accounts for micro-entities
- Accounts of dormant businesses
The accounting standards for dormant businesses are the simplest. The inactive company accounts they must file to Companies House are extremely brief as long as they meet a number of standards during the financial year. They are not required to file their accounts with HMRC, unlike other forms of businesses.
Companies House will assign an accounting reference date (ARD) to the business when it is created, which is effectively the end of the accounting year and hence the date on which the firm’s annual reports should be filed.
The accounting reference date is set to the anniversary of the company’s incorporation on the last day of the month. If a business is formed on April 4, 2018, the first accounting reference date will be April 30, 2019. (and annually thereafter).
To avoid penalties, interest, and other potential consequences, most private limited corporations must file their accounts within 9 months of the accounting reference date.
A company’s accounting reference date can be changed, resulting in an accounting period that is generally shorter than the conventional 12 months. While it is feasible to prolong the accounting period, this comes with greater restrictions.
Further Reading: Do you need an accountant for a limited company?
Confirmation statement (form CS01)
The confirmation statement – another yearly filing obligation, but only filed at Companies House – refers to more general information about your company, whereas your annual accounts largely contain financial information.
The confirmation statement attests to the accuracy and up-to-dateness of different information about the corporation on the public register, including:
- The address of the company’s registered office.
- The site of any Single Alternative Inspection Location (SAIL)
- Which houses a variety of regulatory records (if the company uses a SAIL)
- SIC codes are used to report the main business operations.
- Names, residences, and personal information for the directors (including residential addresses)
- Any corporate secretary and their contact information
- Persons with Significant Control and the nature of their control over the company are described in detail.
- Capitalization of shares
- Shareholders and the number of shares they own
- Transfers of stock during the confirmation period
Only changes to shareholders (including their shareholdings and any share transfers) and major business activity are updated through the confirmation statement. Other modifications should have been disclosed to Companies House as they occurred – see the section below for more information.
A company must file a confirmation statement even if nothing has changed throughout the year and the public record is correct.
The first confirmation statement must be submitted within 14 days of the company’s creation anniversary and should represent the right position at that time. Following that, a confirmation statement must be filed with Companies House at least once every 12 months, however a company can file more frequently if it so desires.
The public register accessible through Companies House is updated with the latest information about the company once the confirmation statement is filed.
Corporation tax recturn (CT600)
A firm must register online with HMRC as being active for corporation tax purposes within three months of engaging in any type of business activity. In addition to annual accounts, the firm will be required to submit a corporation tax return to HMRC each year, even if it has made a loss or does not owe any corporation tax.
The financial activity of a company throughout its corporation tax accounting period is detailed in a corporation tax return (also known as form CT600). It displays how much taxable profit a corporation made during that time period, if any. The corporation tax computation in the CT600 shows how much corporation tax the company must pay on its profits after accounting for any allowable tax reliefs and credits.
The CT600 corporation tax return is due 12 months after the end of the company’s accounting period, hence the first corporation tax return will be required 12 months after the first accounting year end.
While most businesses only have to file one tax return each year, if your yearly accounts extend more than 12 months, you’ll have to file two tax returns: one for the first 12 months and another for the remainder of the accounting period. A corporation’s tax return can’t cover more than 12 months, but it can correspond with an accounting period of less than 12 months.
Companies that are defunct for the entire accounting period are exempt from filing the CT600 corporation tax return; however, you must first notify HMRC in writing that the company is dormant. Even if a firm is only inactive for a portion of an accounting period, it must file a corporation tax return. If a dormant company reopens for business, HMRC must be notified, and a corporation tax return for that accounting period will be needed once more.
Corporation tax on taxable trading gains must be paid electronically to HMRC by the statutory deadline, which is approximately 9 months after the end of the company’s financial period. This means that any tax liability owed by a corporation must be paid before the deadline for submitting the company tax return that outlines the tax liability.
VAT is a tax that VAT-registered businesses impose on the goods and services they offer. In most cases, the same companies can reclaim VAT on the goods or services they pay for.
Any business whose yearly turnover exceeds (or will exceed) the VAT threshold must register for VAT and account for it in any 12-month period, not just the annual accounting period. Other firms may choose to register for VAT on a voluntary basis.
VAT-registered businesses must also submit a quarterly VAT return to HMRC, which can now be done online, in addition to other filing obligations. This calculates the difference between the amount of VAT due on sales and the amount of VAT reclaimable on firm purchases, with the difference being the amount of VAT owed to HMRC.
The VAT return is due by the end of the month after the end of the quarter for which it is being filed.
PAYE (Pay As You Earn) Returns
If the business must pay wages or salaries (including to the directors), it must register with HMRC for Pay As You Earn (PAYE). Following that, there are a variety of reporting requirements.
Almost all firms are required to transmit payroll information to HMRC electronically under the Real Time Information obligations. They must inform HMRC of any payments made to employees, as well as any deductions (such as income tax and national insurance contributions) made, on or before each payday.
The company may additionally need to file an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) in addition to these Full Payment Submissions (FPS) (EPS).
There are a variety of different forms connected to employee payments that are frequently required. Payroll software can generally generate the correct documents automatically, or your accountant can help – although the necessary HMRC forms are normally P11D, P14, P35, and P60.
Companies must also pay income tax deducted and employer and employee national insurance contributions to HMRC by the due dates, in addition to the reporting obligations.
Filings based on events
A company’s directors have a continuing responsibility to ensure that the information on the public register is accurate. This implies that, in addition to the precise reporting duties outlined above, they must notify Companies House as soon as certain information alter.
The following are examples of modifications that must be reported when they occur:
- Changing the company’s name
- Change of address for the registered office
- Establishing a Single Alternative Inspection Site (SAIL), modifying its placement, or making changes to the location of statutory business registers and other records
- appointing or removing a director or corporate secretary
- A new Person with Significant Control (PSC) has been appointed to the company, or the nature of their control has been updated, or someone has ceased to be a PSC.
- Changes to the details of a director, secretary, or PSC maintained at Companies House
- New shares are issued.
- The company’s share capital has been reorganised.
- Amendments to the company’s articles of incorporation
- A change in the accounting reference date of the company
The dates for submitting each of these forms vary, although they normally range from 14 to a month from the date of the event. Some changes, such as a change in the company’s registered office address, take effect only after Companies House has recorded the change.